UTG INTERVIEW: Foxing Discuss ‘The Albatross,’ the Science in ‘Lucy’ and Their Audiotree Session

foxing

On a warm evening in Cambridge, MA, at the venue known as The Middle East, I stood and watched as Foxing came alive on a small stage to a sold out crowd.

I witnessed the band pour everything they had into the notes and sounds reverberating from their instruments, bleeding over the crowd, seemingly ill-prepared for what the band was able to emanate. It was an incredibly moving moment, and I was more than pleased to speak with bassist Josh, drummer Jon, and guitarist Eric after their set. We spoke on their recently re-mastered debut album The Albatross, their yet-to-be-released Audiotree session, the influence of film on the band, and more.

How has this tour been so far? This is a really great line-up.

Jon: It’s been awesome.

Josh: Yeah it’s been really good all across the board. All good bands. I mean, there is absolutely no reason Prawn should be opening these shows, and we are about to pick up Little Big League and there is no reason they should be opening these shows. It’s awesome to have just overall a solid line-up.

So The Albatross just got re-mastered, and I actually didn’t hear of you guys until the re-master. Have you noticed a surge of listeners after the re-master came out?

Josh: Yeah, I think overall, just from you even saying that, I think a lot of people weren’t aware of the band until it got re-mastered and reissued by Triple Crown. I mean, we had a really solid and receptive following after it was initially released. But yeah, we definitely saw incremental- I hate saying incremental growth, it sounds like such a Gordon Gecko thing to say.

Yeah, a lot of synergy.

Josh: [Laughs] Yeah, like our market share became really strong, like we cornered that market after it got reissued.

Did the re-master happen because you got signed to Triple Crown, or was that something you were looking to do anyway?

Josh: It was something that I think we all kind of wanted to do, but it was probably something that we weren’t going to do.

Jon: Yeah, it definitely pushed us to get that done. When we had the album mastered originally, we were out on the road so it was really tough for us to get exactly what we wanted, because we are so busy playing shows, and finding places to stay. We were getting masters sent to us, then finding time to listen to it critically.

Josh: Yeah, the process of trying to master a record on the road isn’t without saying that we didn’t have WiFi, and these are massive files so we had to find WiFi, and we can’t listen to them on these speakers because that’s not good for anybody. Actually, our old van didn’t even have a stereo.

Jon: Yeah, we couldn’t even do that in the van if we wanted to.

Josh: So we went to Walmart and bought a really cheap CD player and burnable CDs, and we would have to find WiFi and download the masters every time we would get a new pass. We were only listening to them on headphones in the van, which wasn’t the most optimal time to be trying to master a record. I’m surprised it came out as well as it did.

So did you guys have any input on how the re-master would sound?

Josh: We gave few notes on things, but I think the re-master is tastefully done. There’s not a lot different about it, so it wasn’t that big of a process.

The album feels really lush and diverse; each song acts as its own thing in the scope of the album, so I was wondering if there were any big influences on you while writing the album?

Jon: When we were writing, it’s not like we ever set out to sound a specific way, which I think in a way lends to the diversity of the album. We didn’t have an entire concept and vision, we just kind of started writing these songs and found ways to make songs that we already had work within the theme that was developing during the writing process. There are songs on the album that were originally played back to back, but on the album they got split apart and now it makes like total sense to do it that way.

Josh: It was weird because when we started writing the record we had never played a show; we practiced for a year before we even played a show. We even had several line-up changes. I think that the process was very hidden away from everybody because no one really cared about our band at the time. There wasn’t any real pressure and I think that we weren’t really looking outward musically to a lot of other bands for cues. I think that that maybe sounds pretentious to say, that we didn’t have a lot of influences, but musically I think we were just trying to find our footing, and I think The Albatross is the result of us finding our way. We were definitely into a lot of writers at the time, especially Connor (Vocals) and I when writing the lyrics.

From my understanding, you guys mainly split writing the lyrics between you two?

Josh: Yeah, it’s kind of about 50/50. So he’ll write something then I’ll edit for him, and we will go back and forth on it and vice versa. So just in terms of the lyrics both of our hands are pretty much on the songs. I think that if we were to explain the differences in our writing style someone would be able to pick out which one was which. I know throughout the record there is a lot of Pablo Nerudo in there, a lot of Bukowski on Connor’s end, some Sylvia Plath, Stevie Smith, Cormac McCarthy…I think they are all in there.

Correct me if I am wrong, but I read that a lot of you are into film?

Josh: Yeah, I’ve been doing film stuff since I was really young. I started going to school for film then I dropped out. Connor, for a semester or maybe a full year, was a dual major film student.

Has that affected your band stylistically at all, maybe with your music videos?

Josh: Yeah, we do our own videos. We do them with friends. We have like 5 or 6 friends that we have brought in for both of them and they help us. But, yeah, the treatment for “Rory,” I wrote that when we were on tour last year, and then we all kind of threw our hats in on it and collaborated on it. Same thing with “The Medic.” I started writing the treatment when we were on tour last winter, right when the album came out, and then over time we just developed it. So yeah, we do have a huge hand in it, even if it’s like a traditional film background or just doing film. It has definitely helped us because we have control over all aspects of our band.

Do you guys have any favorite films from this year thus far?

Eric: Film wise, to be honest, I don’t consider myself huge into movies or film, but we did all just see Lucy together.

Josh: Yeah, we do this thing on tour where we try to hit a blockbuster or action film.

Eric: Lucy kind of spurred some interesting conversation among all of us because it’s very like science based, and into string theory and things like that. It kind of created debate among us about what could have been done differently, and it ended with one of us in the band basically saying they wanted an entirely new scientific theory developed.

Josh: Like specifically for the film. He was upset that it didn’t present any new ideas. My argument to that was that like, the top minds in the world, when you are talking about string theory, these are the things that they say humans can do with more brainpower, and you are telling me that you want a screenwriter to come up with something beyond what they have come up with.

Jon: I don’t really get a chance to go out to the movies very much, but I saw Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes. It was super solid; the visuals in that movie are stunning.

Josh: I saw- I am probably going to butcher his name- Jodorowosky’s Dune. It’s a documentary about this director in the ‘70s. He was going to make a version of Dune, but it ended up getting canned and then David Lynch made it later. When you watch this documentary, it’s fucking mind blowing what he was going to do. It was going to have Mick Jagger, and Salvador Dali was going to be in it, David Carradine from Kung-Fu, Pink Floyd was going to do the soundtrack- it was just on the scope of something way bigger than any movie that had ever been made at the time. I really loved that movie, you don’t really see a lot about films that could have been. I think it’s awesome that they took the time to make that film. I say Boyhood as well, and I mean that’s mind-bending. I didn’t get to finish it, which was a bummer, but it was great.

Right on. So you guys just did an Audiotree session, how was that?

Josh: It was awesome. They are so kind.

Jon: Everyone that works there is amazing.

Josh: Yeah, everyone there is so knowledgeable.

John: And generous.

Josh: It’s weird because we do a lot of sessions but I think everyone was collectively more nervous for that one. It’s something that we have always wanted to do, and they are really good at putting you at ease.

Eric: And everyone there is really professional, it’s a very professional thing. It’s not like “come in this alley and we’ll record you on our iPhone acoustic.” It’s like real deal audio engineers who have real experience and real gear.

Josh: And it’s live, and that was very nerve-racking, but I think we may have pulled it off. We haven’t seen it yet. I think we did pretty well.

I’m sure it’s going to be great. So you just announced a new tour with Into It. Over It. and Kittyhawk. What’s next after that?

Josh: We got some things in the works; nothing wacky that any of us know of. We are trying to wind down a little bit as we come closer to the end of the year. As we get closer to the end of year we are going to try to wind down and work on another album. We’ve got a couple things; we’ll be doing Fest, and a little tour around that. Probably a handful of smaller runs to the end of the year then try to get another record going.

To end, I was wondering what you guys are currently listening to.

Jon: I’ve been on a pretty monumental Zappa kick for the past few months; I can’t seem to break it. He’s got such a wealth of a recordings that once you get down that hole it’s hard to get out of. So I’ve been just diving deep into that, finding things that I’ve never heard by him and then wondering how anyone could ever replicate that live without missing a beat.

Eric: I haven’t listened to much on tour, but when I was at home I would watch Heima, the Sigur Rós documentary for like three days straight. I have just been in a Sigur Rós worship vibe lately. They are just the most tasteful musicians; words really do fail when describing them.

Josh: I’ve been on Yo La Tango, Do Make Say Think, Sparklehorse- I have been listening to a lot of Sparkehorse. We were in Montreal right before we broke down, and we were looking for a place to stay and I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One by Yo La Tango was on, and I hadn’t listened to them in a while. I was just blown away by that album; they are such a good band. I have been listening to a lot of bands where they exercise a lot of restraint and minimalism, like Bjork. A lot of her records are really good at capturing an overwhelming amount of emotion with really small things. Albums like that don’t need a lot; they don’t need massive elements to make something monumental.

Written and conducted by: Drew Caruso – Follow him on Twitter.

Drew Caruso

Drew Caruso is a Bostonian who, when not writing about music and film, spends his time getting lost in New England, reading books, talking about science whether people want to listen or not, and more. To see the thoughts of a scientist by day and a writer by night, follow him on Twitter.
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