Interview – Fox Jaw
A simple background check on the band reveals that the guys are one of the hardest working bands in the country. Formerly Fox Jaw Bounty Hunters, they released their debut album ‘The Devil In Music’ in 2011, and played close to 100 shows within 24 months, across Ireland, the UK & Canada (80 of those shows were within the first 10 months!).
With many festival appearances including Indie Week (Toronto), Glasgowbury Festival, Vantastival, Arthur’s Day, Knockanstockan and even being added to the Main Stage at Indiependence Festival to share the boards with the like of Ash, Editors & Therapy?. Going from strength to strength, featuring on a Becks Vier TV advertising campaign and receiving an ‘Album Of The Year’ Award from Independent UK music website, The Underclassed. There’s a strong chance you’ve come across this band before, without even realising it.
How long have Fox Jaw being going?
Shane: That’s a dangerous question! We’ve been going for quite a while. Starting as Fox Jaw Bounty Hunters, we played our first show in late 2006, and then we played a few more shows in Ireland & Germany in early 2007 before we started properly touring later that year.
Your current line up at the moment… How did that come about?
Shane: Ronan, Morgan & I have been Fox Jaw from the start. We’ve had some extra band members come and go over the years, but where we’re at right now is great. We’ve got two news guys that joined the band in the last year or so, Manolis & Kieran, and it’s been some laugh. We just jumped right in with no ‘getting used to’ period, as we’ve all been friends for over 10 years.
You have a new album ‘Ghost’s Parade’. How long did that all take to write, record and produce?
Ronan: I wrote most of the songs over the summer of 2012. Although, I write all the time, it’s mainly just ideas I have floating around and sketches of songs. I need the pressure of a looming deadline to get the fire under me to actually commit to finishing them. So I took the about two months really focusing on what songs I felt were strongest and brought those to the lads and we fleshed them out together in the band room. In late July we all rented a house in Dingle for a week with our producer Skip to tighten up the songs, record demos and iron out any kinks. The recording itself took about four weeks over that August and September. I wrote Afterglow around the time that the other tracks were being mixed. We really wanted it on this album though, so we had to set aside more time to record and produce that. I think it worked out well though, cos it gave Manolis and Sims a chance to sneak their way onto the album!
You’ve released three singles from the album so far, and released all on limited edition coloured 7″ vinyl, and the album on clear 12″ vinyl. What made you want to have all your releases on vinyl?
Shane: Why not, really! I’ll admit, it’s been a pricey decision to make when you’re an independent band, but a lot of our decisions as of late are mainly based around the mindset of, ‘I’d rather look back and be happy that we did that, rather than look back and have regrets that we didn’t’.
Ronan: Exactly, and with everything going digital these days, it really is nice, just even for ourselves, to have our music on a more tangible format. I think 30 years from now it’ll be a great feeling to look back at our dusty old records. I don’t think looking back at old mp3’s will be quite as nostalgic somehow.
Shane, you create all the videos for Fox Jaw, how do you come up with the concepts?
Shane: I was literally just talking about this with Ronan the other day. I only just realised that for most of our videos, the approach to the making the videos has been, that certain imagery just comes to mind when I’m hearing the tunes, and from there I then go to Ronan and ask him to explain to me, lyrically what the song is about. I then start making the connections, of how Ronan’s storytelling through sound, (lyrics & music), can connect with my visual storytelling. But not all our videos are like that, some just tell a visual story, and is separate to the songs lyrics. But if I can make a connection between the two, then I’ll certainly explore those possibilities.
Looking ahead, what are your hopes for the band in the future?
Shane: My hope is that our future will be this band.
Ronan: Yeah, I hope that we keep making music together and that that music finds its way to people who want to hear it.
Finally, any advice for bands who are just starting out?
Shane: There’s no formula. Everyone’s journey is different, but I will say that don’t ever get boxed in with just one style or approach to music. Be different, be unique, push yourself, explore, collaborate & always ask yourself, “right, what can I try next?”.
Ronan: Get out and start gigging. The only way to grow as a songwriter, performer and musician is to play in front as many people as you can. There’s no greater feeling than playing to a huge crowd. There’s also nothing more humbling than playing to a room with only four people. And if the latter doesn’t deter you, at least you’ll know you’re doing it all for right reasons.
Words – Olivia Chau
Photograph – Tarmo Tulit