Defiant Foreignfox on their way to their debut album
FOREIGNFOX challenges. It is not a group that follows the well-trodden path. They got to where they are now by avoiding the ordinances of an exploitative industry – an industry oriented towards the simple, the mundane and the commercial. With such pillars established as the norm… Foreignfox defies.
However, the Fife quartet is not simply against the grain. They are only trying to scratch their own artistic itch. Creativity with a program, harnessing that quiet intensity that sets them apart from so many others. And when surrounding cues urge them to roll out fast, radio-appropriate choruses, their approach remains unchanged.
And if you’re asked to take a more commercial approach, the response is usually… defiant. And if being uncompromising with their work is what brought the likes of The Long Jump EP to us, then it would be extreme folly to force them to do otherwise.
“I think we think of it as a return to more classical music,” thinks Jonny Watt, the band’s lead singer. “Back when you had these long openings and you got clues about the ‘hook’ or what the chorus would be, but you didn’t get it all until the end.
“So you get rewarded for listening, but at the same time it means we don’t have as many people listening as it all falls into place. A double-edged sword.
“When we were recording the last EP, we had a song called [I Used to Be a] Bellydancer was an eight minute song. We took it into the studio and were talking to our producer, Bruce, and he was asking if we were sure we didn’t want to record it for an album? We were like, ‘Ach, it doesn’t matter, does it? He who loves him will love him.
“But it seems to be one of the songs that gets the most reactions live and still gets a lot of love online. Don’t regret the decision.
“We’ve been asked to do songs that are just choruses. But for us as a band, we’ll always strive to do something a little more interesting – for ourselves, for our own sanity. , basically.”
As is a common theme among bands right now, 2022 has got to be a massive year. Artists across the country are making up for all the lost time and feeling much more emboldened when planning ahead. It’s all about perspective, and if the pandemic has any legacy for bands, it’s a message: “Do what you want now, because you never know when you might lose that chance.”
Before the year of the year, we WILL HAVE a debut album from Foreignfox. No more EPs, but the full experience. The group is in its eighth year and is becoming more and more aware of this well-worn phrase: “Now or never”.
“I think an album is something we can do this year,” Watt said. “We just need to spend some time in the studio, finish a few tracks. We’ll probably aim for the last quarter of this year, maybe. It sounds like something we HAVE TO do.
“It’s something we’ve been flirting with for a while. We had planned to flesh out the EP we just released, but we decided we just wanted to have songs that really fit together. And for the album we want to expand and really make sure it works together.
“One thing we’re picky about, especially for an EP or an album, is that it has to be smooth. You have to be able to listen to it in one sitting and not want to skip a track. We want every part tells a story that leads to the next thing And, yeah, I’m hoping there’s some chorus in there somewhere, so we can get some singles out – otherwise no one will know about the album when he will go out.
In recent years, albums have become more a collection of singles than a full body of work – something that tends to irritate Watt and his bandmates.
“Albums have to be albums,” insists the leader. “What kind of freaks me out is hearing a band and thinking their singles are really good songs, but then you hear the album and it’s just not thought through, maybe -be songs they may have trolled or B-sides.
“I love bands like Manchester Orchestra or, going back further, There Will be Fireworks, they put out real albums. You’re going to listen to those things in full while on a walk up north or something. The tracks can go up or descend from each other but they are all related.
“On the other hand, there’s nothing worse when you’re listening to a single on an album by one artist and the next song comes along and it sounds like a totally different artist.”
For those who can’t wait until the end of 2022 for new Foreignfox hardware… Light. To finish. Tunnel.
Watt explains, “We’ll have another release soon. A single and a B-side, maybe. Something that will hopefully whet the appetite for more to come.
“I think it’s a track that will find its way onto the future album. It’s not something you’d say was a traditional single, it’s a bit softer and waltz-like. It’ll be a bit a pallet cleaner, after the EP of the long jump.
“I would say it will be out around the beginning of April, or thereabouts.”
Before that, the band travel to Bathgate for an intimate show at the Midnight Breakfast Club on Saturday March 5, with support from fellow Fife bands Sunstinger and Linburn.
They will also be part of the Tiny Changes Weekender in their native Dunfermline when they play on Saturday April 15.
Of course, other tour dates are also planned, although it is likely that they will again take a different course.
The singer continues, “Now that the restrictions are gone and they seem to be staying away, this is the first time we can properly plan ahead. I mean, in 2021 we played three shows and two of them were planned since March 2020.
“We’re hoping to get up in the Highlands and Islands, in the Borders and the type of places we haven’t been to much before. We’ve played a lot in Glasgow, Edinburgh and obviously Dunfermline.
“We’ve wanted to ride up north since they saw the movie Frightened Rabbit where they went around the Highlands, playing in all these old man pubs, all smashed, always loud and always ready.
“It’s a bit more special to do shows like that sometimes – it’s people who don’t see too many gigs in their own area. If it’s good, they’ll all go. The village will follow. There’s always cool party vibe up there.”
Tickets for the Midnight Breakfast Club show are available online now.