This week, I had a conversation with one of my favorite bands from New Jersey: Foxhedge. One of the band members, Seamus, was in the same graduating class as me in high school, and I had seen the band perform at a few shows.
Early in, we talked about a fundraiser they did in partnership with another band, Ham By The Pound, for the Black Visions Collective. They did a live stream of a ping pong tournament, and each band performed in an effort to raise money. We all talked a bit about School of Rock, a music school in Red Bank, New Jersey, where a lot of these bands rose out of. All or most of the kids that became members of Foxhedge or Ham all met and took classes at School of Rock.
Foxhedge member Alanah and I talked briefly about her experience at SOR. Although she started singing there at 16, she had been playing guitar since the age of 14. The band members all commented about how a lot of people their age at SOR were very progressive and ambitious about getting bands together.
We all briefly touched on Foxhedge’s first performance ever, which they all saw as so bad that they didn’t perform again for another eight months. It was the first show they had performed, and they’d only been an official band for about two months.
We also talked about some of the gatherings and basement shows that they would frequent. If you’re a kid hosting one of these shows at your house, you really have to have a plan and know what you’re doing. The band touched on the environment when performing at backyard or basement shows, how people are much more comfortable and excited, and how the band feeds off of that.
I touched on one of the first basement shows I saw them at, where the sweltering basement was entirely full of people. The band talked about their fingers getting so sweaty during performances that sometimes their fingers slide down the instruments. They touched on one gig where they all wore Dickie’s boilersuits, a choice they said might have been better suited to a winter/outdoor show. We had a brief aside about getting clothes stolen and our experiences with that (happens more often than you’d think).
The band talked about how, as they started developing, they made a point of practicing more. They said they practiced so much that during performances, they knew the material like the back of their hands and they didn’t have to focus as much on the specificity of what they were doing.
After that, we got into the differences between their two albums, “Home Again” and “In The Mountains.” Their first album was more lighthearted, and they wrote it together following a basic chord structure.
For the second album, the members had all been apart for a while since a majority were in college. When they met back up again, they took about a month to plan, and then they started to record. Some of the songs for their second album were written for days before going into the studio.
The two albums were released a year apart. The band talked about how their plan for releasing new music going forward will be different than anything they’ve done; they plan to make two EPs with some singles scattered out. They plan not to record in the summer and instead write a large number of songs (20 to 25!), group them and release some EPs instead of dropping a bunch of music at once. The band says their upcoming album might be more like their first, being more experimental and containing a bunch of different songs.
We talked briefly about the harmony of Foxhedge and how they’re not a band that has fought (at least to their memory). We finished up the conversation—all of us being performers in one way or another—talking about the physical experience of performing. They recalled some out of body experiences during shows, where they weren’t noticing the specific chords or thinking, more just feeding off the audience.
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