The past two years have been some of the most trying times for humanity, the world running rancid with negativity, horror, and deep plunges into the unknown. Bad news tried to break our spirits every day, and positivity seemed like a buoy that only a few held on to, to keep afloat. Introduce yourself to the buoy of music, the Ted Lasso of artists- The Foxtails.
In conversation with The Foxtails
K – Kevin
E – Ethan
1) Your latest track has great WHAM! & Hall & Oates flavor. What is your process for making an inspired track like this?
Kevin(K): This track is really driven by the rhythm section and synths that it ends up pulling so much character and style from the 80’s pop scene. One of my favorite things about both WHAM! And Hall & Oates is how no matter the subject matter of the song, the bass is always groovy. Another thing that sticks out to me is how important harmonies are to both of these artists.
One thing I think our band really does super well is our writing and performance of harmonies to fill out the sound and honestly a lot of that comes from old rock and roll and R&B from the late 50’s and 60’s which sure enough is a big influence on pop music in the 80’s albeit with some technology like synths and such added for flavor. It all kind of ties back into our interpretation and influence from mid-century Motown records really.
I remember an interview with famous producer Mark Ronson I was listening to and he talked a lot about the challenge of writing a dance album that was both intimate and relatable but also energetic enough to dance to. When I think of artists that can write songs like that Wham! And Hall & Oates definitely come to mind and this is definitely a concept we tried to explore with our record, “Waste of a Night”.
Ethan(E): For this song I tapped into my own feelings of vulnerability; admitting the feelings that can come on so strong, so quickly for me. My inner dialogue teeters between the do I do it, or do I not, and in this song the moment is just right enough for me to give myself permission to make a possible mistake. I rationalize these feelings in the form of “It doesn’t need to be anything more than fun”, and accepting that reality can ruin the perfect moment, so I choose to live in a fantasy for the sake of my own self-exploration.
This song for me is about the feeling of embracing your desires, but being aware that you must tread lightly at the same time. It is an expression of giving love to the tender, unsure parts of yourself, and hoping for the best.
2) Your themes are primarily of joy & fun. Do you choose to adhere to these themes or are they naturally this positive?
K: When it comes to writing music, our goal is always to have a positive effect on our listeners. Music is our way of connecting with the world at large and we want to be a band that folks turn to as a soundtrack for the best moments in their lives. We’ve all gone through dark times in our lives but we never want to lose that spark of hope and optimism that’s driven us since the beginning.
We have quite a few fun, carefree songs but also have some more personal songs that we hope our listeners can turn to if they ever have doubts about themselves or need a pick me up from a group they can relate to.
E: For me, I think the answer is a bit of both. I tend to write about things I’m going through in life, and sometimes the first drafts can be a bit melancholy. However since I use writing as a way to work through my issues, I usually get to a point where I can find the positive nature and the lesson of the experience, and that’s when I know a song is ready for recording and full embrace.
The positivity and optimistic outlooks in our music are generally a reflection of me learning how to work through my own struggles, and eventually reaching a sense of peace with them. My hope is that with this honesty, others can learn to accept themselves and do the same.
With lyrics and melodies brimming with positivity, joy and general well-being, the duo aims to make the world better one song at a time. Their latest track is a good feeler as to what their overall vibe is, the bouncy, happy track Waste of A Night. Though it might sound negative at a first, funky guitars, reverbed synth backgrounds and panegyrical lyrics mix in a “good spirit curry” of sounds, the silver lining of your dark cloud.
3) Waste of a Night is an oxymoron of sorts within the song. How did this song come about?
K: This song comes from a place of insecurity really. There are so many normal, human experiences that I feel like we don’t talk about enough from a lens of understanding without judgment. In this record, we sing about meeting someone who you know isn’t good for you but you pursue the relationship anyway because you want that human connection even if it’s only for one night.
It’s this whole concept of “is a relationship worth it, if it has a timer on it?”. One of the recurring lyrics in the song is “this beautiful waste of a night” and we mean that to be a rhetorical question of sorts.
If you meet someone, have a great time and never see them again, is that something you regret? I think about this line from the song “Heard ‘Em Say” by Kanye West where he raps “They say people in your life are seasons, And anything that happen is for a reason” and I really feel like it summarizes the theme of our song pretty succinctly. Relationships can come and go like the passing of the seasons but they all play a purpose in your own growth as a person and it’s never something to be ashamed of.
E: The name comes from the rationalization of what I’m about to do in this scene. Giving myself permission to give into the sensations and feelings I am getting, knowing fully well that it is done completely without regard for the future.
Waste of a night essentially comes from the idea that It’s more about experiencing the feeling of raw intense desire, and that’s it.
4) What comes first, the synthscape/background or lyrics as a poem or written material?
K: In the case of this record, we actually wrote the instrumental first. I wrote the instrumental demo for this and two other tracks within the span of a few days and I knew this one had to be something melancholic but with a good beat.
I had actually recently flown from Washington D.C. back to Los Angeles and on the flight I re-watched Lalaland, which is one of my favorite movies. There’s a scene where the two leads of the movie Mia and Seb, played by Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling respectively, perform a number outside the Griffith Observatory called “A Lovely Night” and they sing about “ a waste of a lovely night” because they don’t feel (facetiously that is) that they can share a relationship. In many ways, this became the inspiration for the instrumental and later the subject matter of the record.
E: The instrumental came first, once I heard it I knew I had phenomenal ground to write a love-ballad on top of. It became more about the actual feeling of love and less about the person, which for me was a unique thought for me to explore.
5) What genres would you like to explore in the near future, your duo having inspirations ranging from Elton John to My Chemical Romance?
K: Whenever we get this question I always bring this back to one of our favorite bands, the 1975. They incorporate so many different sounds and influences into their records and this is a huge inspiration for us. We want to be one of those bands that can genre-bend seamlessly and use whatever sounds we think are fit for the record we’re trying to put out.
We’ve spoken at length about the sound of “Waste of a Night” and honestly the next few records that we put out may not sound anything like Waste. In fact, our next record coming out later this year, uses a wildly different sonic palette. I’m sure our listeners will find things that become a hallmark of our sound but we can definitely promise that in our songwriting we will explore the full range of our musical tastes.
E: I follow singers and emotions; meaning that If I like someone’s voice, message, and can relate to their ideas I consider myself a fan. In that way there’s a lot of openness in my own voice and style as to what I’m willing to explore and experiment with.
I like to make a lot of jokes with Kevin about crazy cross-genre pieces we could try, so there really is no way to clearly define what is coming from us in the future! All I can promise is that it will be from the heart, and will have the entire efforts of our best intentions and souls.
6) What’s next for The Foxtails? Any chance of an album soon or more singles on the way?
E&K: We’ve received a very warm welcome with our debut single Waste and we hope to just keep building on that and continue adding new members to the Foxtails family. We’re in the studio every week writing and recording new records and working with our label to put out the songs that tell the story we want to tell in the best way possible. We have a music video coming soon for Waste which is going to be super fun to shoot and another new song release in the near future.
Look for some news in the coming weeks about that record coming out! If you like our music and want to come on this musical journey with us, definitely follow us on Twitter and Instagram where we’re always posting updates on what we’re up to and just talking about a whole gamut of things. Catch us tweeting about everything from music news to celebrities to current events and just silly musings on life.
You’ll find all that good stuff there. And as always we thank everyone from the bottom of our hearts for supporting us and taking the time to listen and share our music. We can’t exist without fans and you guys really make it possible for us to live our dreams.
The duo of Kevin & Ethan from Southern California has the right idea approaching their style. Instead of gloomy, pessimistic trudges across songs, The Foxtails are upbeat, warm, and happy during a time where some might think we have no right to be. Relive the carefree happiness of WHAM! & create a soundtrack of joy with your spiritual music guide, The Foxtails.