Wednesday, May 27, 2015

An Interview with Fox & Cats

UPDATED 6/8: It was announced today that Fox & Cats have broken up.  Their music is still available online, of course, but sadly there will be nothing new from the band.

>> I've unintentionally taken a break from pop punk recently. Where that genre was usually my go-to, I now find myself seeking fresh tunes that differ from that sound.  But when I came across Fox & Cats, I didn't want to stop listening.  The band has pop punk vibes in their music combined with other elements to create something fun and worth jamming.  I spoke with the band a few weeks back about their new album, Ampersand, and their excitement surrounding its release.
*Note: At the time of the interview, Fox & Cats were represented by The Catalyst Publicity Group.

Please introduce yourselves.
Josh Willems- Guitar/Vocals, Nicole Wigginton- Drums, Chris Dunaway- Bass

How did Fox & Cats first get together?
We met playing in different bands back when we were in high school. We started playing together a few years after we graduated with a couple other friends just to see what would happen. We went through a few line-up changes and came up with our band name based off a conversation we had about Megan Fox and cute cat videos on the internet. We spent about 4 years playing as a duo until we recently added our friend Chris Dunaway into the mix on bass.

Did you have an idea of the sound you wanted going into it, or did that develop gradually?
We actually started off writing only experimental instrumental music. We quickly got tired of not having vocals and started writing more conventionally structured tunes. Naturally our sound has evolved a bit over the years. The biggest change is probably the amount of energy in our songs. Or older music is a bit mellower while our new album is pretty hyperactive all the way through.

Describe what your writing process is generally like. Was that the same process used for your new album, Ampersand?
Josh works up most of the songs we write on an acoustic guitar. Once the basic structure is in place we get together and polish it out. Sometimes we’ll just start jamming random riffs together and the next thing we know we have a full song.

Where did you pull inspiration from when writing the album?
Mostly just from life experiences. I find it easiest to write songs based on feelings. Musically at the time of writing I was listening to a lot of Foo Fighters so I think some of that rubbed off on some of the guitar riffs I came up with.

How is this album different from other music you've put out in the past?
Again, I think the biggest difference is the amount of energy in the songs. I feel like every new song we write has to outdo the last one, otherwise what’s the point? That’s probably the main reason the energy levels keep rising.

Tell us about the first single, "Black Hole."
We chose to release this song as the single because we felt it was one of the more catchy songs on the record. We knew we wanted to make a music video to go along with whatever song we chose to be the single and "Black Hole" has this punky, care-free attitude about it that we knew would make for a fun shoot to work with.

You performed at SXSW this year - what was that experience like?
That was our first time playing shows at SXSW. There’s so much going on all at once and everything is so hectic that it can be pretty stressful getting set up to play. I think if you get booked the right shows it could be a fun experience but unless you’re already well established in the music scene I don’t think the juice is really worth the squeeze.

What is your favorite part about performing live? Has any show you've played so far stood out in particular? 
It’s truly the only time when nothing else matters. All the stress and problems that come with the everyday struggles of life get completely drowned out. I don’t think anything else gives me that feeling. One show in particular that stands out is a show we played at Scout Bar in Clear Lake last year for the Texas Buzz Awards. The amount of support we got from the audience was unexpected and definitely made it a night to remember.

Is there anything else you would like to say?
If you see us at a show please don’t ask us which of us is the fox and which of us is the cat… We’re real live human people. Plus I think it’s pretty obvious that Chris is the foxiest member.

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