At a time where groups like The World Is A Beautiful Place And I Am No Longer Afraid To Die, You Blew It! and Into It. Over It. are highly regarded amongst many heartfelt groups associated with the “emo revival,” Foxing is another shining contemporary in this community that continues to infatuate listeners with a passionate and humbling delivery. While the band’s early origins date back to 2011, it wasn’t until the release of their colossal 2013 debut, The Albatross, where we saw this Missouri-based act win over the hearts of many, as word of their captivating presence spread quickly throughout the emo and indie rock scene.
Upon hearing the news that Foxing had plans to release their sophomore studio effort, Dealer, this fall, I knew the anticipation for this follow-up was going to be a huge deal from the get-go. Needless to say, when we were first graced with singles like “The Magdalene” and “Weave” leading up to the album’s premiere, both critics and fans alike agreed that Dealer lived up to, and surpassed, all its expectations.
In the beginning of November while Foxing was on the road touring with The World Is A Beautiful Place And I Am No Longer Afraid To Die, I had the chance to speak with frontman Conor Murphy and discuss the humbling reception of Dealer, Foxing’s musical and personal progression since releasing The Albatross, and also what they hope to accomplish in the coming year. I’d also like to add that it was very flattering for me personally to know that I got to interview Murphy on his birthday.
It’s been a few weeks since you’ve released your sophomore full-length, Dealer. How’s the general reception of the record been like so far?
It’s been fantastic so far. From day one of it coming out and being streamed, Wired did a write-up about it that was just the most flattering, kind thing that we could possibly hear from them. Ian Cohen did our Pitchfork review, and he was so, so nice about it; and again, it was really flattering. Just aside from that, almost every review I should say that we’ve gotten has been absolutely the nicest thing that we could read about, and everything that we would want to hear feedback from it.
As Dealer’s official release drew closer and closer, what was it like to have your record premiere on larger tier press outlets, considering how far you’ve come since releasing The Albatross?
It was amazing. You know, on our first record [The Albatross], we really didn’t have a lot of press behind us, you know? We kind of made our own little campaign behind it, and we contacted people that we knew to ask if they could review it; or, you know, check it out… stuff like that. And then, kind of word of mouth through our social media sites got our album out there to more people. When we did our music video, it kind of reached further, and when all of that happened, eventually Pitchfork picked it up, and Huffington Post picked it up. That was an insane thing for us that we’ve never experienced… all of this being for The Albatross. We were just absolutely floored by it, and we didn’t know how to handle it at all.
On this one [Dealer], we kind of expected going into it, “Okay, we have this much going for us, and these are the sites that are going to be pitching it up.” But we didn’t expect, or know, how they were going to review these things, or if they would like them or hate them or whatever. So, for them to say all of what they’ve said, it was just a really, really beautiful thing, you know?
We were nervous about this record because we really tried to think about how people would review it or take it as much, and we’ve tried to make it something that we were proud of. For us, it feels like it validates that: when we do something that we love, that it works out for other people.
Tell me a little bit about the writing process for Dealer. What were some elements that you’ve approached differently with crafting together this record compared to The Albatross?
Well, I think a huge part of it… well first off, [bassist] Josh Coll and I kind of established pretty early on what we wanted to write about on this record. We talked for a long time about these dark things that we wanted to get off our chest that we would be too scared to do in a different context, you know?
Like, basically things that we wouldn’t admit to in any other context than just doing it on purpose. So, we established that, and [guitarist] Eric Hudson had the biggest part of it of writing the structures for the songs that we end up making. Him and I will get together, and put together vocal melodies with parts that he had written, or we would do the same thing with piano parts that I had written.
We basically had all of these structures that we wanted to work on, and we knew that we were going into a cabin in Vermont. So, we took all of these structures there and kind of ripped it apart, added things to them, took things away from them and then wrote new songs there too.
That’s where [guitarist] Ricky Sampson wrote songs that we ended up expanding on, and Eric started working on one of the songs on the record, which was totally instrumental. So that’s where that kind of came together, and we kind of figured out how that would translate onto the record. So, that was basically the writing process in Vermont.
Currently, you’ve been on the road supporting Dealer alongside The World Is A Beautiful Place And I Am No Longer Afraid To Die, TTNG and Brightside. How has the new material been received by your fans in a live setting, now that the record is out?
Oh, it’s awesome. I mean, the record came out during this tour, so a lot of people aren’t extremely familiar with the songs, but there is still such a great response from people. You know, along with what I was saying about we didn’t know how people who were reviewing the record were going to like it, it was the same thing about people at shows. And, I think this tour is definitely validating that, just in that regard of how people don’t get upset when they hear a new song at least (laughs).
Very cool! I am sure your fans were really excited about the fact that you are playing material either way—even before the record’s release.
Yeah, definitely. I think we only played two songs from it the whole time before we released the record.
I know on your last tour back in August, you traveled out to Europe with Tigers Jaw. What was that experience like considering that this was your first time out there as a band?
Yeah, that was the first time any of us have toured in Europe. I don’t know, it was an amazing time. All of the people in Tigers Jaw were just so, so kind to us that we made real good friends. They’ve helped us out so much over there because they’ve done it before. So, we feel so good about going back there now.
Did you get to check out any sights on the tour? Or were you more focused on playing the shows?
Yeah, yeah, we just did mainly the major tourist stuff. Like, the Eiffel Tower, Big Ben… you know, all that kind of stuff. We didn’t have as much time as we could have possibly hoped for. So, hopefully at some point when we go back over there, like headlining something, we’ll have days off to go crazy.
Considering how well this current tour has been so far, what are you looking forward to the most about the remainder of the year?
Well, today is my birthday! So this was the night that I was looking forward to the most. The rest of the dates look great—I mean, I can’t wait to go to Texas and get to see some family down there. We’re all excited about the East Coast—that’s always a really great region of the country for us. We just love being able to drive a couple of hours to get from show to show, as opposed to out here, where we have to drive 14 hours to get to one from the other (laughs).
On that note, what are milestones you would like to accomplish moving forward into the New Year?
Oh man! Well, Josh is actually editing our video now, and I think we’re all just happy with the way it turned out and the way it’s going so far. Hopefully that will be something that is well received as we received it. I don’t know, other than that… I don’t know, I try not to have any expectations about it. But hopefully a milestone will be just to headline a tour and getting to be able to spend days off and hang out in other cities.
Foxing will be playing at the Music Hall Of Williamsburg in Brooklyn on Dec. 3 and at Union Transfer in Philadelphia on Dec. 4. Their sophomore full-length, Dealer, is out now on Triple Crown Records. For more information, go to foxingtheband.tumblr.com.