Abby Clare

NJ’s Fox Teeth Talk Cutting Their Own Teeth

Get to know a local band that we love and are seeing live this very weekend in Manalapan!

New Jersey has always been known for its thriving local scene. There is just something in the Garden State that simply promotes the spread of creative ideas and artistic support. If a fan is obsessed with one Jersey DIY band, they’ll soon find themselves knowing every band in the scene – maybe even personally. However, one band is rising above their local scene since signing to Refresh Records are are better than ever. We present to you, Fox Teeth.

Fox Teeth may be new to most of our readers, but they are here to stay. Their music mixes melancholy alt rock with emo influences to create a blend of something new and truly special. Their brand new album, Through The Blue, was just released last month and fans already want more.

Check out our conversation about that record with the band behind it, which consists of frontperson Soy and drummer Andrew Romanowski. 

Right off the bat: Through the Blue is out, so how are you feeling? What’s been going through your head the last month?

Soy: Definitely feeling pretty good – the response has been just incredible so far with just so much love on the record. I think, obviously, we were hoping for a positive response, but just the way that people have been actually talking about it and reaching out to us about how they relate to the songs… it’s been overwhelmingly wonderful.

AndrewTite! (2020) went really well for us. We had a lot of fun putting that out. I felt a little bit of pressure to replicate the same scenario with Tite! with Through the Blue. I think cooler and more fun things are happening! 

I definitely want to ask about that pressure.  When you came on the scene there were zero expectations about what Fox Teeth was or could be. Now you’ve set the bar high, so you have to find a way to make it even higher. I’m thrilled to say you guys did and I love the new record! How did that pressure play into the songwriting process?

Soy: I can definitely say [that] there was kind of that cloud weighing over, at least for me, lyrically. “Oh, this has to be 10 times better. I’ve got to really dig deep into trauma to write better lyrics.” I mean it did naturally come. When I had written the songs on Tite!, I was still in high school. I didn’t have a lot of real world experience; a lot of the songs were about friendships and growing up. Through The Blue, I had some time to marinate. I think my songwriting, lyric wise, got a lot more mature, and I knew how to go for a certain type of storytelling in our songs. I was able to portray that a little bit stronger with this record then I was with our previous records. 

Andrew: It’s funny because you feel pressure, but at the same time, you view songwriting or anything creatively, as just…. When you make eggs for breakfast every morning, you’re not concerned with every little detail. “Is it going to be better than yesterday’s eggs?” If you’re a plumber fixing toilets, you just kind of go in and do your job, and that’s what the song’s supposed to do. You have two wolves inside you. It’s your ego: “Oh, it’s not going to be as good as the last record, people were so happy with that. How are you going to make something better?” You just have to get to work and focus on the ins and outs of your craft. Get away from all the noise. It’s all about putting yourself in what you do and focusing on that.

Absolutely! I talked to an actor once and he said, “There’s some people in the theater industry and they just do theater and that’s all they do. They talk about theater, live theater, breathe theater. Those people are not the best actors because they’re not living life and bringing their experiences from life into theater.” Hearing what you are saying, you’ve lived so much to gather and put on Through The Blue.

Soy: Yeah, absolutely! That’s a perfect analogy. When you are writing from the perspective of, “Here are a few things I know about and this is what I can say about it,” then it’s like, “Hey, here are things I know about and have now lived or had multiple experiences with,” and it just gives you a perspective that is so deep in growing up in life, maturing, becoming a young adult, and so many different aspects to it. 

Absolutely! You guys are from NJ, and with The Aquarian being NJ based, we love that the punk scene is so vibrant here. Tell me about what it is like to cut your teeth in a scene that’s known for it.

Soy: It’s really interesting – I think when I first got into writing music and releasing music, I didn’t know (other than Bruce Springsteen, Jonas Brothers) the big Jersey artists. I didn’t really understand how tight knit the scene was and just how strong it was. It would become such a big part of my life. I want to say I was maybe 17 or 18 and I went to a house show. It might have been either Montclair or New Brunswick, just for one of the college house shows. I was like, “Oh my God! This is the coolest thing I’ve ever experienced!” It really pushed me into a new direction and pushed me to get invested into local bands – not just who was on top of the list, just having an appreciation for people who are coming from the ground up alongside you, understanding that everyone wants to get to that level where they’re putting music out and not thinking too much about it and being able to put their feet up afterwards, but also having that appreciation for the people that are putting music out and hitting the ground running while still building a platform for themselves.

Andrew: I feel like we’re still cutting our teeth. I don’t know if you should ever really stop doing that no matter how big or successful you get – you should always find a way to do it. I love New Jersey. Jersey’s beautiful. I love the people here. As mean and as cold as they are, they’re friendly. There’s like a camaraderie of being from New Jersey. It’s such a densely packed state – you get suburban, rural, urban, cities, towns, all of it just squished together. You get everyone from New York City or New England or Pennsylvania coming in and out, bringing their art with them. There’s just so much stuff happening all the time and there are so many people that came before you. You know there’s a ton of people that are going to come after you, too. There’s a bit of a hustle and bustle, but there’s also a bit of, “Take it in, enjoy it!”

It’s great to hear you both echo the sentiment of community and camaraderie. You look at the early 2000s bands – My Chemical Romance, Thursday, Midtown – they’re all very successful, but then you realize they all helped each other out when they were local. Another question: the first record you wrote was released during 2020, so not a lot you could do with that release. You were grounded in what you could do. Gearing up for this new release, was it kind of uncharted territories? 

Soy: Absolutely! Especially what you said about playing shows… that was a really big change for us because when we had put out Tite!, we couldn’t. Shows were not happening, it was not possible. Even when they first started to start back up we were really skeptical about going out into crowds. We didn’t know where to stand – I’m sure most musicians didn’t. It’s also that we had this album that we messed around with and had fun with. Then, once it was out in the world, even though we weren’t touring it and weren’t playing shows to reflect it, people loved it and there was just this insane response that we didn’t expect. We didn’t know what to do with it other than a visual aspect or doing stuff online. We did a few livestreams, merch runs from home, a lot of donation merch runs. At the time, we really didn’t know what to do, whereas now we’re stepping into playing shows for the first time. We’re seeing the music industry as a business and not just from the virtual side of it. It’s all been very positive. I honestly thought I would be overwhelmed with this if you had introduced it to me three years ago. I think we have had such a great team to work with and so many friends to support us. Even though it’s such a big shift, it’s been easy to marinate in it and get our feet on the ground to know where to start placing our stepping stones. 

Andrew: When we put out a lot of the stuff on Tite! in the beginning, it wasn’t until after the first single came out where we really buckled down virtually to really start writing the record and feeling like a band – even though we had been playing together for months prior. You don’t feel like a band until you have an album of music and are writing, sitting on original ideas. We had only played two shows before the world shut down. When everything opened back up, we had a new lineup, we had a whole record that was completely new. To be honest, like you said about cutting your teeth earlier, I was in hardcore and pop bands through high school playing these random, awesome, weird places never really knowing how to move up… or what moving up looked like. We’re still figuring that out with Fox Teeth. It is a little overwhelming. It all just kind of hit [us] in the face. All of the things I’ve wanted to do for so long but was never able to? If we didn’t have the people around us that we do, I’d probably just crawl into bed! I don’t know – just let me play my drums! That’s all I know how to do. 

You’re right. Diving into the reason we’re on this call today, your show on April 22 at Musician’s Workshop in New Jersey is going to be really exciting. I encourage all of our readers to check it out and go to this show. How are you feeling in anticipation of that?

Soy: We’re incredibly excited for this show. It’s really cool to be able to play somewhere that’s not a traditional venue. When we were planning out where we wanted the show and what we wanted to do, of course we were like “House of Independents!” or somewhere in Asbury. Of course, though, a lot of bands do that with all great venues down there that we’ve had the chance to play. We kind of wanted to have a show where we were in control and still had that big DIY aspect to it, which I think is really important. Going back to talking about quarantine, we didn’t really get that with Tite!  since we had no release show. The only thing we did was play in my backyard and record it and post it for a day and that was really it. We really wanted to be able to play a show out that was like, “We’re going to come in hitting!” We’re so beyond excited, especially closer to the date,” and it feels almost unreal this is a show to celebrate the release of our second album. That, to me, blows my mind just saying that. We have so many great bands and friends playing. I just know the room is going to be filled with support and love. That’s more than we could ever ask for.