Early in the year 2020, Liam Vincent and The Odd Foxes were born out of a shared interest in writing songs about the modern world and the effects it has on us and on us on it. There’s something for everyone here, whether it’s a soft whisper or a rattling in your chest, with folk, indie, and rock influences. For the first time since he’d spent so many years on the road, Liam began writing music again in 2019. The Odd Foxes were born when he realized how much he missed playing in a band. To describe the Odd Foxes would be an understatement. They were all distant cousins who had never met, but they were all related in some way.
“Watching You” by Liam Vincent & The Odd Foxes is the band’s upcoming new single. The band was itching to reunite in the studio after last year’s acoustic EP Pierson V. Post, which was recorded remotely over lockdown. Check out the exclusive interview below:
1. Can you tell us a bit about where you come from and how you got started?
Liam: we’re a UK Midlands-based Folk Rock band. In 2019 I started forming some song ideas, after a long time out of the game. I initially felt I wanted it to be a solo thing and just have a band with me for larger live shows. After a while though, I missed that sense of camaraderie you get when you’re in a band, and the excitement of throwing ideas around. We’ve had a few line-up changes over the last 12 months or so, but we’re a really solid unit now – when Gregg joined me, Rebecca, Diz and Matt a few months back it just felt like the chemistry was right, the missing piece of the puzzle… and music aside, we just enjoy being in each other’s company. It helped that Gregg was a bit starstruck by the fact Diz was a member of 90s Britpop band Thurman.
Rebecca: I joined the band when Liam was looking for a fiddle player for his song Vanity Project. Pretty much the next day, everything went into lockdown, which was obviously not what anyone had hoped. We’ve been busy even so, and now there’s lots going on.
Matt: After years of working a 9-5 job, and not really making time for music, I am now back working in this space, as well as being in LVOF. And it has just grown and grown. Can’t imagine not being in the band and am loving every minute.
2. Did you have any formal training or are you self-taught?
Rebecca: My background is all classical lessons and exams. I should probably be playing in a string quartet but I find this music much more expressive of where we are as a society and what we need to change.
Matt: I have a Music Degree and Post Grad Degree but when it comes to the bass I’m completely self-taught.
Rebecca: Matt’s one of those annoying people that can pick up anything and play it. He hadn’t even tried the bass before joining this band.
Matt: I thought you were going to leave it at “Matt’s one of those annoying people”.
Liam: I had a few guitar lessons early on and I wish I’d done more really. I was 14 and had an arrangement with my teacher that if he taught me guitar I’d have to dig his garden (not a euphemism). I think I did one afternoon of gardening but I had a fair few guitar lessons. So I definitely got the most out of that set-up. In a weird ‘it’s a small world’ kind of way, my guitar teacher P J Wright plays in Gregg’s other band, Tradarrr.
3. Who were your first and strongest musical influences and why the name ‘LIAM VINCENT & THE ODD FOXES’?
Liam: I was brought up by my grandparents. My grandmother was Irish and every Sunday morning there would be traditional Irish music (or ‘diddly diddly music’ as my grandad called it) blaring. On car journeys they would play 50’s Rock n Roll compilation cassettes and I loved those. Then when I was about 10 I really got into pop music, anything with a catchy melody. In my teens I discovered Guns n Roses, which started a lifetime love affair with guitar music. My dad also got me into bands like Counting Crows and The Saw Doctors.
As for the band name, I grew up in a small rural village where fox hunting was a regular thing. When I was old enough to understand it and started to question it, I was told that ‘they only ever kill the odd fox or two’. That stuck with me.
4. What do you feel are the key elements in your music that should resonate with listeners, and how would you personally describe your sound?
Rebecca: Our mix of instruments means we can make a big sound, but we keep the detail too. I think we want to use all the instruments and vocals to their greatest extent, with shades of light and dark in the set.
Liam: I sometimes describe it as sounding a bit like Levellers jamming with Radiohead.
Matt: I’d also add CSNY, First Aid Kit, Wolf Alice and The Waterboys to that epic jam session.
6. What’s your view on the role and function of music as political, cultural, spiritual, and/or social vehicles – and do you try and address any of these themes in your work, or are you purely interested in music as an expression of technical artistry, personal narrative and entertainment?
Rebecca: I joined the band because I like songs with a purpose, about issues and problems in society. It’s not that I think music can solve those things, but it helps people find each other.
Matt: Not turning your back on political sleaze, injustice and corporate greed is important to us, and then channeling that into songs and performances with high energy and great melodies.
7. Do you feel that your music is giving you back just as much fulfilment as the amount of work you are putting into it, or are you expecting something more, or different in the future?
Liam: If you’re not getting fulfilment out of what you’re doing and you feel like you’re putting more in than you’re getting out, you’re probably not meant to be doing what you’re doing. It can be tough these days with so much emphasis on numbers – how many followers, streams, likes etc you have, but you really need to try and ignore that and just do what feels right. And don’t forget to appreciate and celebrate the small wins.
Rebecca: Behind the scenes in a band there is always tons of work going on that no one knows about: admin, ideas, plans, all of which is necessary to get to play live or record and distribute your music. Also lots of stupid jokes. Mostly that.
Liam: Endless WhatsApp nonsense.
Matt: New friends, cool car journeys, lots of sweets.
8. Could you describe your creative processes? How do you usually start, and go about shaping ideas into a completed song? Do you usually start with a tune, a beat, or a narrative in your head? And do you collaborate with others in this process?
Rebecca: When we are working on a new song of Liam’s, everyone throws in ideas and I’ll write a violin part that gradually crystallises as we see what works. I think we are getting more collaborative in terms of contributing songs.
Liam: Because this started as a solo project, a lot of the first material we worked on was already written and just needed a violin part, but as time’s gone on, as Rebecca says, it’s become more of a collaborative effort.
9. What has been the most difficult thing you’ve had to endure in your life and/or music career so far?
Liam: Starting the band just before a pandemic closed the planet down for 2 years was pretty tricky.
Matt: The rise of online streaming has been challenging. In some ways it’s great because it’s easy to get your music out there, but it’s led to a saturated market and music being devalued.
Rebecca: You can guarantee any difficult things that have happened to me will turn up at some point in songs I am writing. It’s very cathartic.
10. On the contrary, what would you consider a successful, proud or significant point in your music career so far?
Rebecca: Any moment when I feel we are connecting with people listening to the music, that is amazing. Having said that, as part of this band I have had shaving foam thrown at me and had to wear a rabbit mask, so those were obvious highlights too.
Liam: Those last bits would be my fault. You’ll have to check out our music videos for context.
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