BeachLife for Foxies: The Foxies play the BeachLife Festival this weekend, so we spoke to frontwoman Julia Lauren Bullock about what we can expect…
For the newbie, tell us how the band got started…
It’s funny, I actually started the band. It was gonna be a solo project. I started it in 2014 in Phoenix, AZ, and I wanted this resurgence of Joy Division, Blondie, Cyndi Lauper – I wanted all of these influences to come together and make this new kind of glitter punk sound. I started writing the first EP with my co writers at the time – Sean Silverman and Alex Silverman. I started realizing that I didn’t want to be solo, I wanted a band, because I always wanted to have that while performing and while writing music. Then after a couple of years in Phoenix, I got a chance to move to Nashville, and I met Jake [Ohlbaum] through the friend of a friend. Jake plays guitar for the Foxies. A year later, I found Rob [Bodley] who plays drums and builds all of our Ableton tracks in our live show. We started writing as a unit. It took a while at first to get the synergy but, oddly enough, because of the pandemic we’ve been able to figure each other out.
Nashville is obviously known for country – what’s the current punk/indie rock scene like?
When we first emerged in 2016 in Nashville, it was very booming. The pop scene was booming. It had a beautiful sense of community where almost every night of the week, you’d have something called 8 Off 8th, which was a pop showcase as well as a pop mixer which was called Pop Squad. Then you’d have other showcase nights with all different sets of the pop community in Nashville. Once the pandemic hit, it kinda all got a little quiet. The bands we used to play with, some of them kept going, some of them broke up, so it kind of really slowed our voices and made us think a little bit more about really we want our embodiment to be. What we want our synergy to be. What we want our sound to be sonically. I think the angst and the sadness and the confusion from those two, almost three years, really helped not only us but Nashville create this insane sound where nobody really has a genre anymore. We’re all just genre bending, and we’re all really supportive of everybody’s music. Not only is it pop, but there’s the grit of the grunge coming back, there is country that is turning into pop and pop turning into country, so it’s really a melting pop for sure in Nashville. Our music has evolved just in the sense of what we liked when the first EP was recorded and written has changed. We want to talk and write about deeper subjects. Because there’s a lot going on in the world that needs to be spoken about.
It doesn’t get a lot deeper than Joy Division…
It’s funny because when I was starting out in music, Joy Division was a huge influential piece for me. Their story, how they came about, how they turned into New Order – I thought that was a beautiful, sad but beautiful story. What I really fell in love with was the tonality of the guitars and the bass, more importantly the bass. So I really studied the tones of the bass player and guitarist, how Ian Curtis really wrote how he felt and made his lyrics fit as his poems. And his poems as his lyrics. That’s something that you can’t really see in our music but if you dissect it a bit, you can see ‘Oh that Foxies song has the certain tone that Joy Division uses in this song,’ or ‘that rhyme scheme is very much like ‘Disorder’.’ So it’s helped me as a blueprint in a way. That and Third Eye Blind, oddly enough.
Have you been pleased with the response to the debut album, Who Are You Now, Who Were You Then, since it dropped in September?
We have. It’s really interesting, because you’re supposed to tour off of an album when you release it. We thought we would tour America, but the day we released our debut album was the day that we played our first show in Europe and we had never played Europe before in our fucking lives. It was so cool because it was just like, ‘Holy shit we’re out with Billy Idol, touring an album that we just released – I guess this is the best way we could have ever imagined a tour off of this album.’ It was beautiful, and we still have time to tour off of it in America now, because we started it in Europe. I’m feeling a little less rushed than I usually do.
How was Billy?
Oh my God, Billy was awesome. Not only is he just such a wonderful and beautiful human, but his crew and his band are all filled with beautiful souls. It really speaks loudly of how Billy is and how he does his work when every single day you run into people that you absolutely love. They were so generous with us. Like, they told us we’d got the tour about three weeks before we had to be in Leipzig, Germany and we didn’t have enough time to find a van or anything. They let us travel with them on the bus. It was truly a dream to the point where I would wake up everyday, crawl out of my bunk hole, and I was like, ‘Is this real life?’ Europe is just wonderful too. It’s a beautiful place.
What do you have planned for BeachLife?
We’re really excited. We’re doing a full, stripped down acoustic version of 12 of our songs. Most of them are from the debut album, and we have three that we’ll be releasing within the year. One of them is our next single, so we’re really excited to debut that even if it is acoustically. It’s funny because the Foxies are not known as an acoustic band but we’re really excited to try this out of ourselves, because so many people don’t think we can do it. We don’t do it a lot but I’m excited – it’s going to be a nice vibe and I’m excited to be a part of Beach Life. It’s been wonderful getting ready for it so far and to see the lineup – it’s just gonna be another dream.
Who will you be checking out over the weekend?
I can’t wait to see Sugar Ray of course. I’m stoked to see them. And then Gwen Stefani – Gwen is a huge influence of mine when she was in her No Doubt time. She helped me find my voice at a very young age. I’m excited to see her play too. It’s just going to be an amazing time. I’d better get some sun. I’m very pale right now – I need to work on my tan.
Do you prefer festivals, or your own shows?
It’s interesting, because I just love to play. Whatever I can get. We just played a basement show in Nashville at this place called the Sigler House. It was straight up punk – tiny basement, sweaty, fun, and it’s shows like that that remind you why you started doing music in the first place. But festivals and playing to bigger and bigger crowds – that really reminds you that you’re on the right course and have to keep going. So I think you have to have both to appreciate both.
When BeachLife is over, what do you have planned next?
I don’t know if I can say this but I’m going to say it anyway so whoops – we are playing a couple of festivals in Europe this summer. June we’re doing Rock im Park and Rock am Ring in Germany, and then we’re doing Rock for People in Prague, and then Hyde Park in the UK.
For more info, visit beachlifefestival.com.
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