When a new band starts out, you never think you’ll be playing such a festival like Reading and Leeds however after a mere 18 months that is where Black Foxxes find themselves. Having first come into our conscious with the impressive and dynamic debut EP, ‘Pines’ late last year, the South West trio recently inked a deal with acclaimed rock label collaboration Search and Destroy and Spinefarm Records. Now they’re part of an acclaimed roster of bands (Mallory Knox, Don Broco, Axewound, Crossfaith and While She Sleeps) and are looking forward to releasing their debut full-length in 2016.
Already Heard grabbed the three piece; vocalist/guitarist Mark Holley, bassist Tristan Jane and drummer Ant Thornton, at Leeds Festival fresh off their appearance on the The Pit stage. The trio discussed how Daniel P Carter was involved in joining Search and Destroy/Spinefarm Records, what we can expect from their album and living up to expectations.
AH: So this is your Leeds Festival debut. You opened up on The Pit stage. How was it?
Tristan: Yeah it was good. We had a few technical issues to begin with but we sort of eased into to. We took it on the chin. It was strong towards the end I thought. There were issues at the start but you mould into it.
AH: I was always think because you’re the first band, people are still waking up and trying to find their way about. How was the crowd?
Mark: The crowd was better than I expected considering the technical hitches at the start, if they were going to leave they would of left definitely at the start. They all stayed and by the end it had doubled or even tripled. So we’re really happy. For a band that has only been around for a year and a half and has basically had nothing pushed to heavily, we’re really stoked with how it was.
AH: Who are you looking forward to seeing this weekend?
Tristan: To be fair most of the bands on The Pit stage. Refused headlining is going to be amazing. I think these guys are pretty stoked to get down to Reading to see Limp Bizkit.
Mark: Fidlar on the main stage for me is going to be incredible. Royal Blood as well.
Ant: Marmozets too.
Mark: There you go. That’s enough. A lot of bands.
Tristan: All the bands! (laughs)
AH: You’ve recently signed to Search and Destroy/Spinefarm. How did that come about?
Mark: Slash Universal, slash Raw Power. Everyone. (laughs)
Tristan: I don’t really know how it came about. Dan P Carter played us on the radio and then we got a Twitter message from him out of the blue, telling us he liked our stuff and then he was asking about what we were doing for labels. We were like “well we are currently looking but nothing sorted.”
Ant: But we didn’t know he worked for Search and Destroy.
Tristan: It was all very slipstream. It just happened.
Mark: To be perfectly honest we had a fair few majors on the line that were interested. To put a long story short, Spinefarm really did get what we wanted to bring to it. I don’t think we necessary fit on to the roster of Spinefarm’s other stuff, but the direction they’re going in we are completely on board with that, and Dan’s amazing. He’s the A&R guy. It was very hard not to turn that down and now here we are.
AH: So is the album in the works now?
Tristan: Yeah man. We’re just writing towards it more than anything. We’ve got loads of new stuff. To be fair we don’t play that much from the ‘Pines’ EP anymore.
Mark: Our manager hates that. (laughs)
Tristan: He says “you’ve got to play the EP songs” and we’re like “we like the new stuff better” but we’ve got a solid few new songs to put towards it. We just want to write, write and write and get enough songs to produce a cracking album.
AH: What can we expect in terms of sound and style on the new songs?
Mark: It’s definitely way more natural. We didn’t force things necessarily, we definitely weren’t as tight as a unit as we are now. We can now go into a practise studio and write a song in half an hour. We don’t tend to spend too long on it. We like it to be very natural. Mark my words we’re not going to record this album until it’s perfect in our books. We’re very particular.
AH: So there’s no set time for it to be released?
Mark: I think it will probably be released around June/July-ish but the songs need to be there first.
AH: Because you had a good response from the ‘Pines’ EP and joining Search and Destroy/Spinefarm. Does that put any pressure on you?
Mark: It’s not pressure. Every time we set ourselves little goals like “oh imagine if we play Reading and Leeds” just as a joke, everything surpasses it. I think if we just take it in our stride, we’ll be ok. I suffer really bad from anxiety and that is something you’ve just got to expose yourself too to get better. I think it’s a really cool process.
Tristan: To be honest the whole label and album stuff, I think it has taken the pressure off if anything because they are a rad bunch of guys and everyone is so nice and so supportive. They like what we’re doing. We just keep being us and do what we can.
AH: Because of their track record with who they’ve got on that label you know it’s going to be pushed out there to the right people.
Mark: Having Dan as A&R is never going to be a bad thing.
AH: Again because the BBC Radio One Rock Show is now on prime time, do you think that helps with the so called “resurgence” of rock in the mainstream?
Mark: I remember my friends laughing at me in 2009 when there was a massive R&B thing, I said there will be a band that will breakthrough rock music and it’ll be exclusive and huge and then Royal Blood came out last year. Since then you’ve had bands like Marmozets and all of this stuff. It’s been a huge resurgence. The one thing we’re a bit gutted about is Zane (Lowe) going. Growing up Zane was the man. I mean having Dan is incredible but I think Zane was a huge thing for radio and hopefully he brings it across with Apple Music. We’ll see what happens.
AH: After this you’ve got The Dear Hunter UK tour.
Tristan: Yeah it’s not the whole tour. We’ve got a day off after Reading and then we go out the next day with those guys. It’s going to be a lot of fun.
AH: As for future plans what else do have lined up besides the album. Are you going to do this tour and then go off and write?
Ant: As soon as we get back from The Dear Hunter tour, we’re going book some time in the studio to do demos and pre-pro and keep writing and writing. There is a couple of tours we’re looking at towards the end of the year but it’s all up in the air. We’re not sure if we’re going to get it. It’s what it is. Album one is the priority. We need to work on that.
AH: Any final comments to share?
Tristan: Keep on rocking in the free world.
Mark: Yeah we’ll end with that. (laughs)
View more of Already Heard’s coverage from Leeds Festival 2015 here.
Words by Sean Reid (@SeanReid86)