I love the opening line of your website bio, that says when you hear a King of Foxes song, “it’s a safe bet that the skies will open and alien aircraft will appear, the ark of the covenant will descend before ye, and all of your childhood pets will arise from the dead.”
I might have been watching a little too much Ancient Aliens when I came up with that.
I think it’s great. So my first question is: Do you think aliens would make a good live musical audience?
I would hope that aliens are really supportive of live music because their cultures are very advanced, and they know how hip it is. They’re travelling around the universe, seeing way more live music shows per year than your average Earthling, so they appreciate it more. I think that’s their prime directive when they’re going out there: to see how many indie alternative bands they can discover and support.
Second question: Would opening up the Ark of the Covenant be the best way to close a show? And would you be able to resist looking at it to live to play another day?
You know, that possibly might blind everyone in the audience and render them dead, but their last memories would have literally blown their minds, you know, so it would be a great way to go out with a bang. I also worry that we’re the first band that afternoon, and we open for Barenaked Ladies, so I wouldn’t want the audience to disappear prior to them playing. I really hope that they can catch the headliners.
That’s a good point. I’ve heard Barenaked Ladies are notoriously adamant that their audiences don’t melt and vaporize into an apocalyptic mix of melted flesh and mist.
Yeah, I’m pretty sure it’s in their rider.
Lastly on your bio, if your childhood pet came back, and they could understand you for just a few minutes, what would you say?
I had a pair of hamsters called Bill and Ted, from Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure. But they were both female hamsters, which I didn’t realize when I bought them, so they were Billie and Teddie. I think we would have a great conversation about some of our favourite ’90s movies if they were to come back from the dead.
I read you came up with the name King of Foxes after learning that foxes are both the hunter and the hunted, and that you like the idea of being both “fierce and fragile.” When do you feel fierce and when do you feel fragile?
I think I’m a fragile person, and I’m really sensitive to the world. I perceive a lot and I internalize a lot. But then hopefully, I’m able to create something in my art that allows me to be that fierce person on stage.
Your lyrics receive a lot of praise. Do you consider yourself a writer or singer first? (King of Foxes’ new album, “Twighlight of the Empire,” comes out September 16.)
I mean, it’s both, but I have a background in writing. I did a master’s degree in English and creative nonfiction. So lyrics are definitely so important to me. That’s kind of how I come into things. To me, music is so wrapped up in what it’s saying. And it actually took me many years to kind of find the courage to sing what I wrote. So at this point, they go hand in hand, but it wasn’t always the case.
How long did it take to find your singing courage?
I started writing music in earnest when I was in my early 20s. And the first time you’re brave enough to share it with somebody who says like, hey, that’s pretty good, it’s like, oh my goodness, I can play this game. But it’s just process of always learning to trust yourself.
And it’s funny: A song I wrote when I was 18 ended up on my last album, and some of my songs that I wrote when I was quite young, I’m still playing to this day. Every time you write something, you wonder, is this terrible? And then you have to learn to have faith in your own vision and in your own abilities. And I think that’s a lifelong process. You never are done becoming the person you’re meant to be.
And what kind of show are you meant to play at Together Again?
Well, other than pets arising from the dead, I hope that we’re going to put on a really fun and energetic show and just celebrate summer together. It’s so exciting to be able to play live music in front of an audience again, and I can’t wait to do that for my hometown.
King of Foxes