After a string of excellent EPs, noisy Bristol lads Phoxjaw are here with their debut album ‘Royal Swan’ that includes their hit singles ‘Half House’ and ‘You Don’t Drink A Unicorn’s Blood’. The album was born from a cabin-fevered recording experience that enabled Phoxjaw‘s claustrophobic recording experience of each band member recording in separate rooms which captures a quirky and powerful sound that exudes creativeness.
We had a chat with guitarist and keyboard player Josh Gallop about the new album and what it’s like releasing music during a global pandemic.
DP!: How are you feeling going into the release of ‘Royal Swan’?
Josh Gallop: Feeling great, we’ve worked so hard on this over the last year or so and we can’t wait for everyone to hear it in full. We’d love to be hitting the ground running and jumping straight into touring it, but our old friend covid has had a bit to say in that. We’ll be putting some stuff together for people until we meet again in venues!
DP!: After a couple of brilliant EPs, is the thought of releasing a full length daunting or exciting?
JG: Not at all, it was our first chance to really delve into the dynamic of a record. You can really establish a flow within 11 tracks that is more difficult to do in 5 tracks. We’re all fans of the ‘album’ as a form and we felt it meant we could push our sound to limits whilst still hitting the ‘Phoxjaw’ traits people have seemed to love.
DP!: When we spoke back in 2017 after ‘Lottery’ was released, you described yourselves as noisey, heavy, grunge-infused alt rock, would you say ‘Royal Swan’ still fits that mould?
JG: I’d say somewhere in the ballpark, we’ve pushed ourselves a lot over the last year to make something varied and something that gives a wide scope of where we want to be as a band. You are gonna hear some different avenues explored on this record.
DP!: The first tracks we got to hear from ‘Royal Swan’ were ‘Half House’, ‘Triple AAA’, and ‘You Don’t Drink A Unicorn’s Blood’. How did you decide which songs to release as singles?
JG: Well, interesting story… We always had ‘Half House’ as the first single, but the other two we’re decided more recently. We did ‘Triple AAA’ to uplift people in a time of uncertainty as we felt the themes explored rung true and provided a slight release in a global pandemic. After releasing these two we wanted to give people a heavier tune, to show we haven’t neglected that side of our band. We now have another coming very soon, to completely contrast that again.
DP!: Do you think these songs are the best representation of the album?
JG: They definitely let you hear the range of stuff we are covered on this record, but there are still plenty of surprises I think people are going to enjoy.
DP!: How do the band feel about releasing an album during a worldwide lockdown? Did you consider delaying the release like some other bands have?
JG: The record was finished towards the start of 2020, so I think to sit on it until we could play a gig would have been wrong for us. We need to keep moving artistically and ain’t no pandemic gonna stop that. We’ll be getting into venues as soon as humanly possible to play this stuff live, and we can’t wait to share them live.
DP!: The video for ‘Triple AAA’ shows how creative you can individually be during quarantine – how has the band managed to work together during lockdown?
JG: We really have discovered that not a lot can stop us being creative together, even physically not being able to meet up to shoot a video. We are a very DIY band in the way we operate so pulling this off isn’t a new thing for us, we produce our own records, we shoot our own videos, we design & ship out our own merch, so overcoming this obstacle was just another thing to think about. By no means was it going to stop us doing anything, you just have to be creative and think outside the box.
DP!: How important is music for people at a time like this?
JG: I’d say very, but music is never not needed. We love that people can put on a Phoxjaw record and escape the real world for a bit and come into our world. I think there’s a lot to be said about escapism through music, and we want you to escape with us.
Phoxjaw‘s new album, ‘Royal Swan’, is out on July 3rd via Hassle Records.