As nuanced and intimate as The Albatross is on first impression, no small amount of mystery remains in repeat listens. Another run through affords the listener time to focus on the soft noodling of each guitar, the quietly busy rhythmic undercurrent, or to try and piece apart some of the more interpretable lyrics.
Noted: What’s the Foxing origins story?
Conor: We’ve all been around in the St. Louis music scene for quite a while. We all ran in pretty similar circles with our old bands. Josh hit me up while I was still in Family Might and I kind of brushed off the idea. When Family Might was over, I got together with him and Jon who were in another band together. From there, we’ve gone though five guitarists before adding Ricky and Eric, whom I’ve known for a very long time.
Noted: Is there any significance, personally or otherwise, behind the title ‘The Albatross’?
Conor: The name The Albatross is really this straightforward idea that I, personally can never seem to describe or put in words. I’ll try my best though. At its root, the name comes from “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. I like to think it was no mistake that the poem that inspired us was from the Romantic Era. Although I feel weird saying it, the way I hear our music is compatible to the way I feel when I look at Romantic Era art or literature. To me, this album along with the work in the Romantic movement feels kind of similar to a large shot of whiskey: warming and creating a state of calm but still leaving some kind of bitterness and isolation. Our subject matter is so similar to that idea. The Albatross is really just this idea of self-perpetuated bad luck. It comes from this hollowness inside us that just misses feeling shame, guilt or regret when we’re at our best.
To me, this album along with the work in the Romantic movement feels kind of similar to a large shot of whiskey: warming and creating a state of calm but still leaving some kind of bitterness and isolation.
Noted: It’s a record which sounds very ‘raw’, both in sound and concept. Was this a goal going in, and how difficult was it to pull off?
Conor: I don’t know if that was necessarily a goal as much as an expectation for us. With the kind of music we make, there has to be that rawness to make it be real. Live, we have no problem getting as intimate as possible with our own songs. Recording those ideas and emotions is trickier though. It really seemed to all come down to the fact that we worked on those songs for so long. It seems like there’s a lot of talk floating around about it being such a short LP. To me, it feels forever-long considering how much was put into each minute and how long it took to stitch each second together.
Noted: There seems to be an active avoidance of a strict ‘chorus/verse’ structure too, but there’s still a remarkably natural flow between each part of a given song. Do you employ a particular process to your songwriting?
Conor: I don’t think there’s really any rhyme or reason to the way we write as a whole. The flow between parts comes pretty natural to us. We usually get to the point in songs where we have two parts that could be considered a verse and a chorus. From there, we decide if the song should continue with new parts making it linear or repeat those parts.
Live, we have no problem getting as intimate as possible with our own songs. Recording those ideas and emotions is trickier though.
Noted: What about constant influences in your music collection? I imagine it’s quite eclectic.
Conor: For me, I’m influenced by something new every week; I jump all over the place with my music taste. I tend to always come back to Sigur Rós, Do Make Say Think, The Pixies, Broken Social Scene, and Lionel Richie. Those are pretty much my constants but I mean currently, I’m stuck on Caspian and Tears For Fears.
Noted: Where do you want Foxing to go in the future?
Conor: Japan, Europe, Australia. In the future, I want Foxing to go literally everywhere. In a less straightforward answer, I want Foxing to just stay together. That’s where I want us to go in the future. Just together with no serious fuck-ups. If we do that, I’ll be fine. I’m one of the happiest guys in the world singing some sad music. I love playing music with these dudes and I sincerely love every person I meet through this band.