INTERVIEW: Alternative Rockers FOXTRAX
FOXTRAX plays The Roxy in West Hollywood on Thursday November 9 – purchase tickets here.
The alternative rock act, FOXTRAX, originally from New York, that now resides in Los Angeles, is hitting the West Coast with its Nothing Lasts Forever Tour, with an upcoming show at the Roxy on November 9th. The trio featuring Ben Schneid, Jared Stenz and Jon Stenz, is releasing its third EP in 2018. The band’s sound has been described as anthemic, upbeat and uptempo. Recently, FOXTRAX spoke to SoCalMusicToday to discuss their songs, the emotional move/journey from New York to LA. and informs their creative output, touring with Barns Courtney, working with Ben Roulston and Alexander Wolfe on their forthcoming EP and more.
What lead to the move to Los Angeles and what was so emotional about the journey and did it wind up as material in your songs?
I think for most people when they decide to move across the country it is this long planned event. Weirdly it wasn’t like that at all. Jon and Jared’s uncle offered to put us up in LA and the next week we were on a plane with all of our belongings! In hindsight I guess it is pretty crazy. The journey was really emotional for us definitely. Not necessarily in moving to LA but in the experiences we had after moving. We were hustling really hard, but in the beginning it felt like nothing was happening at all. All of those things coalesced into songs.
Tell me about the trilogy concept?
So these three songs, which we just released were born out of the range of emotions we felt after moving to LA. They chronicle the emotional Journey from start the finish. It all culminates with the feeling that things are getting better and all the hard work is starting to pay off. We are still in the last phase and have been for a bit now.
Is the entire band from New York and how did the band meet and come together?
We are all hometown boys. We are all from a town on Long Island called Oceanside. We grew up playing baseball together. I don’t think that any of us thought we’d ever move across the country together and form a band. It’s really amazing what life has in store for you.
Who would you say are your biggest musical influences and why?
I think we all have very different influences which helps us craft music that isn’t so homogenous. But, I think we all converge on rock and roll! We all grew up listening to the classics: Bob Dylan, The Beatles, The Stones, U2, etc. We all developed a pretty keen love for Coldplay and The Killers as well.
Were your first two EP’s self-produced? Is that liberating to take the reins yourself in the studio? Is the songwriting process a collaborative one? Can you talk more about that in detail?
So our first EP was more self-produced. Reed Black helped produce that EP and he really kind of helped us achieve our vision. Unfortunately we really didn’t know what we were doing in the studio so it was really nice to have him there to guide us. Recording the Cabin EP was a really incredible learning experience for us. We found organically what direction we wanted to take the band and I think we have actually stayed close to that direction, but refined it as we have moved along.
Our second EP was actually produced by Alexander Wolfe and Ben Roulston and that was one of the best experiences we have had as a band today. I remember sitting in the basement of Jon and Jared’s grandparents’ house. We played Ben and Alex like 15 songs and we all just picked the best ones out. Everyone is super open minded so it was really easy for Alex or Ben to say,”hey that part isn’t right” or “Move this lyric here,” etc. Alex and Ben make a fantastic team and I think we definitely learned a great deal from them about how to collaborate with each other properly. It is really important to use everyone’s strengths and sort of forget about everyone’s weaknesses. I think if everyone has a different set of strengths it makes for a good team and luckily Jon, Jared, and I have skills that complement one another.
What was it like touring with Barns Courtney and performing before big audiences? What were some of the most memorable experiences and big learning lessons on that tour?
Touring with Barns was super crazy! He’s a freaking beast out there and we really enjoyed his company and his tunes. For us, I think we learned how to be professionals from Barns and his crew. All the musicians with him were such pros and that kicked our ass a bit at the beginning. I remember being outside of the venue in Salt Lake City and a group of girls came up to us and asked if we were the guys from FOXTRAX. I think that was a pretty surprising moment for us. It was a moment where we realized that our music was actually impacting people and that we were doing something meaningful!
Now, how does the band choose who opens for them and what qualities do you look in terms of musical genre, etc?
We always look first and foremost for bands that we enjoy listening to. When you are on tour you hear a bands set night after night. It is really important to enjoy their music. Secondly, we want to play with musicians who are fun to hang out with. You spend a lot of time on the road just hanging out, so it is really important to be able to vibe out a bit with the other acts.
Nothing Lasts Forever EP