On the face of it, Fox Avenue have come a long way in the past twelve months. High profile support slots and a second stage appearance at Oxegen have led many to see them as the next Irish pop band being groomed for success. State and the band have met before, when a fairly innocuous review of their festival performance produced this response. As they prepare for their largest headlining show to date at the Academy on the 27th, we found singer Dara Quilty keen to set the record straight on a few things in his own words.
Can you remember what you were doing as a band this time last year?
“We were getting ready to play a gig called All Access Academy with a load of other local bands like The Shower Scene and Jody Was A Hitlist, all supporting Elliot Minor. It was like an all ages mini-festival. We hadn’t done much before then except play in pubs and clubs to our friends and their mums and dads.”
It’s been quite a year for you….
“A lot of people have said that and I appreciate it looks like that from outside, but we’ve been cracking away at it for a long time when nobody knew who we were. We did our first headline show at the Academy 2 in January and it sold out a month in advance. There were people pushing and shoving, jumping around the place. We had to stop the show a few times. After that we got a call saying that 30 Seconds To Mars management had picked us to play with them at the O2.”
It wasn’t an obvious choice was it?
“Our thing is catchy melodic pop rock songs with a live band, whereas they’re very much a rock band. We were very nervous before hand, one because we were playing the O2 and because we were going to be in front of a whole new audience. We wondered if the guys in their 20s would like us or go who are this bunch of gays. It went quite well thank god and from there we went on tour with Scouting For Girls. It’s all experience and the only way to learn is to do it. That’s the best way to become a live musician.”
Is making that kind of music harder than straight pop or rock?
“There’s much more opinion on it. People may like the bass and drums but not the happy melodies and vice versa. We’re a lot heavier live than we are in the studio. Everything is far more controlled, whereas live it gets let lose a bit more. I don’t go around preaching that Fox Avenue is going to be the greatest band ever and that we’re going to change music. We’re just a pop rock band and we’re learning as we go along.”
How has your audience developed?
“At the start there was a lot of teenage girls at the gigs, which is no bad thing. We would spend a lot of time talking to them afterwards. Ever since we got to play Oxegen and with 30 Seconds To Mars and Jimmy Eat World the other week, we’ve noticed a lot more interaction from guys and older people in their twenties. We still go and play colleges and night clubs around the country so we can master our craft and appeal to a whole new audience. It’s easy to stand in front of a crowd of screaming girls and play songs, but it’s hard to stand in front of a nightclub when no-one gives a shit about you.”
You haven’t seen our review of your Oxegen show, but the Internet can be a fairly unforgiving place can’t it?
“A lot of people assume that we’re signed to a major label and have a lot of money behind us. We don’t, we’re the exact same as every other band. We all decided at the age of fifteen to play an instrument but we’re seen in a different light. Only recently we did a thing on Facebook asking who should support us at the Academy and other bands got involved saying spam the page. Other people were asking for us to get the Script or 30 Seconds To Mars, they don’t understand that you can’t get a huge international act to play with you in the Academy. Then there were some comments that us and MCD and our record label were manipulating this and that. It wasn’t a publicity stunt, it was just to give a band in the same position as us two years ago a chance. We get bitched about on forums all the time but we’ll keep doing what we do.”
You do court a younger audience though, and they’re the ones who often get carried away with that.
“We try and do a lot of all ages shows. If we did an exclusively over 18s gig I don’t expect many people would come and see us play. The Coronas can do two nights over 18s at the Olympia and one night for all ages but we’re not at that level yet. A lot of people don’t want to come to an all ages show and deal with sweaty kids running round the venue.”
How do other Irish bands view you?
“I don’t know. No band has ever come up to us and said I hate you, you’re faggots. For the most part we get on really well and it seems that people may have had a preconception before completely change it when they see us live. That’s good because it’s completely what it’s about.”
Fox Avenue play The Academy, Dublin on December 27th.