O: I love the fact that you’ve kind of taken the ‘Fine, Fuck It’-DIY-we’ll-just-do-what-we-can-ourselves approach. It seems like that’s been going pretty well.
SA: Yeah. It definitely has.
SS: We’ve definitely been growing in the past couple months, for sure.
O: Been listening to the EP you guys put out, earlier this year, right? It’s really new, right? Sounds great.
SA: Yeah, it came out a few months ago. Thanks.
O: I don’t know much about funk so I don’t really have much to draw upon in terms of comparisons. Maybe you guys can say a little bit about – Why funk? What your inspirations are…what does funk mean to you?
SA: I’m really into funkadelic. That’s a huge inspiration to me. I hadn’t really been super into. I wasn’t growing up listening to a shit ton of funk…I kind of started…we just started playing it. We started out as a blues band and then we started doing breakouts.
Who’s in the band?
The band is still forming. A few people who started out in the band ended up having to leave but they made a big impact. Currently, Foxy Apollo is Sam, Satchel and Zach, but these are the guys who played the show I attended:
What’s With the Band Name?
SA: It started with me and my cousin jamming a couple summers ago. It was kind of an inside joke. We thought it was funny. It was catchy. It didn’t really mean anything at the time…it got its meaning a lot later.
SS: We’ve jokingly called ourselves Oxy Pollo. (Remove the first two letters.)
O: Or you could be Foxy Pollo – Foxy Chicken. (haha!)
The Creative Process :: Writing Your Emotions
SA: I’ve been writing songs for a while. I started out imitating a couple musicians – mainly Nirvana. I was in a couple bands that were basically a mirror image of Nirvana.
In high school, I was really stressed out. I was a little down. I got really into writing songs, putting words to how I felt. It kind of just like spills out of you. But yeah, it kind of all builds up and you’re like, Oh shit, now I have a bunch of songs. Now I can do something with these.
O: I started writing when I was 14-15 because of depression. I didn’t know what it was then but, for me, writing poetry…they’re like lyrics. Eventually, it turned into music so I totally get the importance of having that creative outlet.
SA: Yeah. And definitely, as I’ve gotten older, too. We just started going to Edmonds Community College. They have an amazing music program and access to studios so we’ve been working a lot there. Every day we’ve been trying to spill a little bit out.
[At this point in our conversation, Satchel recognized The Roots playing overhead.]
O: I heard some Nirvana and Built to Spill in your music, and my friend said he heard 90’s and 70’s rock.
SA: I could see that. 70’s rock is huge. I grew up listening to Neil Young and classic rock, and I got into indie rock in high school
SS: Definitely 70’s funk like The Brothers Johnson. That’s so tight. I love that stuff.
Songs: Mental Breakdown and I’ve Gone Mad
O: Part of why I’m talking to you guys is because I’m interested in mental health and depression, especially teenage depression. I don’t know what it’s like to be a teenager now. Music is usually a personal thing, so I wondering about your song, “I Think I’m Mad.”
SA: I started writing that song about drug addiction and a lot of self-analysis; more of a bond I shared with my cousin. We were talking about a lot of deep things but writing these really silly songs, covering it up with happy melodies but really kind of writing about more deep things that we couldn’t really completely comprehend.
O: That’s awesome. It’s awesome how music does that.
Teenagers and Ageism
SS: Like Sam was saying, self-analysis has always been a big thing. I think with being a musician sometimes…if you’re like me, I like to practice a lot and you could go six hours and feel like you’ve gotten nothing done and you’re really hard on yourself.
It’s gotten to a point sometimes with me, where like, I won’t have any friends at the time, except for Sam, because I’ll shelter myself and then you realize everybody’s out and you’re like. Oh, alright I guess I’m here alone with a pad..messing around.
O: Right, and is that hard sometimes because you don’t have that social interaction with more people?
SS: Yeah but I just put it back into music though. You go and listen to an album so it’s both a good and a bad…
O: Yeah, you have to sacrifice something, right? I mean, if music isn’t something you’re willing to sacrifice then you have a to find a way to be OK with it, right?
SS: Yeah, absolutely.
O: Do you actually practice six hours a day?!
SS: Yeah. I try to. Today I did four. I want to go to music school next year, hopefully, so I’m trying to get as good as I can for auditions.
How does this band fit into your music career? Is it a project band?
SA: I’m always gonna be making music. It’s kind of inevitable. It’s not a sacrifice for me because it’s something I’ll always do. Even if this, specifically, doesn’t work out at some point, I’d still keep making stuff and sharing.
O: When you say that, do you mean that you’re thinking you’re gonna work in the music industry? Like you want to try to be an artist and make money from that or…?
SS: I wouldn’t say it’s necessarily about the money thing. I mean, yes, I think we both want to become professional musicians or people who work with audio. Even if it’s just becoming an audio engineer or something, doing that kind of business, but I think it’s just about the love of music. Both of us wouldn’t care living in a shithole for like..I don’t know, 40 years.
SA: What about the industry where you specifically asking about?
O: Have you thought about or considered the fact that maybe you’d have to work in something else to sustain myself.
SA: We’ve been studying a lot of stuff around the music itself, too. We’ve been studying some sound engineering and visiting studios and hearing a lot of audio engineering stories. I still wanna tackle the music industry and see what else you can do around it.
Obviously, there’s a chance I might end up with another job around it but I think it’d be cool to learn about all the other stuff instead of just coming [at music] from one direction.
SS: Do you think you could ever see yourself in a desk job?
SA: Fuck no.
SS: That’s a big “no.”
~18:45 [I blab on about entrepreneurship. Don’t have to be stuck at a desk.]
O: There are a couple of things in particular I’m curious about your description of the band on FB.
“Lack of respect that you’ve experienced” – can you tell me a bit more?
SA: We’ve been playing at some bars and people see these kids playing –and I’ve experienced this a lot cause I’ve been playing since I was really young– and they kind of just like…
O: Write you off?
SA: Yeah. They’re kinda like, “Play your show and get the fuck outta here.” I mean, they don’t really treat you with the same respect.
SS: We’ve played shows where I’ve literally had to set up my drum kit outside the venue and carry it in onto the stage and right after, immediately leave.
SA: ..and get escorts to the bathroom.
O: What?! That’s not cool…
SA: I mean, I get it. They’re cracking down…but it’s less about the concerns of underage drinking and more about how people view young musicians, their perspective of them.
SS: We’re like free entertainment to them and they can just treat us like crap…
O: That’s messed up. It sounds like you’ve found some places that are better about that?
Both: Oh yeah. Those are only a select few.
SA: It’s really opened our eyes and it made us realize that we really want to be doing this ourselves; not relying on others to promote us cause a lot of promoters aren’t doing their part…
O: That’s frustrating.
SS: It makes it fun though.
“Meticulous approach to playing” – What do you mean? Meticulous in what way?
SS: We both play in a very distinct style and they’re both very exact in their own ways, that together makes a whole new sound..it’s different.
SA: Also, aside from the style, we connect a lot to it. Each part of it is telling its own story in a way.
SS: It’s definitely a very thoughtful process…
“Emotions and stories that come through….” that’s kind of what you’re talking about. Channeling your experiences
SS: Working on writing and recording a lot of new stuff. We’ve recorded a bunch, just need to record drums and its good to go. Not ready for a release date yet. [Edit: Foxy Apollo has since released a few tracks, which you can listen to on Soundcloud here.
SA: We’re trying to get into the mixing process too and mix our own music using studios at school.
O: I’m excited to hear what you guys come up with. I think your energy is super cool.
I have a special place in my heart for teenagers because of the age-ism you were talking about. People, culture don’t take children/ seriously.
Notes: Sam does most band mgmt (booking shows, art) with help from others. Satchel ends up recording the practices, usually.
Note: Some portions of the interview were omitted to respect confidentiality and privacy. Additionally, some portions of the interview were slightly edited for clarity and brevity.
Continue reading Full Interview with Foxy Apollo