Q&A with Billy Fox
While he was hanging about in Brisbane for BIGSOUND, we had a chat to Sydney soul-slicker Billy Fox about new music and his early days singing in a church choir.
Bridie: How would you describe your music?
Billy: To put a label on it, I usually say new age R&B. Other people chuck in that other ‘electronic’ word.
As I got older, I realised that music was something else and I really honed into it.
Bridie: When did you start singing? Is it something that you’ve always done?
Billy: Yeah, I’ve always been singing. Even in primary school, a couple of mates and I would always sing at mass with the pianist – we really digged it. Then after that, we would go out and friggin crash tackle each other on the footy fields [laughs], which is just one of those ‘boy’ things I guess. I suppose I started mucking around in high school, just singing things that sounded cool and like the bands we were listening to at the time. As I got older, I realised that music was something else and I really honed into it.
Bridie: A lot of your music is based around simplicity. Is is ever hard to recreate and duplicate that?
Billy: Not really, it comes back to the whole experience thing. I’ve written music in a whole lot of different environments and situations, and when you first start out, you try to do everything at once. You try to be tricky, but as you do more, you realise that you can streamline things and pick the key elements. You make sure they really shine, and make sure there are other colours and cushions for everything else to sit on.
Bridie: How long are you in Brisbane for?
Billy: Just for a couple of days. I have my showcase tonight and some meetings with management tomorrow. I was going to stick around and do some shows up the coast, but I’ve go to get back to Sydney.
It all goes back to that simplicity thing; nobody’s trying to fit things into holes, everything is just happening naturally and it has a good feeling.
Bridie: Recently you’ve had a lot of attention with your song, Monuments. How does that make you feel?
Billy: Yeah, it feels great. That song in particular wasn’t really meant to be released – I mean, it’s six and a half minutes long. But people kept saying that it had a great vibe, so yeah, its unfolding quite nicely. It all goes back to that simplicity thing; nobody’s trying to fit things into holes, everything is just happening naturally and it has a good feeling.
Bridie: What sort of music did you grow up listening to?
Billy: Far out… heaps. I grew up listening to lots of jazz from my dad, and my friends and I listened to anything from the Beastie Boys and Rage Against the Machine to Nirvana and stuff like Counting Crows.
Bridie: Would you say that these people have influenced your own music?
Billy: Yeah in one way or another. Even if you don’t realise, you’re always picking up on things that are stuck in your mind. Whether its just an approach to a song, or certain tones that you want to squeeze out of instruments, no doubt they come from somewhere back there.
Bridie: Who are you looking forward to seeing at BIGSOUND?
Billy: There’re a couple of acts on the bill tonight that should be sweet, as well as Ash Grunwald tomorrow night. I haven’t seen him play for a couple of years so I’ll be keen to check it out.
Bridie: Well I hope you have a good time in Brisbane. It’s been awesome to chat with you.