Foxy Shazam are no strangers to theatricality. On top of their trademark insane live performances over the years, they decided to step it up a notch earlier this year by unexpectedly dropping their fifth studio album with absolutely no advertising, no announcements and no label. And on top of all of that,Gonzo was released for free. In support of the album, Foxy Shazam set off on a massive headlining tour and we got the chance to talk to horn player/backing vocalist, Alex Nauth about the challenges in self-releasing and producing the album, Foxy Shazam's crazy live performances, and their plans for the future.
You can pick up Gonzo now on Foxy Shazam's bandcamp and support the band on the upcoming third leg of their headlining tour with Masked Intruder and SycAmour. CLICK HERE to check out their tour dates!
Before we really get into it, I want to talk about the concept behind Gonzo. You guys sort of released it out of nowhere - and for free! Where did the decision come from to release the album that way, with no advertising or press or anything?
We always try something new and try to change honestly. So this was a path that we had never taken but in the current state of the industry we didn't seem it to be odd to release it that way at all. Along with the record itself we felt it all lended itself to be shocking in a way. We love shocking.
Was there anything that you really wanted to accomplish or convey with Gonzo as a whole?
We wanted to push ourselves by recording live and to make a truthfully raw record that hid nothing and gave everything.
The album sounds completely different than anything else you've released before. It's just so raw - both the music and the vocals and lyrics. Was that sound something you set out to do, or was it something organic that just happened on its own?
We set out intending to make a record that was completely recorded live and with zero digital trickery, meaning all percussive elements, effects, and layering must be something that the six of us can do organically in the moment. Composing on that level gave us a challenge and I believe opened the tap to our creativity where it was impossible to not pour our true selves into every inch of sound on the record.
I also thought that lyrically, this album sounded a lot more personal than your other releases. Was that intentional?
Eric's lyrics on this record are personal and introspective, but, in my opinion, not in a way that everyone can't relate to. It was a time where each one of us was going through a similar introspective search in our lives, Eric just captured it perfectly lyrically, for all of us. And I think anyone who has been through a similar time can relate.
I know you guys also recordedGonzo in a live setting, which is obviously very different from how most albums are recorded. Were there any challenges you faced going into recording in that setting that you normally wouldn't come across otherwise?
You just need to be prepared. We had been playing the record as a completed whole for months before we ever met with Steve. There is no other way to do it when you want to record live, but it's a process I would recommend to any young musician. You find out who you really are.
We just caught your show in Denver and the entire vibe of Gonzo really translates well live. I was definitely really happy to watch the album played in its entirety. Now that you've been playing it for a few months, do you have a favorite song to play off the new record?
Thank you! And yes; Dark Horse by Katy Perry
When you guys first started making music and touring, was your live show and the way that you presented yourselves on stage something you really thought about? Was there ever a moment where you sat down and were like, "Yeah, I'm gonna do this shit on stage and hope they dig it"?
Always. We take huge pride in our stage show so it's something that we always think about and try to perfect. Controlled chaos if you will but we prefer the term Magic. Magic is something with a logical explanation presented in a way that has none. It is what we always will strive for.
How do you stay inspired to make every show special when you're out on the road?
Good food, cheap vintage stores, a good bookstore or record shop. We really just try to make our own fun where we are and appreciate the fact that we're there.
When you guys are touring or writing new music, what are you listening to? Is there anything that really inspires you?
Like everyone, we're constantly on the search for new music that excites us. Between the six of us we listen to about everything and just try to share that with each other. Right now I'm listening to July Talk, Braid, Masked Intruder, Die Antwoord, The Menzingers, and Twin Shadow.
What do you have planned after you finish up this tour?
I'm gonna take my wife out on a date! But for the band we'll be doing some festivals in the early fall and then we'll be hitting the rest of the country we haven't hit yet in late fall.
Is there anything else you'd like to add?
I'm no good at math so I think I'll pass. Thanks!