I saw Foxy Shazam back in 2011 when they were touring in support of their self-titled album. They were a new-to-me band and I had no idea what to expect. And really, I think that’s the key to understanding Foxy Shazam – be prepared for the unexpected.
This past April they surprised their fans with a brand new self-released album, Gonzo, which thematically is a major shift in tone and direction. I don’t want to say that the band has matured, necessarily, but certainly they’ve moved into a more thoughtful, pensive aural space.
They’ve just released a video for their first single off the new album, Tragic Thrill and are currently on the road across the country.
Fr.U.N.T. Music had the opportunity to ask Daisy Caplan of Foxy Shazam a few questions and he was gracious enough to take the time to chat with us.
Cardiac_in_Overdrive: Gonzo seems to be a revolutionary record for the band in multiple ways. A different creative process, a significantly different sound, a different visual aesthetic, and a different business model in releasing the album. Was all of that a deliberate choice, or was that something that evolved naturally out of the circumstances you found yourself in?
Daisy Caplan: It evolved naturally. We wrote a lot of songs that we weren’t feeling, and over time stuff like what’s on Gonzo started coming out and it felt right. Everything else flowed from that.
CiO: You’ve literally just started your tour and I’ve heard talk that the band was planning on playing essentially two sets – one of the entirety of Gonzo front to back, and then a second with other Foxy Shazam material. What prompted this, and how is it working out so far?
DC: We always play better when we play a shorter set. This way, we can literally play two normal sets and keep our energy up rather than play one really long set. Also, it gives the unique opportunity to play an album all the way thru, which we’ve never done before.
CiO: Most people don’t realize how hard professional musicians work. There’s still a perception, I think, of the rock star lifestyle of hedonistic excesses. They don’t see the downside, of being away from family and living on a tour bus. Was there ever a moment when you wondered if it was worth it?
DC: Sure, I think we all wonder whether it’s worth it pretty much every day. The answer just keeps being yes, though.
CiO: Two things stand out to me when you’ve talked about creating the music for Gonzo. One is that the band recorded the album in the studio, all together, with little in the way of additional production. The other is that you and Loren Turner (guitar) switched instruments. I know that the songs for Gonzo were written to be more stripped down, reflecting the tone of the album, but where did the idea for switching instruments come from?
DC: People who interview us keep going back to this notion that things are birthed as grand concepts that we all then adhere to, like someone has a light-bulb go on in a thought-bubble and they go “IVE GOT IT!” like in a cartoon. Reality isn’t like that ; things that happen are a confluence of events that look very tidy in retrospect but at the moment are unknown and chaotic, effecting each other in ways that are hard to put together later. We did what felt right to us in the moment, and that evolved into what you see now.
CiO: You released Gonzo independently, and I know your first album The Flamingo Trigger was self-released as well. Was it a little scary to be “on your own” again, or was it just a logical progression that fit well with what you were doing with Gonzo?
DC: It felt like a logical progression. This is an album that makes sense free.
CiO: So, the album is out, you’ve already put out a video for Tragic Thrill, and you’re on tour until the end of the summer…what’s next for Foxy Shazam? More touring, more videos, taking over the world one venue at a time?
DC: Yeah, you pretty much answered that one for me. The only thing I’ll add is that we will probably start releasing records at a more rapid pace now that we are unencumbered by label scheduling. See ya on the road!
Foxy Shazam is definitely one of those bands that really shines live, so if you get a chance to catch them on tour, run with it. And check out their new album; it’s available as a free download.