Pocket Fox are a Canberra-based folk-pop band, playing original, alternative music full of rich vocal harmonies and luscious horn lines. Their debut album, The Brightest Light, bridges genres, featuring everything from catchy pop horns and big-band hooks, to haunting vocal harmonies and orchestral sensibilities. We sit down and talk to band member Luci.
Could you tell me a little bit about the band and the band members? When and how did you get together?
Pocket Fox are a bit like a family band where no one is actually related to each other. The band got together during our time at uni when three of the members were living together – Luci, Nicky and Ellie. We started jamming and it kind of grew from there. And by grew I mean in size as well as musically; there are eight of us now! Individually, everyone has their own strong connection with music; Paddy and Robin come from folk musician families, Claire went to jazz school, Liz is a conductor. There are even three music teachers in the band! Overall, we all enjoy music as a way to express ourselves and connect with other people.
Are you trying to echo a particular style? Who are your influences and who do you like listening to?
Musically we have a very broad range of influences: anything from large scale classical or big band music through to nu-folk singer-songwriters. As a songwriter, I am influenced by Sufjan Stevens, Fleet Foxes, Joanna Newsom, Alt-J, and also by poetry and fiction from writers like Jeanette Winterson. I also love listening to other local bands such as Burrows, Paint on Paint, Brass Knuckle Band, Slow Turismo – the list goes on.
How long did this album take to make?
This album took three years to make! We were lucky to receive a grant from ArtsACT to assist us with the project. We worked very closely with our producer, Sam King (Merloc Studios), to arrange the songs for recording. The track ‘I Fell In’ on the album was entirely arranged by Sam. It features an almost orchestral setting of the horns and some pretty whacky polyrhythms, all of which support and beautify the original song.
Why did you name it The Brightest Light?
The Brightest Light is the name of one of the tracks (formerly known as ‘The Tasmania Song’). The chorus of this song actually repeats over and over a line that one of my dear old physics teachers once said to me: “the brightest light casts the darkest shadow”. The lyrical content of the album deals a lot with unstable dichotomies between light and dark, the head and the heart, the self and the other. The point is to challenge the idea of binaries and explore the space in between.
Which of the songs did you write first? How did the ideas for the songs come to pass?
The song that was written first on this album was our second single, ‘Kingdom Come’. It’s a song that I wrote during my gap year. I was in Vienna, Austria, and in the middle of a pretty major fall-out with a travelling buddy. I wrote the song while walking across the city at sunset. The rhythm of the song contains the strong footsteps, the instrumentation paints a busy sunset picture, and the lyrics explore the idea of self-reliance. It’s a very hopeful song.
What’s it like playing your music live?
With so many of us, it can feel like a bit of a party on stage in the upbeat songs. It’s often a bit squishy but always real fun.
What’s the goal with your show?
To keep the songs living, and to give people a warm and positive experience. We really want people to feel they can connect with the music however they like, whether it’s through dancing, singing, or just watching and listening. We try to connect with our songs in an authentic way every time we perform, and we hope the audience can do the same.