"You could look at the cold winters and the open spaces of the prairies and probably draw some sort of connection to our sound and lyrics…."
CFMU’s ever expanding library receives music from talented artists all across the country, many originating from Canada’s bustling cities of Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal and Hamilton. But not often do musicians from the Canadian prairies find their way into our library, and when they do, it’s always a treat.
A band truly born out of love, Foxwarren is made up of childhood friends and siblings: Andy Shauf, Dallas Bryson, Darryl Kissick and Avery Kissick got together over a decade ago to create music. Now, they’ve made their debut album a reality. Foxwarren is more than just cohesive and skillfully crafted; it’s a testament to the band’s shared experiences of life, from youth to adulthood.
Having released several solo albums so far, Shauf’s influence is easily identified, most notably in his recognizable, melodic voice. But the essence of Foxwarren as a whole shines through. Songs like To Be and Sunset Canyon capture conflicting moods effortlessly: a soft but pressing undercurrent, a tone warm but troubling, and airy words that hold weight. The delicate balance is a sound to behold, and Foxwarren has a coveted spot on my ‘Favourite Albums of 2018’ list.
We talked to Foxwarren and asked about their early years and how it shaped their music.
"We originally tried writing louder, angsty music as a way to do something different, but eventually settled into a style that felt more natural."
We’ve gotten to know Andy through his solo work, but tell us more about the rest of the band. What was your collective childhood like growing up “across the Canadian prairies”, and have you found it influencing your music?
You could look at the cold winters and the open spaces of the prairies and probably draw some sort of connection to our sound and lyrics…. It’s difficult to take a step back, though, and see how these factors have influenced us specifically. We all had fairly similar upbringings—we each grew up in rural areas and probably turned to music as a way to pass time.
Like superheroes, fans love hearing a band’s origin story. When was the moment you all decided to make music together?
About 10 or 11 years ago, I got a message from Andy online…. He was moving back to Regina and wanted to try starting a band. We had known each other a little through the music scene, and I was excited to try working with him. Avery (my brother) and Dallas (Andy’s good friend) joined us and we all enjoyed making music, hanging out, and listening to albums together. We originally tried writing louder, angsty music as a way to do something different, but eventually settled into a style that felt more natural.
Your self-titled album was released last November, four years after being recorded in Regina and Manitoba. Do you feel that the time was right, and does the music feel any different with the time that’s passed?
The first batch of songs was recorded four years ago, but we added another song and a bit of instrumentation more recently. Ideally, we would have released the album a while ago, but it just didn’t work with everyone’s schedule. We’re all still happy with the way the album turned out, and I think that’s a great testament to it. I’m glad that the songs are finally out there and that some people seem to be enjoying them.
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Were there any overarching themes that emerged while producing the album?
No one set out to tie these songs together thematically, but it seemed to happen in the end. There seems to be a focus on the passage of time, on isolation, and some of the uncertainties of life. Our lyrics are fairly vague, though.
What has been the best part(s) of being artists with such close relationships?
It’s always been fairly easy for us to communicate ideas, and no one is putting unnecessary pressure on one another or this project. We enjoy hanging out, so being in a band is easy.
Any possibility of a Foxwarren tour on the horizon?
Yeah, definitely. We’re planning to do some touring late Spring/Summer.
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