St. Louis’ Foxing heads to Iowa City


Gabe’s — Saturday, Mar. 5 at 6:30 p.m.

St. Louis' Foxing
Foxing plays Gabe’s on 3/5. Photo by Mitch Wojcik.

“Foxing is a band,” the bio on the St. Louis-based group’s Bandcamp page asserts. “Someday Foxing won’t be a band.” This graceful impermanence permeates the band’s ethos — from their name (taken from a term for the way that brown spots appear on, and eventually obfuscate, paper as it ages) to their philosophy to their music itself. Conor Murphy, Josh Coll, Ricky Sampson, Jon Hellwig and Eric Hudson may be aware of their transience on the overall landscape, but while they’re here, they clearly put all of themselves into what they do. Foxing is variously categorized as post-rock, indie rock or sometimes even emo — but there are some moments of reverie in their songs that seem downright shoegaze-y, like a lo-fi My Bloody Valentine. Their straightforward, almost stark, lyrics contrast sharply with the layers and layers of symphonic sounds that build their music.

The five-year-old outfit released their second full-length, Dealer, last year, and are coming to Gabe’s in support of it, with Lymbyc Systym, Tancred and Adjy. Tickets are $12–14. Little Village spoke with guitarist Sampson via email:

Little Village: This notion of “foxing,” from which you take your name: Is that entirely an internal self-concept? Or do you ever feel like you’re turning it outward—like you’re doing the foxing, obscuring the aging document of modern pop music?

Ricky Sampson: I think it reflects how we feel about our own music; I personally am not confident enough to say our music does anything to the current landscape of modern pop music.

Your tour is extremely wide-ranging. Did you tour internationally for your earlier releases? What sort of expectations or fears do you have about your overseas audiences?

No, international touring is very new to us; the only expectation I have with overseas touring is that I have a good time and do some sight seeing. I don’t expect anyone to show up to any of the shows, but that’s all over the world. I’m just happy if whoever does show up has a nice time watching.

Many of the songs on ‘Dealer’ seem caught in a war between stillness, and a steady, inexorable movement. Can you talk a bit more, beyond just the band’s name, about how notions of time play into your thematic and composition styles?

Time is cruel, time means you have to stop eventually, time means you have a deadline, time means that there are people who don’t want to wait around anymore, time means paying more money in taxes than you made, time means closing down a project because its not sustainable.

It seems like much of modern music is about holding on as tightly as possible to a place in the sun. As you talk about being a band born into an almost planned obscurity (you’re here, you create, you cycle through), are there any other performers who you see as role models in this? Who else accepts this notion of “we’re not going to be around forever”?

Its a life concept, not a purely musical concept; everything comes to an end. You just have to land on your feet. There’s no need for a role model because literally everyone goes through this in some way or another. Your parents used to be happier but now they settled down.

Listening to some of the more symphonic tracks on ‘Dealer’ (“Winding Cloth,” for example, or “Eiffel”) makes me wonder: are any of the main creative forces in the band classically trained? What drives that desire to build those deep layers beneath your work?

We’re all in some way trained musicians. Life is an onion, lots of layers.

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