Live Session: Foxy Dads
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The indie pop angels of the Long Island City-based outfit, foxy dads, shared their brand of bright but melancholic pop tunes at their AGL Sounds live session. “Baby Teeth,” the first track from their debut EP, Pity Party, starts with a voicemail from vocalist Ilana Hope’s Grandma Rose, and yeah, it’s darn adorable. The message was left for Hope on her 17th birthday and as you hear the vocal sentiment be sealed with love, it dissolves into a space that pairs Hope’s silvery vocal with sparse drum machine hits, light guitar, and a microkorg melody. If you close your eyes you can almost see the small rainbow glockenspiel that little music makers use to create their first sounds, and this makes for an innocent sounding song, but as you listen you can hear Hope’s lyricism is laced with vastly mature insight.
Check out the video of the performance of “Baby Teeth” and then take a listen to the rest of the session while you read a quick interview with Ilana below.
Hey Illana! So how did foxy dads unite and start making music together? What’s your story?
Well I started releasing demos with a friend in 2015 or something but we didn’t really become a band of any sort until much after that. It was just a for-fun thing for me that turned into something really positive in my life when I got more friends involved regularly.
“Baby Teeth” starts with a voicemail from your grandma on your 17th birthday (and it’s the sweetest). What inspired it’s inclusion in the song?
I save all my voicemails honestly. I delete some when I don’t have room but I generally try to save them for as long as I can. Anyone will tell you I’m kind of a sentimental person, definitely a sap. I’m always too far in the past or too far in the future, I’m not the best at living in the now. I like to dwell not just on sad things but happy things too. I like voicemails because they’re little clips of other times I can always have with me, even when the people who left them aren’t near me at all. Family is especially important to me, so I felt since they made me who I am it was only right to include the parts of my life that I remember fondly into my music.
“People learn things that they don’t like and stay inside them” is a line that really stuck out to me on “Baby Teeth.” Do you think that this is just a part of growing up and learning about yourself?
Absolutely. I think people convince themselves that they are happy when they’re not, or convince themselves that they can’t change something, all the time. I think a big part of growing up is realizing you do have a lot of power and you shouldn’t keep making a mistake just because you spent a long time making it. You should always look out for yourself and find ways to grow and explore outside of what you think you’re capable of. Don’t ever trap yourself or put yourself in a box, who you are and what you want can always change.
When did you feel that you were able to be “the fox that chases all the birds away”?
That line started as aspirational, me hoping to overcome aspects of my anxiety that did make me feel trapped, but over time it came true. I think more people need to write aspirational lines like that, not just how you feel but how you want to feel, because it’s so helpful I think. I do feel now, and probably for the past year or so, that I am highly comfortable saying that line. I do feel in control.
Your debut LP “Songs from the LIRR” is bouncy, sincere, and melancholic at times. It makes me visualize floating on a sea of sparkly water into a horizon that holds a disco ball moon.
How has it felt to play these songs live?
Omg I love that visual! Absolutely what I want people to feel when they listen! Some of the songs are kind of hard to sing live honestly, because they are very intimate and down sometimes, but it’s super cathartic, and it’s always balanced out by the bouncier parts I get to sing live too. Which I always find super fun. I love when people dance 🙂
What have you been listening to lately?
Fantasy Camp, SZA, Winnebago Vacation, Beyoncé, Sleigh Bells, Prince Daddy & the Hyena, the new Kanye album, Trace Mountains, R.L. Kelly, etc etc etc
If you were a fish, what kind of fish would you be?
I think loaches are cool cos they look like noodles.
What was your favorite moment from recording this live session?
I like the parts where my friends sing with me 🙂 honestly recording everything with everyone around me was so nice, I was at a pretty low point in my life and it felt so good to be working on things with peers and not to be alone. It was a great time in general and we were watching movies and hanging out and it was just a really wonderful experience and I can’t thank Joey and Marissa enough for recording with me and making that day as fun as possible.
Audio Engineers: Ryan Hillsinger and Doug Gallo
Mixing and Mastering: Ryan Hillsinger
Video Production: Savan Sekhon
Videographers: Savan Sekhon, Anthony “Big Body” Comi, and Ryan Hillsinger
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