Fremantle folkies Galloping Foxleys arereleasing their new album No Future. Forever. The backstory behind the group is a typical Perth scenario. Muso mates working in bars and an exhaustively diverse range of other acts realised they enjoyed drinking and jamming together, figured it was even more fun doing it onstage and found themselves with a vast body of work that they next had to capture on record. But collecting the disparate thoughts and talents of such a group and pinning it down onto an LP wasn’t all easy and breezy. BRAYDEN EDWARDS talked to vocalist and guitarist Shane Corry on how it all came together, and why, just like the motley characters in the band, even the most dichotomous elements like humour, fatalism, imagination and restraint can be woven together into a colourful coat. No Future. Forever. by Galloping Foxleys is out this Friday, April 13 and is available to buy or stream on Bandcamp.
Even by looking at a photo of the Foxleys there were a lot of faces I recognised from other acts that play around town. Can you give us a quick rundown of just who’s in the band and where we might know them from?
It’s all a bit incestuous.
And so how did you all come to be?
We formed way back at the end of 2012 as the Mojo’s Bar staff band. T’was a New Year’s Eve gig at that hallowed bar and it was so much fun that we’ve been subjecting people to it ever since. We’ve added a few of our goodly chums since and the fun just keeps on coming. We could probably do with a few more members to flesh it out a little. Do you know any good bassoon players?
Yeah… the good ones are always taken unfortunately! But really, with such a mix of different members how do the songs actually come together? How do you keep a lid on it with so many instruments and therefore ideas to work with?
Most of the time I’ll have a pretty fully formed song and we’ll all get together to jam it out. I try not to be too precious about it because we’re a much more complete songwriter as a team. Sometimes I’ll have a song that I think should be dark and moody and invariably it ends up as some weird uptempo country nonsense and I have to storm out crying until I get my way. We always hug and kiss, have a drink, make up, let bygones be bygones with much backslapping and gracious oratory, have a drink and get back in there ready for another fight.
There’s an impressive amount of musical restraint on this album as well as allowing the vocals and harmonies to be the focal point on most tracks. Are you actually all patient enough to explore this dynamic while rehearsing or was it more something you developed in the recording process?
I guess the songs that we had were naturally more restrained in terms of theme and melody. Also, the album was recorded over three sessions that were months apart from each other. In between those sessions folks were away a lot at different times so we weren’t playing many gigs or getting together much. That meant we had only played each song a handful of times before we got into the studio, in some cases not even as a whole band together. We like to record everything live too and I think there was a bit of everybody watching everybody to see what came next, a slight tentativeness as we played that kept everything in check. So to answer the question, no, we are not actually patient enough to explore that dynamic.
And what artists inspired or informed that aesthetic?
I was listening to a lot of Timber Timbre and Nick Cave while I was writing the songs and they definitely influenced the compositions.
While we’re on the recording, were there any surprising changes to the songs that came about once you were putting it together in the studio?
The most surprising changes for me all happened in post production when we gave the tracks to Sean Gorman of Salary fame to mix. He’s some sort of sneaky genius and all these little strange noises, synth lines and layers began appearing in the songs that completely transformed them – a veritable metamorphosis if you will. He really understood what we wanted and did a fantastic job of turning what was a bunch of songs into a cohesive album. We’re looking forward to working with him again on the next one but he’s in high demand now so we probably won’t be able to afford him.
The album touches on some deeper issues lyrically but there is also a sense of humour throughout as well. Is that a deliberate method or more just real personality coming out naturally?
I think everybody in the Foxleys has a pretty warped sense of humour and a touch of fatalism in the way they view this life. The world is a pretty shitty place in a lot of ways and if you can’t laugh at it you’d just have to hide under a big pile of coats and cry yourself to sleep every night. I delight in arguing with people about serious issues but I just make them angry. If you actually want to instigate change it needs to happen in a positive way, so always better to be pro whatever than anti anything; it’s always more inclusive. No good comes from calling people out on social media, better to lead the way by example; educate and people will walk with you. So the humour is like the pickled onion with the serious slice of mature issue cheddar, it just makes it all taste better.
I thought this came together best on the title track and closer No Future. Forever. What was it that motivated that song… is being disaffected simply more functional in this day and age, and why?
One could argue that a majority of people in Australia today are among the most blessed generation of humans to walk this planet in terms of comfort, safety, health, wealth and the unparalleled opportunities we are afforded to pursue our dreams. We’ve virtually extricated ourselves from the natural world and created a carefully manicured, temperature controlled version of nature that we can all get drunk in and not be eaten by on the way home. Clearly though, we are in trouble on a global scale regardless of who or what you choose to blame and the disconnect between ourselves and our planet is just too big to comprehend. It’s just easier to keep bungling onward then make those vital changes.
People talk green all the time but very few actually live it. We take four minute cold showers yet harvest six tomatoes from 20 gallons of water in a nicely lawned garden on the edge of the desert. I don’t want to sound preachy because I am as guilty as everyone and I can grow a fucking delicious tomato but it all adds up to that fatalistic prophesy – No Future. Forever. And if you go by our past experience we are not going to change until we have no choice and it will most probably be too late by then. I guess it’s not a very optimistic message for the youth. Best start buying coats now.
Are any of these songs going to be new additions to the Foxley’s live shows? What’s coming up on that side of things?
We have been playing a few of these songs in our live shows but you have to pick your battles. It’s just no good singing about a sick family member or the end of the world as we know it at the pub on a Friday night. People have come to think of the Foxleys as a fairly raucous ensemble with drinking songs and advice on the nonproliferation of procreation and we get that. We have just broadened our scope for locations to perform and there will be some more intimate, seated shows in non traditional venues so we can indulge our more serious side, like an upcoming vinyl launch in a small local church… which I’ll have more details on soon. But we will also be ripping it up at Mojos on Thursday, April 12 (that’s tonight, folks!) with our good friends Jack Davies and Dan Howls and there will be old favourites, merriment and shouting and very few thoughts of the future. Just the glorious, filthy, indulgent, intoxicating now.