BrightestYoungThings interviewed Foxygen at the end of February. Good interview as they cover a lot of ground, including playing as a live band for the first time:
What kind of changes have you guys have experienced?
We had to get our shit together. A big change was getting our live act together, because we’ve always been sort of a recording band. Before we signed with Jagjaguwar, we had played, like, six shows or something. It was literally next to no concerts. Over the last couple of months, we’ve been really getting our groove as a live band.
As a studio-minded musicians, has it been a challenge to reproduce the more ornate arrangements of 21st Century Ambassadors in a live setting?
We haven’t even tried. [Laughs]. The biggest thing for us is that our drummer Shaun [Fleming] got a sampler, so we sampled some of the things on the record, which is as close as we can get. We’re more of a punk band live. We sort of stumble out there and play on our broken equipment until it dies at the end of the night. That’s our approach to playing live. We can’t bring out a string quartet and xylophone to play some of those songs. We’re just going to play them really loud on guitars. That’s good enough for us.
And also Richard Swift’s influence. I guess he played some of the drums on the new album?
Were there any songs that proved especially tricky to stitch together?
One of the first songs we recorded was “On Blue Mountain”. It wasn’t tricky for Sam and I, because it’s so natural for us at this point, but we were working with Swift, and he was, you know, playing drums in the band, and I don’t know if he had ever done a record like where it’s like, “This part’s in 3/4, and this part goes to 6/4, and then we stop here for two bars.” He had to pick that up. He’s such a quick learner, but it took him a little bit to get into the groove of how we work, and so we spent a whole day on it. It wasn’t the most productive day. It was doing a lot of takes and doing a lot of takes until we finally got, and then after that, everything was smooth sailing.