The Chicago Tribune did a profile of Foxygen with the clever title “Foxygen’s tension has our attention.” Overall, it was a very positive writeup:
Led by childhood friends Sam France and Jonathan Rado, both now 23, Foxygen doesn’t attempt to re-create its intricate arrangements onstage, opting instead for a more stripped-down, aggressive approach. This makes sense in that, as multi-instrumentalist Rado said in a phone conversation from Bloomington, Ind., replicating the studio versions would be “kind of impossible, at least for us, because we’re kind of lazy and unfocused and don’t want to sit and sample in all the noises or figure out how to play a string part on a different instrument or something. We kind of decided to do it like a band in the ’70s would, or a punk band, before samplers.”
But the real surprise is the can’t-take-your-eyes-off-him quality of singer France, whose sweet voice belies his maniacal onstage presence. His eyes wide and wild, his hands constantly running through his Syd Barrett-like tangle of dark hair, France puts across an unhinged state that teeters between entertaining and discomforting.
They explained the cancellation of the European tour earlier this year:
Rado said the European tour actually had been canceled before SXSW; the band had never wanted to do it, its scheduling was due to a miscommunication, and the announcement’s timing was unfortunate because “it made it seem like we just freaked out at South By Southwest and canceled everything.”
Sam talked about his stage presence and the need he feels to always entertain:
“We’re not extremely talented, so I end up doing whatever the hell I can do up there to keep people’s attention, which sometimes is really anything I can do,” he said. “If the song sounds terrible, then I’m like, I’m going to climb up this side of the stage here or do something weird. I don’t know if it’s really a good technique, but it’s been interesting so far.”
His role model onstage is someone whose offstage fate he’d certainly prefer to avoid.
“I was just always into the Doors, so when I was young, I’d pretend I was Jim Morrison or something like that,” France said. “It sounds really goofy, but it’s been coming out recently, like just this ridiculous vibe or something. The other day I was onstage, and I was doing this Indian shaman dance. I was like, ‘This is, like, Jim Morrison (stuff), like this is ridiculous.’ But it was funny.”