Fox Jaw – once known by the moniker Fox Jaw Bounty Club – have been a fixture on the rockier end of the Limerick music scene for a decade.
They’ve learnt a lot. Through line-up changes and a slow evolution in the sound, bassist Kieran Sims – a newcomer to the band – tells us they’ve learnt to keep things simple.
“The last album had a bit of a ‘kitchen sink’ approach when it came to recording, where it sometimes became a challenge to represent the song accurately in a live setting,” Sims explains of the progression.
“We were mindful of that when approaching this record, and we tried not to overload each song with unnecessary layers that couldn’t be replicated live.
“I think it’s a near accurate representation of what it sounds like when all five of us get in a room and make some noise.”
The new record is called ‘Breathe In The Strange’, and while it’s not likely to bother the upper echelons of the charts, Fox Jaw are proud of the way it has developed into a shining, vibrant representation of them.
They see the key measure of success as being around sales at live shows, which offer an indication that people value the band highly enough to want the physical versions of the record at home.
“The key track for me would be the album’s closer, Shadowland,” Sims tells us. “It was a song Ronan had originally written and demoed a few years ago, but was never quite happy with.
“I’d always loved the song and knew that if we put our heads down we could get something together we’d all be proud of.
“We got a rough sketch together from one of our weekend writing sessions, and we built it from there.
“It took a lot of work and input from each of us, still making last-minute decisions while we were recording it, to get it to where it is, and I’m so proud of where it ended up.”
The DIY aspect of the way Fox Jaw produce their music is critical to the band’s ethos, as is the conceptual side of things, which has been branded as ‘weird’ in the past.
“I’ve never thought of anything we do as being overly weird, because when it’s created it’s never done for the sake of being off kilter,” Sims says.
“I think our tastes are so varied from member to member that you’re bound to get some things that shouldn’t work on paper but do in practice.”
A lot of that has come from extensive experience in both the live arena, and in learning what it is about making music that connects with the public as a whole.
“I think the main thing that younger musicians need to learn is that nobody is going to do it for you,” Sims tells us.
“It has been invaluable for all of us coming up in a DIY music scene.
“We learnt how to make flyers, how to get our own press, how to design an album cover, how to book gigs outside of a city …
“[These are] all things that are still done within Fox Jaw today, just on a slightly bigger scale.
“We have always kept everything in-house and I don’t think there’s a better way to do it, when you’re as invested and as proud of this band as we are.”