Saturday, March 7, 2009

15 Questions with The Voxys

Last month, I had the pleasure of seeing The Voxys perform. They put on a fun, energy filled set that won me over. So, with one show under my belt and repeated plays of their EP Bang Out of Order, I decided, as a new admirer of their music, I should find out more about these guys. I sent off a batch of questions to the band, Julian Colin Sylvester (guitar/vocals), Trevor Murphy (guitar/vocals), William McCormack (bass) and Chad Flewwelling (drums) in a bid to satisfy my curiosity. Nice fellas that they are, they agreed to indulge me.

Quirky NY Chick (QNYC): Some of you are from Ireland, am I correct? Who’s from where?

Trevor Murphy (TM): Yep, I'm from Dublin.

Julian Colin Sylvester (JCS): I grew up in a sheep farm in Patagonia. From there to a caravan.

William McCormack (WM): Kildare, Ireland. I have more in common with Julian (sheep) than I do with Trevor.

Chad Flewwelling (CF): I am from Flint Michigan, a long, long way from Ireland.

(QNYC): Tell me a little about the band. How did you come together?

(TM): We first got together in early 2008 when Julian and I bumped into each other in the bar at a really dull gig (the band will remain nameless). We mutually agreed it was time to start a band playing the music we wanted to hear. Shortly after that we made contact with bass player, and fellow Irish man, William. We got stuck into writing songs. Fast forward 6 months, along came drummer Chad. We all hit it off instantly and within a few days of meeting Chad we booked a recording studio and started recording.

(WM): The day I walked in to meet The Voxys, before I had played a note, I heard the guitars completely out of tune. I thought to myself, "These c**ts are way outta tune... great!" I knew straight away this was the band for me.

(QNYC): Who came up with the name The Voxys and is there a story behind it?

(CF): Ask the Irish guys.

(TM): We 'borrowed' the name from a redundant English Hooligan firm, which is basically a gang of lads devoted to soccer and violence. Let’s hope they don't want it back.

(WM): We're not hooligans or violent but we love soccer try and apply this love to our music. We always try and be match fit for a game.

(QNYC): I recently saw the band perform for the first time and was blown away. How would you describe your live show for those who haven’t had the pleasure?

(TM): A psychedelic journey of a twinkly-eyed Irish man with a skin full of Poitín (Irish moonshine) meandering down The Kings road in the 1960's.

(JCS): It's like a hooligan firm visiting your town. You will know we were there.

(CF): A carnival ride of emotion and energy that immediately draws you to it. One song and you're staying for the next 10.

(WM): Rock. And Roll.

(QNYC): What is your favorite song to perform and why?

(TM): Each and every one is special, like a child, we love them all equally but for different reasons. You can't have a favorite one or else the others will get very jealous.

(JCS): Depends on the day and circumstances, our songs reflect our ever changing moods.

(WM): They are all good man....

(QNYC): Is there a big difference in the music scene in Ireland vs. New York?

(TM): The Dublin is very similar to the New York scene in lots of ways. Dublin people are very musically literate; everyone either plays in a band or is constantly out at gigs. You could mention any band to the average Dublin kid and they'd have an opinion on them. Like New York, there's a great live scene in Dublin, bands like The Mighty Stef, The Hot Sprockets and The Hassel Merchants, Humanzi, The Things are all constantly gigging keeping the scene alive and well with new music.

(JCS): People in Ireland seem to have more of a football (soccer) approach to a band if they like you, on the other hand if they don't you have to be prepared for tears. NY of course has a bigger volume of bands and music, which is great because inevitably you will run into a lot of talent and amazing acts, but not as many as one might expect, especially in the rock scene where most bands at the moment are quite bland.

(WM): Dublin and New York are similar as Trev described but very different in a lot of ways as well. A lot of great rock bands have come out of NYC and there are a few at the moment that are great but a lot of people who play suffer from delusions of grandeur here. Many bands are into becoming great musicians but the tunes get left behind.

(QNYC): You recently released a brilliant EP; is there full-length record in the works? When might we see a release?

(TM): We're currently writing a rake of tunes… and we're gonna start recording next month.

(WM): Soon… real soon.

(QNYC): Vocal duties are shared; how do you decide who sings what?

(CF): One of the lads starts singing and we go with it.

(JCS): It's a bit random actually, like Oliver Twist and The Artful Dodger.

(TM): …Chaz and Dave more like.

(QNYC): Are the songwriting duties shared as well? Do the ideas come easy?

(TM): Either Julian, or myself write some lyrics over a few chords and then we all stand around and give 'em a good kicking till it sounds good.

(JCS): We have our own language a bit like a Voxy rhyming slang, so one of the best things of playing in The Voxys is that generally one's vision can be very easily explained to each band member and from there it starts.

(QNYC): What inspires you to write, and what comes first, the lyrics or the music?

(CF): Music definitely, we just star jamming something out and then with a little polishing and hard work out comes a finished product.

(JCS): Crowd behavior, working class anthems, growing up in dodgy towns, police brutality and of course love. It's a bit random as well, but in general I'd say lyrics come later.

(WM): It's the reason we play. Usually music

(QNYC): Who are some of your musical influences?

(TM): The Kinks, The Stone Roses, The Specials, The Small Faces, The Dubliners.

(WM): Reggae, high energy rock and roll, party music. Did I mention reggae?

(CF): Led Zeppelin, Johnny Cash, Buddy Rich and everything in between.

(QNYC): If you could do a song with any present day artist, who would it be? What legend would you like to work with; living or dead?

(CF): Dead, Johnny Cash.

(JCS): Probably Mike Skinner or Pete Doherty or Paul Weller.

(WM): Ian Brown, Johnny Marr.

(TM): Yeah, Browner Marsy (editor’s note: Ian Brown & Johnny Marr)... George Martin

(QNYC): Assuming music is your dream job, if it weren't, what would your dream job be?

(CF): Something making children's lives better, a teacher or something a long those lines; something to make the future better.

(JCS): Football hooligan top boy... or, Bishop.

(WM): Footballer.

(QNYC): What’s been playing on your music player of choice recently?

(JCS): Northern Soul and a lot of 80's new wave.

(WM): Dance hall reggae, Babyshambles.

(CF): MC5, The Mighty Stef, Ludacris, Minus the Bear.

(QNYC): Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. In parting, is there anything you'd like to say to your fans?

(CF): Thanks for everything, we would be no where without you guys, we hope you like what we do and hope that you will tell some friends about the cause.

(JCS): See youse on The Mercury, start a riot!!!

(WM): Cheers.

(TM): Scoops? Yeah? (QNYC): Sounds good to me!

I would like to thank The Voxys once again for taking the time to answer my questions.

If you're going to be in the New York area next Thursday, March 12, head on over to Mercury Lounge and catch them live as part of the 2009 Craic Fest. See you there!
All Photos: © L. R. Adams