SBS Covid Relief
Interview with Phillip Foxley
SBS: Let’s make sure we’ve got everyone on the same page – who are ya? How long have you been doin’ this music thang and what’s the story behind it all? What separates you apart from the rest?
Phillip Foxley: Hey there Jer, well I’ve been doin’ this music thang for nigh on 30 years. Granted it’s been an on and off relationship (like others I’ve had, lol) but I always return to my trusty Fender Strat and knock out a few new tunes. I must say that I’m doing this more and more recently and getting such a buzz from it too.
The story behind it all? Ok, you asked … I was born in 1955 and I was about eighteen when I first started creating music. My first guitar was an old (even then) Gibson SG Junior, I used to play by ear some of the easier Black Sabbath riffs on it. The funny thing is that I always thought it was a ‘cheap’ beginner’s guitar because it only had one (P-90) pickup, so I eventually sold it for a song. I discovered years later that it was really rare and probably very expensive to buy now – especially left hand versions!
Over the years I’ve actually evolved into a multi-genre songwriter & musician, writing music ranging from soft acoustic and piano tracks through to rock, instrumental and punk tracks. It really does depend on how the mood takes me when I’m writing. This writing style has proven to be both good and bad thing. The good is that a wide ranging musical style is seen as being flexible and interesting to listeners or fans, the bad is that not being in one genre means it’s difficult to have an definitive image or identity to which listeners or fans can identify. All in all though, this is the way I am and I’m happy writing music this way. As previously mentioned, I write multi-genre music. My influences are many and varied as my taste has, shall we say, matured over the years. As a guitarist, my main influences are David Gilmour, Mark Knopfler and Gary Moore. For influential band tracks, The Clash, Buzzcocks, The Killers … the list goes on. The thing is that there are so many fantastic, influential guitarists both signed and unsigned out there – quite daunting really.
Generally, the way I write is that each new track starts with some guitar ‘noodling.’ This often leads to a random chord sequence or rough melody that I like and I build it up from there. I usually have no idea where the tempo or arrangement comes from, it just ‘feels right’ at the time and, as I can’t sing, I then collaborate with other artists, generally for vocals and drums, to complete the track which is then mixed and produced usually from my home studio in Conwy, North Wales, UK.
SBS: How has this time in lockdown/quarantine affected you and the music you make? Positives? Negatives? It’s obviously a crazy time for everyone, but certainly musicians throughout the independent scene as well…what have you been doing to make sure the music is still flowing somehow at this time?
Phillip Foxley: Well, I agree with you Jer, these are truly crazy times which I think will have affected people in many different ways for ever for sure. On the positive side, even though I’m working full time from home, my mind is no longer bogged down with minor day to day issues and a kind of perspective pervades which is definitely helping me to be more creative and ideas abound for new music right now.
On the negative side however, I am constantly thinking about family and friends and people out there in general e.g. my daughters are both teachers and of course I’m concerned for their health and wellbeing. Some of my friends run cafes and other small businesses and it’s really troubling to witness their struggles to keep things going. Hopefully, the government’s easing of the mandatory lockdown here in the UK should see some new shoots of opportunity but we do have to be careful about any so called ‘second wave’ if we are too lax in protecting ourselves whilst demanding our ‘freedom’ and our ‘rights’ etc. One thing’s for sure though that nothing lasts forever, so fingers crossed for a positive outcome in the near future eh?
SBS: Is there a lesson to be learned in all this Covid-craziness? If so, what do you think it is?
Phillip Foxley: I think a salutary lesson to be learned is how much we have evolved to take things for granted. We all seem to believe that ‘it won’t happen to me’ and that somehow this issue can be sorted via technology e.g. a vaccine. This kind of mindset leads us believe we don’t have to make lifestyle changes because it will be sorted elsewhere, or we will often make token gestures to salve our conscience that we are contributing something positive. Hopefully, this Covid situation will help us to recalibrate our perspective.
SBS: What is the most key thing that people can do out there to support musicians during this time?
Phillip Foxley: I think that people could help here by actually buying the music from artists and bands that they like and tracks they may have or are already streaming for free. It doesn’t cost much but would certainly make such a difference. Also reposting FB posts and/or retweeting, commenting or simply following artists and bands on social media goes a long way as moral support to keep us going. It’s such a buzz when someone responds with a (mainly) positive message to a link.
SBS: There are some that say there’s ‘no going back to normal’ and others that still think that’s a possibility after all is said & done and we’re allowed outside again…what do you think? Let’s ballpark it…let’s say it’s…September 2020, that’s not too far away…what does the world look like at that point?
Phillip Foxley: In the short term, I think that behavior will change for the better. By that I mean that we will adapt to the current situation e.g. social distancing, no handshakes or hugs outside our immediate circles etc. We may even eat better; enjoy the fresh air and exercise more – all great of course. However, my belief is that human nature will soon revert back to the insatiable demands that we have grown accustomed to and my fear is that this Covid crisis will soon be forgotten as work and family pressures return and we move on. Hopefully, this is just a view from an old cynic.
SBS: What do you miss most during this whole lockdown? What’s the first thing you plan on doing if/when things find their way back to normal, and why is that the most important thing to ya?
Phillip Foxley: Strangely enough, in my case the lockdown hasn’t really affected me too much. I work full time from home and I tend to be pretty insular anyway. The main thing is that other people will be more available so things will get done as we return to a more normal existence.
SBS: Open floor! Anything else you want to say to the people out there?
Phillip Foxley: I just wanted to say that you first interviewed me way back in 2015 and your positive, professional comments keep me going for ages afterwards, so I thank you again for that. My debut album I’ll Try ‘Till I Die released at that time is still growing in that there are over twenty five tracks on it now and, because I don’t intend to release any more albums, I just keep adding tracks to it as they are released.
This album is my musical life story.
Thank you for listening to my story Jer and long may you reign.
Make sure to find out more about Phillip Foxley at the official pages below!
Official Website: http://www.ptfoxley.co.uk
We’ve extended the deadline & we’ll be accepting submissions to the SBS Covid Relief interviews in written, audio, and video forms until the end of May – find out more about how you can get involved right here.
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