Interview with Sam France & Jonathan Rado from FOXYGEN

Austin City Limits Music Festival on 10/6 2013

Interview : Hiroko Nishiyama, Photo : ERINA UEMURA

  • No Destruction - Foxygen
  • Shuggie - Foxygen
  • San Francisco - Foxygen
  • Make It Known - Foxygen
*二人が無事にAustinに到着できて安心したよ。ショーも素晴らしかった。バンドの公式facebookによると、シアトルから出発できず、危うくACLに間に合わないところだったようだね。なぜシアトルから出られなくなったの?

Jonathan(以下J)実はフライトを2度も逃したんだ。僕の友達が車で迎えに来て、空港まで送ってくれるはずだったんだけど、彼がかなり遅刻して来たから飛行機の時間に間に合わなくなったんだ。

*初めてAustin City Limits Music Festivalでのショーはどうだった?

Sam(以下 S)楽しいフェスだけど、僕は足を骨折してるからダンスが出来なかったのが残念だったよ。

Jダンスは出来なかったけど、何かステージから放り投げてたよな。

Sああ、確かに何か投げた。

J足を骨折したアーティストがステージから物を投げるパフォーマンスはかなり斬新だよな。笑

*バンド名 Foxygenの由来は?

S僕らが小さい時、女友達がかっこいい男の子を見て即座にこの言葉をつぶやいたんだ。「He is really hot. He’s my “Foxygen”. (彼ってすごくかっこいい。彼は私の“Foxygen”よ。」ってね。”Oxygen(空気)”と”Foxy(かっこいい)”を足した造語だよ。

二人は幼馴染と聞いたけど、バンドを結成したのはいつ?

J2004年。僕らが14歳と15歳の頃だよ。


*We saw the post on your facebook last night. We can’t be happier that you guys made it to Austin. We had so much fun at your show. Why did you guys stuck in Seattle?

Jonathan (J)I missed my flight twice because my friends are stupid, basically. They’re irresponsible. They didn’t get me to the airport on time. I had to use their car and they showed up late to pick me up each time so…

Let me talk about Austin City Limits Music Festival today. How was playing at this festival for the first time? 

SAM (S)It was fun. The Festivals are really fun but it was a little hard for us just because I broke my leg and everything. I couldn’t really dance or anything. I wanna dance, you know. So it was kind of threw off the vibe the show that I can’t dance. 

JYou threw some stuff though. 

SI threw some stuff yeah.

JThat should be like a new thing, with a broken leg.

*How did you come with your band’s name, FOXYGEN.

SWhen we were really young, my friend just said it. She was talking about a guy who she thought he was attractive. She was like, ”He’s really hot. He’s my “foxygen” or whatever. I don’t know…like he’s foxy or something. 

*I heard you guys have known each other for a long time. When did you form the band?

SIn 2004. It was when we were 14 and 15.

*60、70年代のサイケデリック、グラムロックに強い影響を受けてるよね。例えばDavid Bowie、T-REX、Brian Enoとか。

Jまさにその通りだよ。僕らのアルバム「Take the Kids off Broadway」は特に70年代グラムロックに影響を受けた音になっているんだ。

Sそれ以外にも影響を受けた音楽は沢山あるけど、60~70年代ロックは僕らの音楽の大事な一面だよ。

*2011年に「Take the Kids off Broadway」をリリースした直後に「We are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace and Music」のアルバム製作をスタートさせたとそうだね。We are the 21st ~のジャケットのアートワークはとてもクールだと思うんだけど、誰がデザインしたの?

S当時、僕にはアルバムデザインのアイディアがあって、それを僕の父がスケッチで描いてくれた。それからThe Wall Street Journalで働くKevin Sprouseという男性が、そのスケッチを元に無料でアルバムカバーを作ってくれたんだ。とてもいい人だった。僕の父は、The Wall Street Journalの記者の顔をよくスケッチしていたから、彼らと仲が良くて、アルバムカバーの製作を任せるならKevinが適任だと思い付いたんだ。それから彼にメールで依頼したら、「自分も音楽の演奏が好きだし、バンドも気に入ったから喜んで!」と快く引き受けてくれたんだ。Kevinには才能とカリスマがあるんだ。

J内容は三角形と直線から成るすごくシンプルなデザインなのに、4~5カ月も試行錯誤を繰り返した末にやっと完成したんだ。ひどいバージョンもあるんだよ。今見せてあげるよ。きっとびっくりするよ!

*プロデューサーRichard Swiftについて聞かせて

J彼は素晴らしいアーティストだよ。NYで僕らのCDを彼にプレゼントしたのがきっかけで、彼のスタジオでレコーディングをすることに話が発展したんだ。実はそうなることを密かに期待してたんだけどね。彼とは1週間レコーディングしたんだけど、すごく貴重な時間だったよ。

*Richardと初めて出会ったのはいつ?

JNYのヴェニューMercury Loungeで、RichardがThe Mynabirds (Bright Eyesも在籍するSaddle Creekレコード所属のバンド。シンガーのLauraはPostal Serviceのツアーにも参加)というバンドのメンバーとしてプレーした時に知り合ったんだ。彼のお陰でレコード契約出来たんだよ。彼がレーベルに僕らの音楽を紹介してくれたおかげで、レーベルが興味を持ってくれたんだ。


*Has your music been a lot influenced by psychedelic and glam rock from 60’s and 70’s? Like, David Bowie, Brian Eno and T-REX?

JTotally. Especially our album,“Take the Kids off Broadway”is really into 70’s glam stuff.

SIn addition, a lot of other things as well. That was like a certain phase of us.

*Let me ask you about your album,“21st Century Ambassadors of Peace and Music”. I heard that you started working on this right after the release of ”Take the Kids off Broadway” in 2011. Who design the artwork of it?

SI kinda had the idea for it and my dad did a sketch of it. And the other guy named Kevin Sprouse who works for the Wall Street Journal did it. He did it for free. He was just like a cool guy. My dad just had a random idea. He does like the sketches of people who write the articles at the Wall Street Journal. For some reason, dad thought Kevin would be the good person to do it. He just e-mailed them and then Kevin was like, ”Sure! I like playing music too. I like the band”, and he just did it. He seems like just a badass.

JYeah it’s funny because it’s such a simple cover. It’s literally a triangle and an eye and a bunch of lines. And it was like 4 to 5 month process going through so many shitty versions of that. You would be amazed. I could show you some terrible versions of it. 

*How was the background of working with Richard Swift?

SHe’s amazing.

JWe gave him our CD in NY and he invited us to the record with him, which we already knew we were gonna do. We kinda hoped that would happen. We recorded for like a week. It was very magical time. He’s really an amazing person.

*When was the first time to meet him?

JIn NY at Mercury Lounge. He was playing there in a band called “The Mynabirds”. He was playing in that band for a tour and we just met him there. He was sort of the reason that we got a record deal. He gave it to the record label for us and sort of got them interested in it.

*Richardとアルバムを制作したプロセスについて

J最高の経験だったよ。僕らがどんなアルバムを作りたいか、はっきりとした考えを持って製作に臨み、まさに思い通りの作品が完成したと思う。Richardは、時間的な効率も考えながら、僕らのアイディアを見事に形にしてくれた。1週間の製作期間中、彼がしっかりサポートをしてくれたお陰でスムースに進行したよ。彼と仕事が出来て本当に良かったと思う。とても面白い人だし。実はアルバムのタイトルトラック以外の全ての曲は、Richardがドラムを演奏しているんだ。このアルバムでは、彼は3人目のメンバーみたいなもんだよ。

*最近日本ではNYやBrooklynがブームになっており、沢山の日本人がNYに憧れ、多くの雑誌が特集を組むほどなんだけど、Foxygenの曲、「No Distraction」の中に、「There’s no need to be an asshole, you’re not in Brooklyn anymoreという歌詞があるんだけど、もしかしてBrooklynが嫌い?ヒップスターが多いからとか?

Sそんなことないよ、Brooklynは好きだよ。笑 
確かに、Brooklynは何故かヒップスターで有名だよね。それを知っててこの歌詞を入れたんだ。曲を聴いている人に面白いと思ってもらいたいし、腹を立てられてもかまわないよ。

J面白い歌詞なだけなんだ。

S特にBrooklynに個人的な接点はなくて、ただ面白い歌詞にしたかったんだ。

*Austinはどう?気に入った?

J昨日End of an Earっていうレコードショップに行ったよ。名前の「Ear」は「Year」の発音をわざとかけてるんだ。すごくいいショップで気に入ったよ。前回SXSWで来た時はどこに行ってもすごい人だったし、沢山ショーを行って大変だったから街を楽しむ余裕が無かったんだけど、今回も街を見る時間が無さそうなんだ。ツアー中は、他の街でもいつも時間が足りない。1週間くらい時間があれば違うんだろうけど。またAustinに是非戻ってきたいな。

S僕はAustinが好きだよ。前回ここに来た時、ローカルのTelenovellasっていうバンドのNatalie Ribbonsて女の子と友達になったんだ。彼女はAgent Ribbonstoという別バンドのメンバーでもあるんだ。彼らの曲はすごくいいよ。

*どんな音楽?

JThe Zombiesの女の子バージョンみたいな感じかな。60年代風だよ。


*How was the process of working on the album with him?

JTruly an amazing experience. We came in with a very strong idea of what we wanted. And it really came out almost exactly like that. He really helped us take these ideas, did them in like the efficient way. It normally takes really long time to do things. Actually we had one complaint about the album that we really had a short time. But considering that it was like a week of working, he really helped the process, go along. It was really nice working with him. Also he’s hilarious. He played all the drums except for one title track. He’s like the third member of that album.

*NY has been one of the most popular destinations to a lot of Japanese people. Also, a lot of Japanese magazines feature NY for its culture and fashion. But in your song, “No Distraction”, there’s this line, “There’s no need to be an asshole, you’re not in Brooklyn anymore.” So why do you hate Brooklyn?  Because there’re too many hipsters?

SNo no. I don’t hate Brooklyn at all. I like Brooklyn. But for some reason I don’t know why Brooklyn has the reputation for being like a hipster place. I don’t know why. I just knew that was the thing or something. So I just thought, like it’d be fun to make people laugh or get people angry or something.

JIt’s just a funny line.

SI don’t really have a personal connection to it. I just thought it sounded funny.

*So how about Austin? How do you like about it?

JI went to a record store yesterday called “End of an Ear”. That was really a great record store. To be honest, we were only here for SXSW which was a mess. There were just too many people constantly and we were playing like a million shows. We go to places and play shows and we don’t always get to see the places. This (Zilker Park) is a nice little park though. I love this. 

SThis is like, all I know of Austin. I love it.

JWe haven’t spent too much time here not playing in concert. So in my opinion about the city, I love it. But I could hate it because I haven’t spent a week. I should spend a week here.

SI like Austin. Last time I came here, I made friends with somebody named Natalie Ribbons. Their band is called “Telenovellas”. And she’s in a band called “Agent Ribbons”. They’re from here. I really like the band.

*What kind of music is it?

SIt reminds me of like “the girl versions of the Zombies”…kinda 60’s.

*Foxygenの曲「Blue Mountain」の中で、聖書について触れている部分があるけど、君たちにとって聖書とは?

S僕の家はキリスト教の「Presbyterian」(長老派)で、子供の頃からよく教会に行く習慣があったから、聖書は自分の人生のテーマに深く関係してると常に感じているよ。上手く説明するのは難しいけど。

J僕はユダヤ系だから全くつながりはないよ。僕は「Torah」(ユダヤ教の経典)を読むよ。

*バンド活動の中で「disillusioning(間違った幻想から覚めるような)」場面はよく起こる?

J年中そういった瞬間だらけだよ。

S良い意味で?悪い意味で?

どっちも。

S良くも悪くも、そういう場面にはしょっちゅう直面するよ。

J僕らのバンドが嫌いな人の存在に気付いた時かな。僕らの曲は、今も昔も変わらずSamが僕らの部屋で書いているんだ。僕らの曲をただ嫌う人がいることには複雑な気持ちになるよ。「何が問題なんだろう?」って。「嫌う」ことがかっこいいと思われている風潮もあると思う。今まで僕らの周りにバンドを嫌う人がいなかったし、幼馴染とか僕らに友好的だったから、バンドを嫌う人の存在に気付くのは変な感じだよ。でも悪いことばかりじゃなかったよ。The Flaming Lipsのシンガー、Wayneが僕らの音楽を気に入ってくれていることかな。彼に会うといつも「元気?」って気さくに接してくれるんだ。彼は最高のアーティストだよ。

*日本をツアーしたことはある?

Jまだないよ。行ってみたいな。僕はアジアン料理が何よりも大好きなんだ。もし日本に行けたら嬉し過ぎて死ぬかも。ショーにも現れず、気分が悪くなるまで食べまくってデブになるかもね。とにかく来年には日本でツアーができるといいな!


*On your song, “Blue Mountain”. There’s a line that talks about Bible in the song. What does Bible mean to you?

SI was raised a Presbyterian. So I went to church all the time on Sunday. So I don’t know really like, how I feel about it really but it always just seems to be a theme of my life. 

JI’m Jewish so there’s no connection. So I was looking through Torah.

*Do you have any disillusioning moments as a band thus far?

JThe whole year, everything.

SPositve way or negative way?

*Both.

SThe whole year has been both. Like, “disillusion” is like a perfect word for it. The weirdest thing for me is just how like …was just kind of struggling with the realization at it, became something that wasn’t just me and Rado in our room. Just like we’re fucking around. It became just like this whole bigger thing. That was the weirdest thing.

JI think people like hating our band. That’s such a weird thing. I don’t know… to me, our band is still kind of being Sam making music in our room.

Anybody who hates that, to me, it’s like, Why do you hate that? What’s your problem? I don’t know…it just seems weird because it’s sort of like a thing now that people can hate. And that seems weird because when growing up nobody ever hated our band. They were like, “Foxygen! They’re great!” We know them personally, or we grew up with them so they can’t really hate. So that’s strange.

But there has been some really cool stuffs too, I mean, like, Wayne Coyne from the Flaming Lips is really into our band. We see him all the time and he’s always like, “Hey guys!” you know. We love the Flaming Lips. It’s just kinda cool. We love Wayne from the Flaming Lips. 

*So here’s the last question. Have you been to Japan?

JNo we’ve never been.

*Please come to Japan. So many fans are waiting for you.

JI’d love to! I’m such a fan of Asian food. I would die. I love it. It’s all I eat. I would freak out. I wouldn’t even play a show because I would just be like I wanna eat this and that. And I would just eat everything and get really sick and fat.

*Maybe next year?

JNext year yeah.

*Thank you so much!
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