An Interview With the LA-Based But NY Born Alt-Rck Trio, FOXTRAX!
Posted On 20 Nov 2017
The NY Born, LA based Alternative rock trio, FOXTRAX recently released their brand new single “Everything’s Changing.” CLICK HERE to listen exclusively online at PopMatters. This profound track, also got a radio premiere on Mark Goodman and Alan Light’s Debatable show on Sirius XM’s VOLUME channel.
The band’s lead singer, Ben Schneid says, “’Everything’s Changing’ is the last piece of a trilogy of songs regarding the emotional journey that we have been on since moving to LA. This song is about realizing that good things are starting to happen and so it is important to appreciate every moment! In a way this song reflects the importance of cherishing all of life’s moments and not rushing through them!”
Fresh off a nationwide tour with Barns Courtney, FOXTRAX announced their sophomore EP, Nothing Lasts Forever and released two singles off the EP, indie earworm hook “Grey Morning” and heart pounding song with cinematic vocals, “Nothing Last Forever,” which have attracted glowing reviews from critics. “Grey Morning” earned the band a top 10 alternative specialist radio chart position, getting tons of airplay from stations like KROQ, WWDC,WBOS, KCSN, KZBT, KTBZ, KFMA and so many others.
The EP, slated for early 2018 release, is produced by British production duo Alexander Wolfe + Ben Roulston (Wolf Alice, Florence and the Machine) plus Jim Kaufman (Atlas Genius, Night Riots) and will be mastered by Brian Lucey (Royal Blood, Cage The Elephant, Liam Gallagher).
In support of the new EP, the band hit the west coast on their Nothing Lasts Forever Tour presented by Bandsintown. Joining them on tour was The Brevet and a special guest local artist hand picked by FOXTRAX each night of the tour.
FOXTRAX is made up of Ben Schneid (Vocals, Guitar, Keys) Jared Stenz (Bass) and Jon Stenz (Drums). It all started in 2016 when the indie rockers, released their debut EP, The Cabin. The trio appeared #1 on Apple’s iTunes Alternative Spotlight Chart, received pioneering support from Sirius XM’s Alt Nation and The Spectrum and featured on major Spotify playlists. As a DIY band this kind of placement is exceptional and now with the new EP on it’s way you can be sure that FOXTRAX will be the next band you discover.
Foxtrax recently came by the All Access office in Malibu and played a few songs for us. Check it out below!
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Learn more about Foxtrax in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time! Where does this interview find the band today? Is there music playing in the background? What is it? What is one song that you are all loving right now? What is a song that you disagree about loving right now?
First off, I absolutely love this question. Sitting in LA getting ready for our tour coming up next week! Currently I am listening to Ultralight Beam by Kanye West. I love me some Kanye! I think our band is digging the song “Bottom of the deep blue sea” by Missio. That tune is so melodic and moody. We all really dig that one! Jon is really loving the new Killer’s stuff, but Jared and I are not vibing on it at all. We much prefer the glory years of the killers catalog!
How does 2017 compare to last year? How differently did you all approach this year then you did 2016? What all are you most excited about for 2018?
I feel like our band jumped to being a complete an utter unknown act to a somewhat known band in this past year. That is really exciting for us! We have learned that this road is quite a long one so it’s important to celebrate the little victories! I think we are all doubling down our efforts in the coming year. We see how we can be a better live band and how we can really take it to the next as a unit! We are most excited about expanding our live show and making a real experience! That has us pretty hyped right now!
Can you recall the moment that you realized that you could really make music together? Was it difficult to come up with a band name you could all agree on? What other names were you considering?
Well, FOXTRAX has very humble beginnings. We started playing in the basement of Jon and Jared’s grandparents house. It had Shag carpeting and all and was like a shrine to the 70’s. The first day we jammed we wrote the song “On The Run” off of our first EP and I remember we all couldn’t believe it. I think after that day we thought, “well if this is the first day, imagine what we could do in a year.” The band name was much harder though. It wasn’t until we spent a month holed up in a cabin in North Carolina that we settled on FOXTRAX. We were a spree of horrible names before that. I think we had tossed around names like Delta Sun, Mountain view, Midnight Marquee and a few others. We tried all those names on for a day or two and quickly realized it wasn’t us.
I always like to ask artists how their hometown has been an influence on the kind of music they make and really what kind of a band they are today. So how do you think your hometown of Long Island has affected you and the music that you create? How do you think your sound has changed since moving to Los Angeles?
I think the scene on Long Island is super raw and so when we started we fit right in. We were really rough around the edges and just didn’t care as much about being sloppy. We all thought it was more about the energy than the exact notes. LA is a lot more polished for sure and I think our newer music definitely reflects that.
Let’s talk about your new EP “Nothing Lasts Forever” that you will be releasing at the end of this month. What was it like putting this collection together? Did anything surprise you about the overall process? Were there any unexpected challenges?
These songs were so easy to write that it makes you wonder why songwriting isn’t always that easy. I think that result is really out of the ordinary. These songs were different I think mainly because they were so honest. They sort of just poured out because our move to LA was such a culture shock it created so many strange emotions. Whenever I feel new emotions and usually the songs are not far behind.
How do you think this latest EP reflects the growth that this band has gone through since your debut EP, “The Cabin” was put out? What has remained the same?
I think our songwriting and arranging has become a lot more mature. Our first EP feels very naive. I also just think we weren’t very good back then! I think even as a lyricist I feel like I am so much more descriptive. I feel like I can do a better job of channeling my emotions into songs.
Can you describe how a few of the songs on the EP came together? Typically, what is your songwriting process like? Do you find that you are constantly being inspired by to day life?
I think our songs are very much the result of our experiences! A lot of our songs start on just acoustic guitar or piano. I tend to write best in an organic setting when there is no pressure to write a song. I think one doesn’t need to look very far to find ideas that are relatable. Everyone can identify with the normal problems in life. I think the key is just taking an angle or perspective and living inside of it. Sometimes I feel like writing a song is like looking through a pin hole. You have to fit these broad concepts into these tiny spaces and I think that is kind of the fun of it.
How was your summer tour with Barns Courtney? What were some of your favorite shows on that tour? What did you learn from that touring experience?
This tour was probably our favorite time as a band so far. It was just amazing to see America and meet so many people from different walks of life. I think that is a really unique thing to musicians. I think some of the cities you wouldn’t expect had the best shows like Indianapolis or Denver! I think being on tour with a bigger act taught us what it takes to be pros. Barns and his crew are so professional it is like clockwork. I move into every venue and are immediately tapped in. That was important to see I think.
Where are you excited to play at next on your west coast tour presented by Bandsintown? Are you able to write at all while you are on the road touring?
I think we are most excited to play the Roxy! It is such an iconic stage and we feel really blessed to have the opportunity to play there! I think writing on the road is very spur of the moment. It doesn’t happen often because we don’t travel around in a big enough bus to play while we are going, but sometimes they have a piano in the green room and songs just come out.
I am curious to know what you three think make for an ideal show? What have been some of your favorite performances in the past?
We all love what Coldplay does with their live shows. They really create such an experience with high and low emotions and energy. That is something we really try to integrate into our set. As an aside we saw Tom Odell live from the Belasco last year and he knocked our freaking socks off!
We are living in a crazy and at times rough world right now so I am curious how you think being in this band gives you the most joy in life today? Do you think that new music being created today is going to reflect this difficult time?
I think we are really entering a paradigm shift in music. I think for a while the world of music was very surface level and basic. I think the pubic is really craving genuine-ness and depth again. It is really exciting to be an artist in a time like this.
Who are some of your favorite artists? Who would you love to work with in the future? What would be a dream collaboration for this band?
We all love Coldplay, the Beatles, The Stones, Radiohead, u2 and a ton of other bands. I think as far as collaborating we’d want to go outside our genre. It would be awesome to work with Kanye or Dr Dre.
What do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope people continue to take away from your songs?
I hope that people feel inspired to achieve greatness. I think the music that has always inspired me has made me feel free! If we could do that for others, I would feel like we accomplished something real!
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about the band or your music?
Don’t force it, Feel it!