Former Orko frontman Liam Vincent has returned to making music with the assistance on The Odd Foxes. The Kettering man spilt all the beans to New Boots.
New Boots: Hi Liam. Who is in Liam Vincent and The Odd Foxes, and where are you all based?
Liam Vincent: The band is myself [lead vocals, acoustic guitar], Rebecca Mileham [violin, piano, vocals], David Walls [mandolin, acoustic guitar, vocals], Jack Nejzer [electric guitar, vocals], Matt Berry [bass, vocals], and Paul Disley [drums]. I live in Kettering now, and most of us are from Northants, but a few of the guys are just over the border in Bedfordshire and Oxfordshire.
How did you guys get together?
In 2019 I started to get a few song ideas together, after a long time not writing, and wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do with them. Initially it felt very much like a solo project, and I just roped in mates to help me record the instruments I couldn’t play. As time went on though I missed that camaraderie that you get with a band. So early last year The Odd Foxes was formed – just in time for lockdown!
How would you describe your sound? Who are your main influences?The music falls somewhere in the middle of folk, indie, and rock. Musically my influences for this band are bands like Levellers, The Waterboys, The Saw Doctors, Nick Parker, Frank Turner, Counting Crows and also some of the more traditional side of Irish music that I would hear growing up. Other, less obvious influences, are bands like The Lovely Eggs and The Cribs – for their DIY attitude more than sound [although I love both bands]. The Lovely Eggs really inspired me to get back into writing again.
What was the reaction like to the earlier releases, like the ‘Music Is For The Week’ mini-album from last year?
So far the reaction has been really positive. The first two singles I put out – ‘Vanity Project’ and ‘Hate My Plate’ – seemed to go down really well with people. The ‘Hate My Plate’ video was filmed a couple of weeks before lockdown last year, and then things ground to a halt because we were rehearsing and getting ready to start playing our first gigs. So it was just frustrating that we couldn’t build on that, and go out and play gigs to rooms full of people dressed as fruit, veg and bacon.
With not being able to do much else I set myself the challenge of writing, recording and making a video for seven songs in seven days. I wasn’t allowed to use any old ideas: I just had to get up that morning and see what happened. The result of that experiment was the Music Is For The Week mini album. Some of it feels a little half-baked, but I also feel like it was really good for me to put myself under that pressure – and I got a few gems out of it. Besides, people knew what the deal was, so nobody was expecting fully polished, finished pieces. Everyone was really supportive. It was tough going, especially as it was hot and sunny out and I was cooped up indoors for 13 hours a day. But it was totally worthwhile.
Tell us everything about this new EP, ‘Pierson V Post’.
Well, starting a band in 2020 was definitely tough. Gigs were cancelled and studios closed. I carried on writing and, with The Odd Foxes, worked on the art of recording remotely and capturing the feel of being in the room, even though nobody was. Being authentic and raw is a big thing for me, I didn’t want to go down the route of using midi drums, etc. I hate all that stuff. It’s just not me. So the decision was made to create an acoustic EP this time around, and I’m really proud of how it’s all come together. It was stressful at times because we were having to work remotely, and it can be hard to get your ideas and thoughts across in those situations sometimes. Hearing the songs come to life in a different context was great. Working out how to present songs that are normally played by quite a loud six-piece band in a more intimate way with just four of us was interesting. I think we achieved it by making sure there was a lot of space and room for the melodies to breathe. The early reviews and comments have been really positive so far. So all of that stress was worth it!
What are your live shows like?
The great thing about this band and something I was really interested in at the start is that we can go out in different formations to suit whatever is needed in a particular setting. From a more intimate three- or four-piece acoustic set to a full on 6-piece band. The songs work in every context. Personally, I’m looking forward to getting the full band out there though and rattling some ribcages. Usually when I write, I try to imagine what a song would feel like when played on a stage like the Roadmender.
Are you part of a wider scene locally, playing with like-minded bands? Any favourite bands/venues to play with?
We are so new and everything has been on hold, but hopefully when things get better we can get out and start meeting people. I heard a band called Pieces, I thought they sounded ace, I’d like to check them out live at some point. I used to be in a band in the early 2000s called Orko and there was a really healthy scene back then with bands like Mendoza, T.A.N.A.O.U., Kapowski, Creech/Nukeateen, Fuzo, High Drivers, Autonomy, Screenstar, Pilfa and so many others whose names escape me at the moment. Although we felt a little on the outside of it all – too indie for the metal kids, too heavy for the indie kids – it felt like a great time to be in a band. Loads of places to play, and people just willing to help you out with stuff. I’m still gutted the Soundhaus is no more, I have so many fond memories of that place back in the day. From club nights, to discovering new bands, to making friends with other local bands – and we got to support Biffy Clyro there a couple of weeks before their debut album came out. I wonder what ever happened to those guys?!
Has lockdown given you new opportunities to be creative? Or is it just one big frustration?
A bit of both really. The seven songs in seven days thing, that was a really worthwhile exercise and even though it probably wasn’t brilliant for my mental health, I’ll definitely do it again. It certainly sharpens your skills. So from a creativity point of view it’s actually been great. I’ve put loads of time into learning new things, trying stuff out, and trying to become a better songwriter. The big frustration is not being able to rehearse properly and gig though.
What was the last album you bought/streamed?
The last two albums I bought were Peace by Levellers and Night Network by The Cribs. I went for a run the other night and streamed Inter Alia by At The Drive In; I forgot what a good album that is. I also listened to Rust In Peace by Megadeth, but the less said about that the better!
What is your burning desire for the band to do in the future? What plans do you have?
The main focus now, after promoting the new EP, is to get back in a room with the band and get a set together, so we can get out there and play some shows. God knows how you do that now; I spent the last 12 years playing in a function band, so this all feels new and scary to me now!
‘Pierson V. Post’ is out now via the usual digital platforms