Raw, original and soaked in grunge. Intrigued? You should be. Introducing Phoxjaw, a grunge rock band with a modern twist hailing from Bristol. Late last year Phoxjaw released ‘Lottery’, bursting with energy and raw, alternative vocals. The highlight: that fractured riff two thirds in. I caught up with guitarist Josh Gallop and we spoke cool dinosaurs, taking work into your own hands and sleep paralysis.
Where did the band name come from?
We get this one a lot. Being from suburban Bristol we thought we’d represent that with the Fox thing, then Jaw just made it sound cooler. Then we thought we’d change the ‘F’ in Fox to a ‘Ph’, because it looked better written down. Also, we are the only result when you google us, which is cool.
Who are your main musical influences?
So, as a band we have a super wide range of influences, but I’d probably say bands like Deftones, QOTSA, Biffy Clyro and At The Drive In have a big influence on us collectively.
I hear a huge amount of grunge in your material. Who are your favourite grunge artists?
Yeah, there definitely is especially with the Victorian Dolls/Spin Club release. Obviously, bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam & the Pixies we all listened to a lot, but more recently we’ve been checking out bands like The Wytches and a few others. If Danny, our singer was here he would run you off a whole long list.
Danny (Vocals & Bass) and Glenn (Guitarist) are pretty big into their grungy stuff, and they bring that vibe to the band. Whereas, myself (Josh) and Kieran (Drummer) come from the heavier side of things.
Where did the inspiration come from for your music video for ‘Lottery’?
It’s a high-energy track and we really wanted to represent that visually. So, we enlisted help from our good friend & videographer James Harris, and hired out a wrestling ring and cage and went to town. Lyrically the video doesn’t tie into it much, it was more about having visuals that work with the sonics of the song, and I think we did achieve that. We are filming the next music video this Sunday which is going to fit with the lyrics and have a bit more of a storyline happening.
I agree with you on that! Is the next video going to be as high-energy?
In certain places yes, there will be a performance aspect to the video, but I’d use the word dynamic to sum up what we are trying to do with the video on the next one. The track is a strange blend of 60’s inspired verses, but completely opposing that with this crushing riff, and a big sing-a-long chorus. It’s kind of a Frankenstein of all our tracks released so far.
What are the main themes of your track ‘Victorian Dolls’?
Victorian Dolls is about sleep paralysis that our singer Danny suffered with for quite a while. It’s about not knowing the difference between being asleep and being awake and how it felt. Again, twisting you through the various avenues and metaphors in Danny’s mind.
Talk to me about the track ‘Spin Club’, because it is so diverse and unique in its sound. How was that one put together?
Spin Club was quite an indulgent track for us. Having a straight up song like Victorian Dolls gave the chance to experiment a little on the B side. We’ve had interesting feedback from that track, so some people seem to be really into it, and some people totally aren’t. It’s a bit like Marmite that track. I’m not even sure what I think of it at this point. But, I’m pleased we did it nonetheless as it gave us a chance to push ourselves, but our next single ‘Triceratops’ isn’t really like Spin Club. I think it has more energy and is a bit more instant.
Wow, ‘Triceratops’, that’s some sort of cool dinosaur!
It is a cool Dinosaur, probably more of a metaphor than literally being about Dinosaurs.
Looking at your artwork on Spotify, it is quite striking. Why have you chosen a church?
Yeah, so that came from a local church which we’ve always found interesting as it’s obviously like a place of worship, but it has a trashy neon sign, so it just seemed contradictive.
Oh! That is on the church? I thought that was edited on!
Yeah, it’s literally just a photo our drummer took that we edited. We like to work very DIY, if we have an idea, we just go and do it ourselves. Seems to be working so far.
We like to keep a close group working on the band, so we can trust everyone who’s involved. Jade is our manager, James Harris does video stuff, Kieran our drummer is a photographer, I record and produce the tracks at my studio, and Glenn our other guitarist fixes all our broken gear.
How does the material for Phoxjaw get written?
It usually starts with me and Danny, and one of us will bring a riff, some chords, or a vocal idea and we’ll work on it together. Then we make it into a rough demo and show the rest of the guys. We’ll then jam it out in the rehearsal room and see if any ideas come of it. Then we usually leave a few little bits, so we can add to it when we record to finish it off. But, there have been a few occasions where we just jam in the studio and we get a full song within a few hours. It’s a constantly evolving process, but we don’t limit ourselves to working in one way, it’s about the final product, not how you get there.
What is the highlight of your musical career so far?
I’d say seeing our music video go out on Scuzz every day for a month was wicked and being played on Kerrang Radio was another. We’ve also put on 3 or 4 headline shows in Bristol that have all sold out.
What are you looking forward to in the future of Phoxjaw?
We are looking forward to releasing our debut EP in March, currently booking a tour off the back of that release and then we will be hitting a few festivals over the summer. Just general movements towards world domination! Going to get there slowly but surely.