Liverpool, Ricky Nelson and Tea – SSN Talks to Jethro Fox

Hey Jethro, first things first whats the story/when did you decide to start putting out solo songs?

Hi!  I’d been involved in lots of projects in Liverpool, principally as a guitarist.  One night when we were having a cup of tea at my house in Liverpool, I played some demos to my mate Tarek, a great friend who produces records.  At that point it was just a bedroom project that I’d been working on for fun, but he loved the demos and before I knew it, I ended up in the studio making my songs into the real thing.  We had a lot of fun twatting floor toms in his living room and playing keyboards through old 70’s tape echo units.  It was good fun and hopefully the songs reflect that.

Your sound has been likened to acts like Delta Spirit and even The Beach Boys but seems hard to pin down, what are your musical influences and how have you gone about carving your own niche? 
I’ve tried to integrate influences from right across the board, starting with all the key 60’s stuff like Beach Boys and the Stones.  Tarek recently put me onto this guy called Ricky Nelson who’s really stuck with me, who was doing some amazing stuff in the 50s.  The more modern influences are quite unashamedly Grizzly Bear, Arcade Fire, and also a new band called Milagres who I’m a big fan of.  I think the Villagers album is incredible too, the songwriting is just very unique.  With regards to carving out my own niche, I guess I’ve tried to create as big a melting pot as possible with the aim of cooking up something loud and hopefully euphoric.

Liverpool obviously has quite a rich musical heritage, how far do you feel the city’s shaped you and your attitude to songwriting, and do you think we’d have the same Jethro Fox if you were from, say, Hull?
No, I think the Jethro Fox from Hull would be very different! Liverpool has been pivotal in shaping the music I make.  There’s one obvious band but it’s actually more to do with the current music scene in Liverpool, which is really quite exciting.  When you’ve got bands around like Kankouran, Dan Croll, Loved Ones and Death At Sea, you can’t help but be inspired and excited to be a part of what is a burgeoning cultural wave.  There is a big group of bands and producers in Liverpool who all work together, which I’m thrilled to be a part of.  So there is a great deal of spirit here and that has been important in shaping what I do now.

Your first release Before was an absolute stormer, as are the other tracks floating around, what are the plans now in terms of music? Have you got a few more songs in the pipeline you plan on recording or are you still busy writing? 
Thanks very much! I’ve got some songs recorded and some others which are in the process of recording.  I’ve been writing a lot of stuff lately which I’m excited to put out in the future.  I’ve been listening to all sorts recently too, namely Simian Ghost, Real Estate and Paul Thomas Saunders, so the results are going to be fun!

Interview continues after the jump:

You haven’t had very many live shows as Jethro Fox yet.  What are the reasons and are you planning on getting out and about a bit more over summer? 
I’ve just recently finished a run of live shows, concluding with The Great Escape and Liverpool Sound City, which were fantastic fun! We are finalising another set of shows at the moment, which will likely be toward the end of Summer.

Britain’s just had its yearly week-long allowance of sunshine but just in case the clouds go away before December, what’s Jethro Fox’s top tip for a 2012 summer anthem?
Mikhael Paskalev – Come On And Jive Babe

We obviously love a bit of new music.  Any tips for the readers? 

Sure! For Liverpool bands, check out Loved Ones, Kankouran and Dan Croll.  From elsewhere in England, Fervours, Deaf Club and Spring Offensive are all great.  From Norway, you’ve got to check out Jonas Alaska, Mikhael Paskalev and Billie Van.  3 great musicians who all work together and all release brilliant music in their own right too.

Cheers for all your help, last of all what are your plans for the second half of 2012 and when can we expect to see you live in London?
No problem, thank you for having me! The second half of 2012 is going to see many more live performances and more new music.  I’m actually going to be in London in a couple of weeks, as I’m recording a live session at the BBC’s Maida Vale studios; the session will be broadcast on Steve Lamacq’s BBC6 show on Wednesday 20th June.  Cheers!

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