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FOX: „You can make your dreams come true in different ways!“
A new star in Swiss hard rock heaven celebrates the CD release party in Solothurn Kofmehl on that evening. The backstage area buzzes with activity since no one wants to be miss the Swiss band Fox presenting their debut album "2012" for the first time to an audience. It is a bit difficult to find a quiet place for an interview and to stay calm, when some people are overly interested to listen, some even take pictures of the interview - and you never know where they might be emerging. Despite of all preparation stress, singer Mark Fox takes his time to talk with us about the Mayan calendar, co-producer Chris Von Rohr and his break-up with Shakra.
Hey Mark, your first solo record is out, how does it feel?
Good,good, really good! I am curious and nervous.
Have you already got some responses? And if yes, how was it?
Yes, well the response was very positive from people which heard the CD so far. I´m really looking forward to it, and it´s not that I think:“Oh, now everyone says that it is not that cool!“
Were you a bit afraid of it, or how?
Well, that’s always the case. Especially because I distance myself from what I’ve done before. It is not completely the same, and if you do something different you always worry in the back of your mind, if people will accept it or if they say:“Oh, what’s that?!“
But then your worries were unjustified, as people like it.
Yes, so far. (laughs)
Tonight you have your first gig to present the record, a baptism of fire so to say, how is that for you? Do you feel excited?
Yes, yes - now I am really nervous. (laughs)
You don’t need to be, the soundcheck sounded very nice!
„ 2012“ is the title of your first album, why did you choose this name for the record?
We had different titles to choose from, you know, good ideas and so on, but somehow nothing fitted and we also didn’t find a picture to it. And at some point this Mayan thing came to my mind, this calendar which ends in this year. And somehow it is like this also in our band, we are all people who already played in other bands and don’t play there anymore and now start something new with me. And because of that it’s kind of cool, because the Mayan calendar ends, a new cycle begins - and that fitted perfectly.
So that means you rock one last time together before the end of the world, which some people claim?
Well, I hope that it is not the end. (laughs)
On the record there is also a cover song, Midnight Oil „Beds are Burning“ - why did you choose to cover this one?
Well, it wasn’t the case that we needed a cover on the album, it was not on purpose and we also wrote enough songs, but we just jammed that song once, just because we felt like it. We do that occasionally, just play something, you know, to cheer up the rehearsals. And then we played the song once and we had the impression that it really rocks and that it is predestinated to be on a record, so it had to be there!
What is the songwriting like? Are you responsible for it or was it teamwork?
No, we are actually all songwriters in the band. That’s kind of nice, because someone brings along something and then we work together until the song is finished. It also happens in some songs that one brings along a nearly finished song structure, but then we look at it together and think“ There could be a piece added etc.“ It is really teamwork!
The lyrics, too, or only the music?
Well, the lyrics I do alone of course, because I prefer to sing lyrics which I wrote myself. Except on covers, that´s something different, I can get into the feeling of them. But if someone writes lyrics for me, it is maybe not really what I want to express.
Then you can’t combine feelings with it.
Yes exactly, you can’t really feel it.
It is the first time that a record completely rests on your own shoulders. How was it for you, is it more difficult or is it easier to follow your own ideas, or when you have to do what someone else says?
In a way it is relieving, because you can let off steam somehow. You can really say:“I wanna have something like this on it!“ and so on. You can say:“I have the feeling it needs to be like this!“ On the other hand, it is always handy if you have someone telling you: „You have to do this and that, that will be great!“ That’s the other thing. But it is also the easier way. I am actually pretty satisfied and in our case it´s all teamwork. It is not that I decide „These songs will be on the record“, we all sit together and decide „This one we take!“ and then you start to discuss it, but there haven`t been many discussions, we agreed quickly on the songs, except for one or two.
So FOX should be seen as a band and not as your solo project? Because the band carries your name?
That’s how it is, yeah! You know, the reason for the band name is actually simple - the name simply sounds good, it goes straight in and you still have some kind of connection to what I’ve done before. You still know what it is about. It is not a band that starts anew, well of course it is, but not with people who start anew. And it was a hard piece of work to get the name some kind of popularity.
All of you are mainly famous in Switzerland and I know that you first of all wanna focus on Switzerland, but do you also have the wish to go international later on?
Yes sure! There was also good response from abroad, I mean you can also get the record abroad, but only as a download. And there were a few companies which asked me personally „Hey can we offer it as mailorder“ or what ever! And they would buy a bigger quantity. So there is also an interest there, so they will also sell CD’s in Germany. But when it´s going happen I don´t know.
Of which song on the record are you especially proud of?
Hah, of every song! This is still hard to say. Now when you have worked on something for such a long time, every song is something really special. And a favorite didn’t emerge so far. I think that changes from day to day. But I think in two, three months, you know, with a little distance it will come, at the moment I think they are all great!
What about the live-performance? Which Song works best live?
You mean the one which is most fun?
Well, „Problem Child“ is the one I´m always looking forward to. Well, it is the first song but it is a cool song where you can really let off steam.
„2012“ was made in co-operation with Chris von Rohr (Krokus). As everybody knows, he is not easily sweet-talked into to musical issues, so what have you done to convince him about you?
(laughs) Well, we´ve known each other already for a long time and he always enjoyed my voice. Otherwise I woudn’t have done the backings for Korkus. And because of that it worked out quickly with the co-operation. You help each other and it is also a personal thing, if you really like someone then you can support him. Of course he also saw something in the quality, otherwise he wouldn’t do it. But sweet-talk - I wouldn’d say that!
And how was working with Chris? Did he also ask for „more dirt“ (his famous quote from the time he was Musicstar Juror) in your voice?
No, No, or not Chris? I don’t need more dirt right? (shouting to Chris who is at the buffet in the anteroom) Chris: You have it, that’s no problem. Otherwise we would have had a problem with each other. (laughs)
Was he hard to handle or was everything easy with him?
Well, in some cases you really have to say: “You can’t do that now!“ (laughs) You have to understand that and I think that is totally ok. You know, if you can take it like this, it is also an honest and straight-forward criticism and that is also positive and not really negative. He doesn´t want to attack someone, the point is that he wants to support you in that moment.
But did he show you your personal limits or has he been nice to you?
Well ok, there are always some little disputes like „But I don’t think so…“ „But you have to do…“(laughs) In the end you really need a big mouth to top that. (laughs)
He only means well!
That’s how it is!
You haven´t exactly chosen unknown people as your band mates, how did you hook up with Tony, Franky and Reto?
It is a cool combination. It just happened. I met Franky when we played in Biel on Shakras „Rising“-tour, and he was in the audience, and the next day he came to a bar where I was drinking a beer, and he came to me „You are the singer of Shakra, right?“. We started chatting and since then he is a great buddy of mine. And we played guitar together and jammed every now and then. And as I left Shakra, I started writing songs with him. As I mentioned that I´m going to leave the band soon, we didn’t plan to do our own stuff yet, that just developed like this after I left, and then somehow we decided to form a band. Then we needed people and a rehearsal place.
The choice for the bassist was made quickly. I already knew Tony, because we where touring with Krokus and there we already liked each other and planned to do something together when the time is right, because you can’t do everything at once. And the time was right. And Reto - I didn’t knew him before, only by hearsay, because he also is from Biel. Everybody talked about Reto Hirschi and I thought this must be a cool guy and accidentally he also played in one of Franky´s bands. At some point we ended up at rehearsals. This was a really long rehearsal where we jammed and so on, and after that it just was a band. No one wasted a thought about it anymore, we just had to do it!
You left Shakra in 2009, what was the reason for it and how do you feel today with your decision?
Well, basically I am doing well with this decision, because it’s like a relationship to a woman. If you have a nice relationship and then there comes the point when only the bad aspects are seen and the positive things are forgotten, then it´s time to go separate ways, because it is better for both. Do you know what I mean? It’s not one-sided, it’s better for both sides.
Yeah, that’s true.
I just feel very comfortable here. My leaving back then just relieved me. You know, it took such a pressure off me which became more and more, it gave me a new perspective, that I can rev up! Do you know what I mean? It is like an incentive for what comes afterwards.
Yes, I understand! Did you ever have a moment in which you regretted your decision?
No, because I felt better. I never saw it with a thought like: „ I could have reached this and that…“ I don’t have the feeling that you can only do it in one way. You can make your dreams come true in different ways, you just need to pursue them!
You have been just last week in the local newspaper. The story was also about your girlfriend Sabrina which is doing professional Pole dance. What about you, will we ever see a rocker doing Pole Dance?
Only privately!(laughs) Once as I was fooling around at the launch party of her studio (www.pole-o-drom.ch ), I jumped on the pole, pretending - and the next day I had an injured leg (shows how swollen it was with his hands). Everything was swollen, somehow I fell. (laughs) That’s why I think I am not the type for it. (laughs)
Well, she can also teach you.
Yeah, she could probably do that!
„2012“ is the new album, what else can we expect from FOX this year?
In the background there are a lot of things happening. I can’t tell anything about it yet, but you can read everything on our homepage (www.fox-music.ch) It has the latest information and the new dates will be updated all the time.
What would you like to be asked in an interview you have never been asked before?
Something that I wanna be asked? Do you know how many interviews I have given in my life?
A lot, I know!
(Silence because Mark thinks about it..) There is… I think they asked me everything. They always ask first what they are not allowed to ask. Then I say I don’t care, they can ask everything, because I give an answer to everything - it just depends what kind of answer. That’s why this question is really difficult! But this question I’ve actually never been asked before.
So that´s it then, right! (laughs)
Ok then, Thanks a lot for the interview!
Note: FOX entered the Swiss charts on nr 2 with the „2012“ album - congratulations!