After releasing the song 'Blinding Light' in 2013 on Tough Love Records and recording a Maida Vale session for Steve Lamacq, singer and songwriter Jethro Fox moved away from his own music to become a touring guitarist for Dan Croll. But now back on his own wagon, he returns with his vibrant new single 'Time Alone'.
Channelling a rich and dynamic production throughout, 'Time Alone' sees the artist return with gusto and aplomb. Filled with a glittering direction, soaring synths, and a smooth and driven rhythm throughout, this long-awaited comeback was certainly worth the wait for us all.
So with the new single doing the rounds, we sat down with him to find out more about his origins and what has been inspiring him recently.
What was the first instrument you fell in love with?
I grew up learning piano from an early age but the first instrument I really loved was the guitar. Specifically my dad’s old Gibson acoustic which he used to let me take into school with me. One day I was walking through the playground and a football went right through it. I’m still haunted by the look on my dad’s face later that evening when I handed the guitar back to him in two pieces.
What kind of music did you love as a teenager?
After a rather long and unsavoury hard house phase, some friends in class took pity on me and made me a mix CD of a few guitar bands. I think the first CD had Angel of Death by Slayer, some Rage Against The Machine and a few Nirvana tracks. I was instantly obsessed with guitar music from there, particularly Smashing Pumpkins (who I still love) and also heavier stuff like Converge, Dillinger Escape Plan, Botch. I still absolutely revere those bands. Converge are one of the few bands where every new album feels like an ‘event’.
What is the one song you wished you could have written yourself?
I think You Shook Me All Night Long is basically perfect. Just pure unbridled joy. Can you imagine turning up to the rehearsal room and being like, “Lads, I’ve got this chorus”?
Do you have any habits or rituals you go through when trying to write new music?
I think it’s good to try and mix up the way you work each time you sit down to write, whether it’s putting the guitar into a new tuning or working with a new instrument or plug-in. Sometimes I try and restrict myself to working with only a couple of chords/strings/notes, just to see if that sparks anything. When I was recording my new song Time Alone with Fabian Prynn, the whole thing started out from messing around with one of his synths, the Siel - I think it’s the same model that Portishead used on The Pit. So we sort of restricted ourselves to building the song on that and then developed it from there.
Who are your favourite artists you have found yourself listening to at the moment?
I really liked the Thom Yorke / Burial / Four Tet collab that came out recently, and otherwise my Spotify is a fairly monotonous rotation of Exile-era Stones. As for new artists I highly recommend an experimental outfit from Liverpool called Dialect who just released a cracking, progressive album, Under~Between. There’s another great band from that part of the woods actually called Real Terms who I’ve been listening to on repeat - really nice angular guitar music in the mould of Colour, Youthmovies etc.
How many of your songs have you written about people in your life?
None. I’ve tried to do songs about other people but I tend to overthink it and either write crap lyrics that are too on-the-nose or focus too much on the lyrics and write bad music. So rather selfishly all my stuff tends to be drawing on my own experiences.
What has been the funniest or most unusual moment in your career so far?
A few years back, I played a show with another band out in Norway and it was a festival on a little island called Traena. To get to the festival site, all the bands had to get into this little boat with all the guitars and stuff, and sail across the north sea for a few hours. About halfway there, this enormous storm hit, the power went out on the boat and suddenly we were marooned in the dark while these huge waves were tipping the boat almost 90 degrees from side to side. There was a few seconds of silence before the captain came in over the loudspeaker and said something in Norwegian. I didn’t understand it but people were freaking out and half the bands were being sick off the side of the boat. When we eventually made it to the shore I don’t think I’d ever drunk so many beers so quickly. Great festival though.
If you could open a show for anyone in the world, who would it be?
Opening for Radiohead would be a dream come true but i’m not sure I could handle the pressure!
If you weren’t a musician, what other path do you think you might have taken?
I’m already on another path which is working in events. I spent most of my twenties working full time in music but there came a point where it wasn’t sustainable for me anymore. To be honest I quite like having it as a part time thing, just to enjoy the experience of making music with my mates without the uncertainty and pressure that can creep in when it’s all or nothing.
And what is the best piece of advice you have received as a musician?
Try not to be a dickhead. I can’t remember who told me and I’m sure I haven’t followed the advice 100% of the time but I think it’s good to always keep things in perspective, even when things are going really well. I’ve played in a few bands that got signed to big labels, like Carnival Kids for example, but the part where we had the most fun was before that - the build up where we were just playing support shows with our favourite bands (Gallows, Taking Back Sunday etc), getting drunk and wondering excitedly where it was all going.
Jethro Fox's new single 'Time Alone' is available to stream and download now. Have a listen to it in the player below.