Band of the Week: Foxygen

Meet the Band: Sam France (vocals, guitar, drums, piano, horns), Jonathan Rado (guitar, bass, keyboards, piano, drums)

California Dreaming: California natives, singer Sam France and guitarist Jonathan Rado first met in a sixth grade math class. They eventually became friends and started Foxygen when they were still teenagers. "We were just soul mates — we were destined to be together," says France when asked about their initial meeting. "We just wanted to make something colorful and interesting." Early on, the band released a slew of EPs that it distributed to family and friends.

A Swift Story: The band met producer Richard Swift (The Shins) after a show and passed on a copy of its music. He would come on board and produce 2013's We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic. "The songs were conceived spontaneously in a short period of time and an impulsive way," says France. "[Swift] enabled us to do that very quickly. If we had self-produced like we do all our other records, it would have taken a long time. The fidelity of it would have been inaccessible but all the factors came together perfectly for that one." The duo recorded at Swift's studio near Portland, Oregon. France says the environment was "very laid back."

Something of a Circus: The band's notorious for putting on an over-the-top live show. On one occasion, France even broke his leg jumping off the stage. "We have a whole circus extravaganza-type performance," he says. "We have all our ladies and all our boys. We have skits and gags. We have raffles and giveaways. We have blood and sweat and the whole show. The show has become an all-around good time for anyone. The band is real tight. It also has punk rock craziness so people aren't sure where the show begins and something else begins. People are still on the edge of their seats. It's the best parts of our live show that we've galvanized into one big-top circus type of show."

Why Should I Hear Them: The band's latest album, last year's ...And Star Power, is a trippy concept album about a band in the '70s. It follows two characters from We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic who are "a little more fucked up and a little more jaded and a little more insane but they're still trying to create within the same framework." A song such as "Cosmic Vibrations" features slow-motion vocals and sounds something like a cross between the Doors and Bob Dylan.

Where You Can hear Them:

Where You Can See Them: Foxygen performs at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, April 14, at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.

Like this story?
SCENE Supporters make it possible to tell the Cleveland stories you won’t find elsewhere.
Become a supporter today.

About The Author

Jeff Niesel

Jeff has been covering the Cleveland music scene for more than 20 years now. And on a regular basis, he tries to talk to whatever big acts are coming through town, too. If you're in a band that he needs to hear, email him at [email protected].
Scroll to read more Local Music articles


Join Cleveland Scene Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.