An Interview with Conor Murphy & Ricky Sampson of Foxing

Words by Nick Hodgins
Photo by Hayden Molinarolo

Honesty can be a powerful tool for creating music. It adds a certain element to the songs that just can’t be achieved elsewhere, and for Foxing, it is this precise component that makes their music so authentic.

Foxing, a five-piece band based out of St. Louis, is currently on their first countrywide tour following their debut album The Albatross, which was re-released through Triple Crown Records on May 27.

The band recently passed through the Studio at Webster Hall along with other indie acts Seahaven and Adventures. We had a chance to catch up with Conor Murphy, (vocals/lyrics) and Ricky Sampson (guitar) after their first NYC appearance.

Coming off a tight set and post-show euphoria, the two reflected on the East Coast aspect of the tour. “People respond so well to our band here,” Murphy observed.

While Sampson added, “This is our first time playing a real show in New York so it’s surprising that we’ve gotten such a great response. People have been really great to us.”

With such emotional lyrics and honesty behind their music, it makes sense that certain age groups might find a common ground amongst the hardships Murphy and Josh Coll (bass) express throughout their writing.

“There are lyrics that I am so connected to with the band, because they helped me through those times,” Murphy explained. “Everything that we went through while writing those lyrics came back to everyone in our band. It’s the idea of working through the worst things that we’ve ever experienced in our lives, with our best friends.”

Camaraderie and friendship play a huge role in the dynamic behind Foxing, and as with many friendships, Murphy notes how a big part of their sound stems from their inability to agree on anything.

“We really hold that close to our hearts,” said Murphy. “Because when it comes down to the writing process or the recording process, since we can’t agree on anything, it makes everything so important, genuine and unique.”

While Murphy admits putting such personal lyrics out there was a somewhat daunting experience at first, he has since grown to find shows to be quite therapeutic.

“It is so scary, or it was at least, to go out and sing about the worst relationship we’ve ever had, or the worst time of our lives we’ve ever gone through, in front of all these people,” he said. “The crazy thing is, it’s not scary anymore. I just feel like it’s so therapeutic to really connect with people that are going through the same thing.”

As far as influences go, all the musicians in Foxing have backgrounds in different genres. Sampson explained how he played guitar for a “mathy-punk” band before deciding to join Foxing.

“When I first joined the band I didn’t really listen to music like this,” said Sampson. “I listened to very punk or emo music. The entire album was like my learning process to write a more pop album.”

Choosing between college and the band, Sampson threw caution to the wind and accepted Murphy’s offer to join Foxing. They immediately moved in together and began making music along with Coll and Jon Hellwig (drums).

Initially, The Albatross was written and released independently, but given the chance to re-record, the group was eager to take advantage of the opportunity and re-release the album through Triple Crown Records.

“There’s elements of the original release we weren’t happy with due to time and budget restrictions,” explained Samspon. “We had the opportunity now to fix minor errors and little things that were noticeable to us.”

In addition to those minor tweaks, the band also welcomed their fifth member and second guitarist Eric Hudson to join in re-mastering the album.

Having played with Murphy since their childhood, Hudson was more than willing to hop on board for The Albatross, and in just three weeks he had recorded all his parts and began touring with the band.

“Eric loved the idea of coming into something completely fresh and having no idea what to expect,” explained Murphy. “And to come in the way he has with The Albatross has been monumental to the album. I don’t think our album would have been nearly as well received if Eric didn’t come in and do what he did.”

As far as future plans extend for Foxing, both Murphy and Sampson are excited to see what Hudson will bring to the table when faced with a clean slate and more than three weeks to work on their next album, which wasting no time, they have already started writing. | The Albatross