When we say the Brooklyn-based indie rock band Stone Cold Fox gives us tunnel vision, we mean that in more ways than one. Not only have they been added to our soundtrack of the summer, but they literally gifted the world with their EP Tunnel Vision back in July. If you’ve haven’t heard of Stone Cold Fox yet, consider this an introduction.
Cliché: I read that a few of you met through college and during a move to Brooklyn. How long did it take for you to all mesh and find the sound you wanted to create?
Stone Cold Fox: Finding a sound has always been a transforming and shifting thing for us. When we first started, it was just Ariel and I writing acoustic folk pop songs together which was The Young. But by the time everyone else joined, we had more rockier dance aspirations and made an album that still kept a lot of the folk vibes from the first, but with a lot more pushing and pulling in other directions. It really wasn’t until Tunnel Vision that I feel we’ve finally started to hone in on something, so maybe three and a half years?
When did you decide you wanted to pursue a music career?
Listening to Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac with my dad when I was 9 kind of changed everything. I knew I wanted to play guitar from then on. I didn’t start really diving into songwriting until I was in middle school and listening to Arcade Fire and Radiohead.
So much has happened and so much time has passed since Memory Palace. How have you grown as a band within the last two years?
A lot has changed. Ariel decided to leave the band, so we’re now a four-piece, but we’re all on great terms. Things have shifted in roles, but in doing that, it’s opened up so much more freedom and given us a totally new perspective on our music and what is possible in each song.
How has the transition been from a five-piece band to four?
It was very hard at first. Ariel was a pretty big piece of the puzzle from the get go. It was a major blow for me personally and I had to really reimagine the band’s future entirely. He was always a producer, and essentially that’s why he left. Though it was painful, it’s been a great example to never be afraid of change. We’re now operating at a totally new level and feel more like a unified band than ever before.
What did you envision for the band when you first started? Are you where you wanted to be in terms of the goals you set yourself in the beginning?
Well, we all start our goals a little starry-eyed, right? [Laughs] Really, the best way to gauge it all is the music, and so far that has totally exceeded all my expectations. At the end of each song, I’m always like, “Shit, can I do any better?” And somehow over the course of many months, I ended up with three other ones, and I’m like, “Shit, can I ever do any better?” And the cycle keeps going. As long as we nurture that cycle and keep it going, then we’ll continue to exceed our expectations. I think shifting perspective is hugely important and not being afraid of change.
Things have shifted in roles, but in doing that, it’s opened up so much more freedom and given us a totally new perspective on our music and what is possible in each song.
Tunnel Vision couldn’t have come at a better time. It’s a perfect soundtrack to cruise around to. Having said that, besides your own music, what is your go-to summer soundtrack?
That changes a lot. Right now, I’m in love with Mitski’s new album. I think “Happy” is one of the most perfectly crafted songs I’ve heard in a long time. I have a hard time just throwing something on and having fun. Sometimes, my cruises get a lot of backseat complaints in that regard. [Laughs]
Now that you get to go out on stage and finally play your new songs, which track gets you pretty hyped up to perform?
“Firing Squad.” That song came from such an emotional place. It started out very slow and sad, but watching it turn into such a loud triumph song makes it a blast to play live. “Poly” is another favorite though; I love ending on that one.
What problems, if any, did you run into putting together Tunnel Vision versus putting together Memory Palace?
Lots. [Laughs] We had songs that went through five different versions and revisions, and some songs that it took years to really figure out. Memory Palace had a lot less restrictions to it. We were down to explore all different types of songs. Tunnel Vision had a lot more rules attached because we really wanted to hone in on something. It took a lot longer to get those five songs in place than Memory Palace, but it’s paid off a lot.
I feel as if music festivals are getting more and more popular as each year passes. What would be your dream festival to get to perform in?
I saw Radiohead at Lollapalooza in Chicago a long time ago and I set a goal for myself that I would play that festival in five years. Unfortunately, we’ve passed that imaginary time table a bit ago, but it’s still very much a dream of mine.
What are the band’s plans for the rest of 2016?
We’re doing a small tour out in the Midwest and then up the east coast in August. After that, we’ll play a couple more NYC shows and we’re going to record the new album in the fall. We’ve got some label interest right now, but I’ve learned the hard way that you really can’t hold your breath for that shit, you just have to assume that’ll come when it comes and keep going in the meantime. So we plan to get the new album out around this time next year. We’ve also never actually taken a break from playing shows before. We’ve been consistently playing shows since we started and I think the plan is to finally take the winter to learn these new songs, curate a really solid live show, and really hit the ground running next spring.
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Photographed by Shervin Lainez