Hi James, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?
Thanks for having me! I’ve been ok thanks. Like most people, I had quite a busy year of gigs planned. So, when those all got cancelled, I spent a month staring into space and wondering what I was going to do with myself. That’s when I decided to start writing this album. I’ve been up and down this year depending on what week you’d ask me.
Can you talk to us more about your upcoming single “The Rest of Our Lives”?
This is a song that I wrote in the middle of the album making process during the summer. It started off as a piano ballad. But, like many of my songs, it changed direction during the recording process and became much more guitar driven. The lyrics came pretty quickly on this one as it’s about meeting my fiancée and finding true love. It’s quite a simple message and the song speaks of a positive future and hope, things I think we can all relate to at the moment.
Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?
We had to cancel our wedding this year in June. So, I should have been writing my wedding speeches, but instead, this song came out. I have been writing songs for and about my fiancée since the day I met her. So, I’m happy to finally share one. I guess I realized that even though we had to cancel our special day, it didn’t change the fact that we have the rest of our lives together.
Any plans to release any sort of video for the single?
Yes! There is a video that will be released the same day as the single, January 29, 2021. Spoiler alert! My fiancée is in the video too!
The single comes off your new album All The Fours – what’s the story behind the title?
There’s a few reasons why I called the album “All The Fours”. Firstly, I know you won’t believe this but despite my full head of hair, I’m actually 44 years old. (OK, you did believe it) Secondly, I grew up playing gigs in Welsh clubs and pubs back in the 90s, where you would always play second fiddle to the nightly marathon Bingo sessions. “All The Fours” was what they would shout out when the number 44 came up. This album is very much about my past and those times. So, by reaching that age and with the album referencing that time in my life, it made sense.
How was the recording and writing process?
I had the idea to write and record an album from my flat here in London in March. So, the way I went about it was one song at a time. I would write the lyrics first and then the melody, or sometimes the other way around. Then I would record all of the music to create a rough demo. Once I had this, I would send it over to my good friend and drummer, Mike Sorrentino, who recorded the drums from his studio and sent them back to me. I’d then hone in on guitar parts etc and record everything here in my home studio, until it was fully produced. Then, I’d move on to the next song. I’d allow myself maybe a few days in between each song as the process was quite draining, both mentally and physically. Each song would take about three or four weeks from getting the initial idea to the finished production. Most days I would work for about 10 hours straight, as I was doing everything myself. I barely slept throughout the process.
What role does Long Island play in your music?
Long Island is where my mate and the drummer on the album, Mike Sorrentino, lives. As I mentioned, the entire album was recorded at my flat apart from the drums which were recorded in Long Island and emailed over to me. It’s also where my musical inspiration, Billy Joel, comes from so it’s played quite a role since an early age I guess.
How did you go on balancing all your different influences together on this one?
My musical influences are quite wide ranging and I’d find myself listening to my favourites for a few days between recording each song just for inspiration and to get away from my own voice for a second.
Because I pretty much played every note on this album, it has a certain sonic identity that runs through it, so even if the song started out being inspired by a Billy Joel song or a Sting song or John Mayer or REM, it would soon take on the same identity as the others on the album after I started to lay down the tracks.
Where did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?
The songs had to come out. They were almost like 12 therapy sessions. Like most people, I was forced to stop this year, for the first time in decades. That led me to start reflecting on my past and dealing with a lot of issues and things that I’d gone through over the years. I suffered with a gambling addiction for a decade, so this was definitely one of the issues I wrote about. It really helped with the recovery process. I’ve had quite a diverse music career and experienced a lot of highs and lows, it’s all there in the album. It’s very honest if nothing else!
What else is happening next in James Fox’s world?
The album took up nine months of my life, literally, so right now I’m about a month into a break that I needed. I’ve not picked up a guitar. I wrote a Christmas song called, “Christmas Time is Here”, for an American vocal group called the “Sharpe Family Singers”. That’s just been released.
Just looking forward to hopefully spending time with my family over Christmas and promoting the album in 2021. Hopefully a return to live gigs. I miss that a lot.