Hailing from Sydney, Thunder Fox consists of five members in the form of lead singer and guitarist Sam Dawes, trumpeter and keyboardist Jesse Tachibana, bassist Casey Allen, drummer Max Vallentine and saxophonist Travers Keirle. With a knack for transcending any standing barriers between pop, rock, funk, hip-hop and fusion, the boisterous outfit has graced many of Australia’s most distinguished festival stages and has become one of the most sought after live acts that the land down under has to offer.
Their latest single ‘Right Place, Wrong Time’ puts their seductive and swagger-laden charm front and center, and we decided to ask the quintet about what inspired them to steam up the mirror this time around.
You lot have been doing this music thing together for more than a half decade now. Are you guys getting sick of each other yet?
Whilst we’ve certainly seen some bands getting the ick around each other after a while, we’re so lucky to have an almost unnaturally deep bond. We’re just best buds and seldom argue or fall out. I think it’s because we’ve all got our eyes on the same prize and love making music together that we can all be proud of.
It’s hard to nitpick anything from ‘Right Place, Wrong Time’ that’s anything short of delicious. The chops, horns and synths spearhead a melody that blends together better than peanut butter and chocolate, and it sounds like each one of you used your respective expertise to team up like the Power Rangers for this one. How do you all find yourselves striking this funk-pop synergy so seamlessly?
First of all: peanut butter and chocolate is so beautiful a combination, it feels sacrilegious to be compared to it, but I expect we’d all be flattered. I think it all comes back to your first question in that we’re such a tight knit unit, we’re willing to keep our minds open to any and every suggestion for the greater good of the song. All of us are really dedicated to our craft as musicians and songwriters and I like to think what we’re coming out with these days is just an amalgamation of all of that work we’ve put in to our musicality, and the desire to have fun, be funny and avoid all things mundane.
The track surrounds itself around the debacle between letting mutual lust lead the way or listening to the better half of your conscience when before a beautiful girl that’s never to be seen again. Anything that inspired the track or were we just feeling spicy in the studio?
Hahaha! I’m glad you asked! I try to write all of my lyrics from at least some semblance of truth from my life otherwise, it just wouldn’t hit right. We were on tour in Europe in 2018 and had a couple of shows at a Swiss hostel which were skewed towards the side of debauchery more than we might care to admit. I really did meet a Texan girl, she really was lovely. In any case, we got along great but couldn’t have things move any further because I was already taken. As time went on, the circumstances surrounding the night became so funny to me in retrospect that I had to write about it.
A big effort to accompany a tentative UK tour in 2023. You guys headlined stages across Australia, played alongside the likes of M.I.A and The Kooks and have already toured across Europe. What makes this UK takeover the next step?
Having grown up partially in the UK myself (I was born in Guildford, Surrey), I genuinely feel so at home there and often find myself craving a trip to see my family and enjoy the diverse culture. The music scene in the UK is so diverse and exciting and I think/hope we’d be a great fit if we really dug our heels in for a while. The Australian music scene will always be close to our hearts and we’ll always have a home here; we’ve just created something that we want to show to as many people as possible and, what better place to start than the motherland? It can be difficult and a little stifling in Australia too when you’re an artist that’s a little left of field because the scene is all but monopolized by a handful of radio stations and tastemakers that tend to err on the safe side when it comes to exposing new and different sounds to their audience.
You’ve mentioned that the ultimate goal is to be the first band to perform on Jupiter. Build on that. You think NASA is getting behind this anytime soon?
I think that interplanetary domination is definitely on the cards for us. It’s more likely that we’ll go the Musk route and start plans on our own, self-funded space mission once we make our first billion from Spotify streams.
What’s next for Thunder Fox from a musical standpoint? Will there be a full-length project on the way anytime soon?
We’re really keen to keep a momentum going in 2023. We’ve got a couple of albums under our belt already and are pretty keen just to experiment a little and build some consistency in our sound before diving into album #3. I think 2023 will be full of new music, new ideas and a ton of live shows.
Thunder Fox has passed the test of time and is looking upward to bigger and better things. Where do you all see yourselves in another half decade?
In all seriousness, I think we all want what any other artist could want – to keep going! There was definitely a time when I was younger when I thought I was gonna be a rockstar millionaire with a Ferrari and mansions in every major city. As time has gone on, I am so in touch with what drives me to do this in the first place, which is to create. Making music and memories with my best friends, regardless of the cost or the material reward, has been the most fulfilling and intensely exciting experience. All I can hope for now is to continue on; making better songs, playing better shows, travelling farther, singing higher and drinking more beers. The world is truly our oyster if we want it to be and I couldn’t be more keen to see what’s in store. If I’m in the same place in 5 years that I’m in now, as long as the songs are banging and there’s smiles on the audiences’ faces, I’d probably be just fine. Wouldn’t mind quitting my day job though.