A Good Ol’ Fashioned Chat With Foy Vance
Foy Vance is a cool guy. Casually advancing his musical successes whilst simultaneously maintaining a solid everyday lifestyle, he is apparently living the best of both worlds. This September he will be touring Australia, bringing along our homegrown folk legend Kyle Lionhart for the ride. We took a few minutes to get to know the man behind the moustache.
Vulture Magazine: Let’s talk about the new album and the tour. How has the feedback been on the new album?
Foy Vance: It seems to be doing alright. I’ve sort of been too busy to keep tabs on it. In the midst of doing this album, we’ve been doing up the house. I’m kind of doing that more, I’ve been spending my time putting up plaster board instead of reading reviews.
VM: Amazing. Have you been playing much live lately?
FV: I did a couple of shows last week actually, an album launch, and now I’m straight back here doing this. Today I’ve got a few phone calls like this, then I’m working on the kitchen.
VM: That’s great to hear you can drop a massive album and have that happening, but still live a grounded life.
FV: Well it has to be that way doesn’t it? Maybe if I was 17 or 18 I’d be sitting around reading reviews, but I’m not.
VM: How have your tours been here in the past?
FV: I’ve been there a couple of times actually. My first ever world tour for my last record started in Sydney. I actually made a real school-boy error at that gig. I met a guy that was from the same estate that I grew up in in Ireland. He’d moved out there and he and I ended up hitting it pretty hard, and I ended up spending the rest of the tour trying to recover from that.
VM: Heavy. You’re in your 30s now right?
FV: 40s boss! I turn 42 this year.
VM: No way! So you don’t tour the rockstar life then.
FV: It’ll be all rockstar from here on in, as soon as we start the tour.
VM: I’m sure you know Australians like a good party.
FV: I love Australia. I love the weather, the people, everything. I think it’s the outdoor life you guys have, everyone seems to be alllllright with everything. Everything’s gonna work out, it’s got that feeling about it when you land.
VM: You’re touring with Kyle Lionhart. Have you had a chance to listen to his stuff yet?
FV: I’ve not seen him live, but I’ve heard a bit. That’s the beautiful thing about touring with folks, you get the chance to not only get to know their music but get to know them, get to know their thoughts behind their music, which really aids the listening of it.
VM: So your album, it’s pretty diverse. It starts a little bluesy and gets you drawn in, then a few songs down the track you get hit in the face with straight up folk music. Do you see it that way?
FV: Well, things that inspire me are songs. You can have the best singer or the best band in the world, but if it’s a bad song it’s not going to sound good. But if you have a great song, even if it’s some guy with a bad voice in the corner of a pub, it’s still a good song. I try and keep that in mind when I’m writing songs. I’m not really interested in genres, again, I’m not 18 or 19 in an indie band and then head to folk then to something else. I’ve never been into that. My main interest is the song and it’s been the driving force behind the last couple of records.
VM: It sounds like when you’re writing you let the song evolve organically. Do you find when you’re writing these songs that the best ones come to you immediately, or do you craft them over time?
FV: Some songs take a bit more crafting than others, some can be quite tricky. There’s a song on the record called ‘She Burns’ which I recorded at my kitchen table here in the highlands, and recorded it with the headphones that you get with your phone, it’s got a little speaker on it. I recorded it with that and it sounded so shit, but at the same time had a real vibe. It was the last song we finished on the record; it was tricky and took a lot of time to craft it.
VM: Have you found a lot more freedom in your writing and choices for albums now you’re signed?
FV: Well, I’ve been blessed to be making the music I wanted to since the start actually. Though this is the first album I’ve released whilst signed to a major label, and I never thought I would sign to a major label. The folks at the label are on board of their own merit, and allow me a long lease and free reign to articulate myself in whatever way I see fit, and they’re being very supportive and it’s great.
Vance’s album The Wild Swan is out now and well worth the listen.