2000trees were excited to add Phoxjaw to their festival lineup, so I took some time to get to know a little more about the Bristol alt-rock band who have been getting a fair bit of attention this year.
I began our interview by getting a little introduction to the five band members, and how they met. Brothers Kieran Gallop, vocals & drums and Josh Gallop, who plays guitar, were previously in a metal band together. Guitarist Glenn Hawkins and bassist & vocalist Danny Garland had met at school and also spent time with each other in groupss. And Huw Allen was the latest addition to the group after they decided to add some synth and keys.
In a time where there are so many mundane band names doing the rounds, how did they end up with theirs?
“It was a word engraved on Josh and Kieran’s great nan’s ancient wooden leg,” they say at first, before confirming: “Nah, that’s a lie. It was plucked out of thin air but we decided to be super edgy and replace the F for a PH.”
They’ve also been super busy: we’re not even six months into 2018 and they’ve released an EP, toured the UK, and made a music video.
“It was all shot in one day, a very long day at that,” they say of the clip for Triceratops. “We started around 10 in the morning and didn’t get finished till at least 10 or 11 that night.”
The shoot took place at John Wesley Methodist Church in Bristol. It’s a beautiful setting, so a lot of work must have been put into making it appear as dark and intense as it does onscreen.
“It was by chance that our videographer James Harris knew somebody who could get us access to the church. It was a fantastic venue and was exactly what we were after when we pitched James the idea, something grand that would look great on camera.”
Filming can be a very stressful time, especially if you’re doing it for 12 hours non-stop, but the band made it through the day unscathed.
“We filmed all the performance shots first in the church, then went back to another location for the attic torture scene,” they explain. “Huw and Danny were so convincing with their acting in the torture scene we all looked at each other after and had to go get a pint to wind down. It was super intense.
“”We are stoked with the result, so it was all worth it.”
Triceratops is taken from the new EP Dinosaur, which has been extremely well received and has had some glowing reviews.
“It’s been awesome,” they say of the response. “We’ve been quite taken aback by how much people are loving it. Hearing that people are finding their own meanings in the songs and the lyrics.
“The EP was out for about 5 days before we did our hometown EP launch gig and people were already singing the lyrics back to us, which is an amazing feeling. It just keeps on growing and growing as well, so we are excited to see what more comes of it.“
But what makes a band choose to go with an EP over an album? It must be a hard decision to make, especially as this will be the first thing many will hear of the band.
“We really wanted a body of work to release that had a cohesive feel throughout. We are all fans of albums but with the way people consume music at the moment, especially when you are a relatively new band, it made more sense to put out an EP. There is also a lot of pressure on a debut nowadays, we are working towards an album though.”
Alongside the music releases, Phoxjaw have spent time on the road touring the UK experiencing new venues, and making new friends.
“Each date had its charm for us and it was great hitting some places we’ve never been before, Bristol was a great show as we previously mentioned, being our own city and all. We really enjoyed Brighton as it’s just a great place to be in and the Green Door Store is a great venue. We also really enjoyed Swindon; we played with a great band called The Guts who were phenomenal, so can’t wait to hook up with those guys again.”
With festival season on the way, the band’s enthusiasm for 2000trees matched that of the festival organisers.
“We are very excited to have that one, it was a bit of a goal for us when we first started this band to play there, and we didn’t think it’d happen so soon.”
The band are looking forward to finding out the difference between playing a run of the mill gig, and a festival. They don’t plan on changing anything in their performance though.
“Being a relatively new band we kind of missed out a bit on festival season last year due to recording for this release so we are going to find out ourselves! We’ll bring the same energy though as we put into any Phoxjaw show. Whether we’re playing to 1000 people or 10 people, if you are at a Phoxjaw gig you are going to be entertained.”
That sounds promising, and I’ll be sure to catch them alongside their suggestions of other acts to catch.
“Loads of great bands we look up to are playing the festival, but go check our mates in Black Peaks, Holding Absence, Soeur, and Haggard Cat. They all kick ass,” the band advise.
I finish up asking the hardest question of all. One that really makes you think about your answer and Phoxjaw don’t let themselves down. With the dinosaur EP theme they had going on, what’s their favourite dinosaur?
“Oooooh this is a tough one, but I’m gonna go with the Diplodocus because they’ve got a long neck and I’d love to see one at our gig head banging. T-Rex would be no good in the mosh pit if it fell over because of the short arms!”
Catch Phoxjaw at 2000trees on Friday 13th July at The Cave.
2000trees tickets are now available at https://www.twothousandtreesfestival.co.uk/
Paul Lyme in conversation with Phoxjaw May 2018
Portrait Photography by Edyta Krzesak