The endlessly mercurial, maverick Bristolian quartet Phoxjaw are here with their debut full-length record, Royal Swan, set for release on 3rd July 2020 via Hassle Records.
Born from a cabin-fevered recording experience at Devil’s Bridge in Wales, Royal Swan harks back to a fantastical medieval England. Without being overtly political, Royal Swan also details the tension inherent in modern day Great Britain – the sense of isolation and resentment the United Kingdom has fostered versus trying to retain a sense of pride in one’s own country.
Ahead of Royal Swan’s release, GBHBL had a chat with vocalist and bass player, Danny Garland. The full near 30-minute conversation can be viewed at the bottom but what follows is a transcript of some of the major talking points.
Does Danny feel like Phoxjaw has something special with Royal Swan
Yeah. Yeah! I’m a bit of a nutcase when it comes to my music. I’m proud of the work I’ve done and everything (but) I’m so analytical about everything in my life. I’m very OCD, I’m very over the top about things and everything’s got to be a certain way. So when I finish something, I will listen back and will pick it to pieces. Oh, I’m not happy with that bit or that guitar tone wasn’t right.
Even though I’m super-proud of Royal Swan and I think it’s probably the best work I’ve ever done. It covers so much genres and styles, I don’t think there’s a rock album like it come out in a while which I think is quite refreshing.
Regarding their writing and recording location choices
We want to put ourselves into strange scenarios as much as we can. Would we go back and do it like that again? Probably not anytime soon just because it became quite difficult. We didn’t have a lot of money as well, so we were all struggling with food. There were days when toast and soup were all we ate. It really was quite silly but for album 2 we’ve got plans to do that abroad. Every time we make a record, we want to go somewhere different.
On the ‘Britishness’ themes within the album
It’s a hard question to answer without sounding like I’m being a nationalist which is not the case.
With the whole thing that was going on with Brexit, which is not as talked about at the moment, with everything else going on. That’s how quickly things move on. That’s what we also realised doing this album, sometimes if you’re talking about something by the time it comes out everyone might be talking about something else.
I’ve done a lot of travelling in my time when I’m not doing Phoxjaw, I’m always going around Europe. We (Phoxjaw) have been in Europe a few times as well now. We’ve experienced the Brexit question a lot coming from a lot of other people in Europe and it’s been a very embarrassing time for some people in England. So with all the confusion that has been going on in England, the message is to be proud of where you are from.
Not in a nationalist way; oh, we’re better than everyone in Europe. We’re still a great place, England is still a great place and English people are great people. We’re a great community of people and it’s a positive message.
Check out the full interview below.