Fox Lake

Playing the songs they want to hear

In many ways, Fox Lake is out in the middle of nowhere. But its members know that they’re exactly where they want to be. 

Zach Allard (guitar/vocals) and Neil Exell (bass/vocals) had auditioned (and rejected) guitarist Shane Patience for an earlier band. But for their next band, Viridians, “they came crawling back,” Patience says. 

About four years ago, they recorded an EP as Viridians in Fox Lake, Ont., in a remote cabin. There’s no internet, no cell service, and they brought 500 pounds of gear in by boat. 

“It’s a really kind of quiet and clean. Everybody still drinks lake water there. It’s really pretty humble, kind of simple place,” Allard says. 

When the drummer from Viridians left, Patience, Allard and Exell saw an opportunity to make a bigger stylistic change, and Fox Lake was born. The lineup is rounded out by drummer Tyson Barnett. 

Musically, they’re somewhere out on a bridge between emo and post-rock. A list of influences cobbled together to describe their dynamic, melodic, and highly technical sound includes American Football and Alexisonfire, but they’re also inspired by Zakk Wylde (Ozzy Osbourne, Black Label Society), Les Claypool (Primus) and Dave Mustaine (Megadeth). 

“We get a lot of people who say we sound like Moneen. And like, that’s kind of like, I think we’re all fine with it,” Exell says. 

“We’re sort of dying, waiting for people to start liking emo rock again,” Allard adds jokingly. “I feel like we’re a little bit either too late or too early, one of the two.” 

But they’re not sitting around twiddling their thumbs and waiting for popular tastes to favour their genre. 

“We always play music that’s pretty honest to us,” Allard says. “(We’re) playing in styles that aren’t immediately popular, and that’s never really deterred us, and we always just play what we really like, what gets us going.” 

“We’re kind of at home with everyone but not at home with anyone,” Allard says. They lean towards playing with punk and pop-punk bands, but find that their sound appeals to fans of rock and metal too. 

“I think most of the time we just end up playing with our friends, and it’s less about stylistically what the bands are doing and more of who we know personally,” Exell adds. 

Fox Lake recorded an EP, 441, which was produced by Patience as part of an audio production course he took through Precursor Productions. They purposefully haven’t promoted it much, and see it as more of a “calling card” to book tours and prove that they exist as a band. 

They’re working towards a full length album, but emphasize that they’ll take the time to do it right, and to create music that they can fully stand behind. 

“Obviously we’re trying to create something that’s fun to listen to as well, but I think that for us there’s equal emphasis on it being good to listen to and enjoyable and challenging for ourselves to create and play,” Allard says. 

Hear more from Fox Lake at soundcloud.com/fox-lake-204.

Published in Volume 70, Number 15 of The Uniter (January 14, 2016)

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