July 8, 2014 by The Dirt Factory
While new on the Inland Empire music scene, Foxhunt is anything but inexperienced. Singer-songwriter Erik Hjortnaes, guitarist Jeramy Mathews, bassist Ernest “EJ” Galindo and drummer Andy Armstrong have all done their individual paces in other bands throughout Southern California.
I caught up with Hjortnaes and Galindo this week. The foursome bring their brand of up-tempo, indie folk to Frogees Cocktail Lounge in Apple Valley this Friday, July 11, at 8 p.m., where they’ll join The Ghostmen, Castle Pines and Ghosts in Pocket.
Q: So who did what before Foxhunt?
Hjortnaes: I had played in a few different bands and nothing really stuck. I started writing my own music, folky stuff and I had EJ play with me a few times at open mics in Orange County.
Galindo: I’m (still) in two other bands as well. One’s roots based and another is garage stuff as well as this band. Scheduling is hectic but fun!
Q: I saw you perform at Havana Cigar Lounge in Apple Valley a few weeks back. I’ll be honest. I was surprised at the strength of songwriting. Strong hooks and melodies. Catchy choruses. Does someone write the songs and bring them to the group or do you all write collaboratively?
Hjortnaes: That first show I had written all of the songs, I was working on a concept album idea. When we all got together we started working together and we all add a little something.
Q: Part of my surprise with your sound stems from the fact that there aren’t many indie bands coming out of the High Desert. Especially bands churning out melody-laden songs seasoned with banjo and mandolin. How would you describe your sound?
Hjortnaes: I feel like our sound is a mixture of different styles. We have some folk, rock, even some alternative. I don’t think we are going to settle and write only one style of music. We’re just going to play what feels right.
Galindo: We all like to just play. I think going for a specific sound is a way of closing yourself off, so we spread it out as much as possible with lyrical content and instruments.
Q: I know several of you have roots in the High Desert, but you’re sort of spread out at this point. What brought you all together?
Hjortnaes: I met Jeremy through another buddy of mine and invited my friend Andy to come jam with us. We just clicked. I knew each one of these guys individually and they were all talented, so I kind of thought what if we just put them all in a room together. Sexual magic!
Q: You have the opportunity to open for two of your favorite bands. Who do you open for and why?
Hjortnaes: That’s a great question. I’d like to open for Paul McCartney because his melodies and song writing is one of the reasons I got into writing lyrics. Another band would probably be Mumford and Sons because they brought old folk back and made it new. They inspired a lot of my songwriting as well and the stories they tell are truly beautiful.
Q: I’m posing this question because I care about the future and focus of your band. In three sentences or fewer, what’s your mission statement?
Hjortnaes: I would have to say our mission statement is to enjoy the music you play. Don’t give into what you think people will like, if it’s good and honest and you play the shit out of it, people will like it.
Galindo: Play music we love for as long as possible.