Mitchell Gardoll, Fox & Fowl
The biggest myth about playing in a band is that it’s all about the music ...
The hallows of a university dorm may bear witness to many deeds, but the late-night jamming of a couple of mates in Canberra must surely be one of the most virtuous of college high jinks. A master key offered the invitation and the lads swooped on the opportunity, slinking into a vacant room that would mark the spot of the first incarnation of the band now known as Fox & Fowl. Fast-forward a couple of years and the same bundle of boys have followed the sunshine north, now crafting jangly indie-pop tunes in their adopted city of Brisbane. Tagged as an up-and-coming band to watch, Fox & Fowl certainly know how to charm a live audience, with playful melodies and a spirited stage presence nudging punters into sly shimmies and toe taps. Following the release of the band’s debut self-titled EP last month and ahead of an official EP launch at Black Bear Lodge this Friday May 9, guitarist and vocalist Mitchell Gardoll filled The Weekend Edition in on formative gigs, childhood dreams and drum-related injuries.
Tell us about the early beginnings of Fox & Fowl …
We’d all played together a little but it wasn’t until we had access to a master key that opened every dorm room at our residence. We found an empty room and set up what we had and jammed three songs all the time. Early incarnations of the band started here.
What’s the story behind the band name?
The name came after a night writing what we thought was our first ‘real’ song. We finished up around 1:00 am in the morning, went upstairs too excited to sleep and started watching a documentary on a fox that was after some birds. It just seemed to click.
What inspired the band’s migration from Canberra to Brisbane?
We’d all finished uni and were looking for a new adventure. Lots of bands we liked were from Brisbane and the weather checked out, so we made the move.
Which is your personal favourite song in the Fox & Fowl back-catalogue?
This would be a song called ‘Home’. It was written about a party at a house we lived in. It reminds me of back then.
Fox & Fowl launched a crowd-funding campaign to give your EP the proper worldly welcome it deserves. We noticed some of the lures included YouTube cover dedications from the band … What would be your dream song to cover?
‘Perpetuum Mobile’ by The Penguin Cafe Orchestra, but I would probably butcher it, so something by Johnny Cash or Bob Dylan.
We heard whispers that your bandmate copped a cardboard drum kit to the head while filming the video for ‘Pilot’. What other behind-the-scenes antics can you share with us?
Elliot’s run-in with the drum and the mark it left on his head was definitely the highlight/lowlight of the day.
You’re about to head on tour in May – which member of the band has the most annoying habit on the road?
Not any that spring to mind. We roadtripped from NYC to LA together, so I think any annoying habits were ‘dealt with’ during that trip. Either that, or I have all the annoying habits.
Fox & Fowl will launch its debut EP at Brisbane’s beloved Black Bear Lodge this Friday May 9. What do you enjoy about playing for the local crowd?
Being pretty new to Brisbane we’ve found the crowd to be upbeat and supportive. I think the extra sunshine helps.
At what age did you first pick up the guitar?
I would have been around 15. It came about after starting a ‘band’ with some friends who also didn’t play instruments.
Can you remember your first performance in front of an audience? Was it a success/failure?
I can’t remember the exact gig but it would have been a ‘battle of the bands’ or a ‘night of music’ put on by high school. In a way I guess it was a success because I continued to play music. That said, I’m glad you weren’t there to hear it.
What’s one song you wish you wrote?
‘Happy Birthday’ for the dollars. But it isn’t about the money, so ‘The Way You Do The Things You Do’ by The Temptations for the lyrics.
What’s the most embarrassing track in your music collection?
‘Marry You’ by Bruno Mars. I think the lip dub proposal did it to me.
What’s the biggest myth about playing in a band?
That it’s all about the music.
What would be your ultimate venue to perform in?
It would probably be a festival – a main stage at Falls, Coachella or Bonnaroo.
As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be an architect for as long as I can remember.
If you could give your teenage self one piece of advice, what would it be?
No one will care how good you are at Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater when you’re an adult.
What’s your idea of complete happiness?
Good times with friends and family.
What’s the last thing that made you smile?
What are your essentials for a perfect weekend?
Sunshine and free time.
What’s your personal definition of ‘success’?
Achieving your goals. Though these often change.
Can you share any words of wisdom for aspiring musicians?