The debut from Saint John musician Kylie Fox is a poetic blend of insightful storytelling and subtle humour.
Saint John, New Brunswick singer Kylie Fox is about to release her debut album….or is it an EP? With a total of seven tracks collectively clocking in around the 21 minute mark, you could almost argue that either way. And just to add to the confusion, Fox has already played a handful of ‘album release shows’ for the release which is titled, BalconyEP.
“I’ve left it pretty ambiguous.” said Fox. “I was funded by a grant specifically for demo/EP recording through the Department of Tourism, Heritage and Culture so for the entire process I referred to the project as BalconyEP, and that became it’s name, and you can’t just change something’s name!
“Once everything was done, I received advice that I should change it’s name because campus radio stations are more apt to play an album over an EP. By some standards, BalconyEP is an EP as it is only 21 minutes long, but because it has seven tracks it could also be an album. I think it’s hilarious that if I didn’t change the name, but referred to it as Balcon-Yep, it could pass. Literally gibberish, like that tattoo you got that has no significance and people ask why. I think it’s funny. It even sounds funny to say. Anyway…it’s whatever you want. The album art, as you can see, appears to be both BalconyEP and BalconYep, so it’s fluid.”
“…I realized that I couldn’t possibly make permanent the shittiness of my guitar playing so I took a few weeks and hid out in my parents basement with my guitar…”
One thing that isn’t confusing about Fox’s debut is her determination to get things right from the get-go by roping in some of the area’s best players and choosing to recording with Saint John musician and engineer Corey Bonnevie (Little You, Little Me/Monopolized Records). That, and her solid sense of humour of course.
“I moved home to Saint John to record with Corey and after the first session I realized that I couldn’t possibly make permanent the shittiness of my guitar playing so I took a few weeks and hid out in my parents basement with my guitar, appropriately so, as I had dropped out of school to ‘work on my music’ and venture into the service industry.
“My circumstances were so laughably cliché it was actually a joy,” said Fox. “The biggest challenge with recording with Corey is that Corey is the most wanted guy in Saint John’s music scene. Especially since Quality Block, he’s an essential factor to how the Saint John music scene has grown so much momentum over such a short time and he allows artists to affordably get their stuff out there. Plus he’s in three bands and counting. Scheduling sessions with the whole gang definitely drew out the process. Corey Bonnevie is a shithead, and I miss hanging at the studio.”
For this recording, Fox was joined in the studio by Geoffry Smith (Little You Little Me, Tooth and the Fang) on drums, Chuck Teed on bass, Nienke Izurieta (Ladd and Lasses) on violin and Jamie Comeau (Jamie Comeau and the Crooked Teeth) on lead guitar.
“I met Geoff through Corey and he’s become a really good pal, and Chuck and I used to work together over at Interaction Children’s Theatre School,” said Fox. “Nienke was also a Corey connection and Jamie was one of the heartthrobs of Harbour View High School back in the day and was just as good of a musician then in our school senior band as he is now.”
Fox bought her first guitar when she was in high school and started writing her own songs a few years later while living in Montreal studying theatre.
“That’s when Montreal was written, and you can hear in the song that I’m just practicing my G C and D chords,” said Fox. “I transferred to Mount Allison [University] and my golden egg – The Tinder Song unfortunately happened, so I mass produced joke songs because they were always well received at the bar, but that’s when I really started writing.”
“I may not pump out face melting guitar riffs, to my dismay, but having been brought up with Joni Mitchell’s number one fan, my ol’ man, the poetry is what generally interests me most.”
So it makes sense that lyrics sit at the forefront of what Fox does. She’s a storyteller first and foremost, more content on relating stories and characters than worrying about sounding a certain way or appealing to one demographic.
“There are so many ways to be a craftsman in the realm of music,” she said. “I may not pump out face melting guitar riffs, to my dismay, but having been brought up with Joni Mitchell’s number one fan, my ol’ man, the poetry is what generally interests me most. Naturally, words are rhythmic, so usually words and melodies come to me together and often in my head while I’m walking. Sometimes it all happens in a half hour, sometimes I only get a verse and have to then fit words in methodically to make more.
“Most of the songs on BalconyEP were written last fall when I was living in Fredericton waiting out a lease I shouldn’t have signed. Only one song on the album is a break-up song. I refer to sex as doing it which was probably a mock lyric at the time but I ended up sticking with because it’s childish and people actually say it. It’s important, I think, to be honest and to write as you would speak, although my mother wouldn’t say the same.”
Kylie has become a familiar name in the New Brunswick music scene, having played Stereophonic Festival, The Quality Block Party, Folly Fest and Perish so far this year. She was nominated for Saint John’s Female Artist of 2016 at the Saint John Best awards and was awarded Best New Artist of 2015 at Mount Allison University.
Kylie Fox + Sadie | November 1 | Ducky’s , 4 Bridge Street | Sackville, NB | 9 p.m. | View Event
Kylie Fox + David Archibald | November 2 | The Nook, 2118 Gottingen Street | Halifax, NS | 8 p.m. | View Event
Kylie Fox + Sadie + JerryFaye | November 12 | Saint John, NB | View Event