Dive Deep with Faux/Fox
By Savannah Evanoff
Five Biblical figures walk into a bar.
The punch line is hidden away somewhere in Faux/Fox’s latest album, “Twin Killers.”
With titles such as “Judas of Azalea,” “Brother Goliath” and “The Assumption of Moses,” the Pensacola death blues band delves into the religious theme… meanwhile a popular joke.
“The whole idea of the record is it’s a bunch of Biblical figures in a dive bar purgatory,” said Michael Bishop, the frontman and lyric writer. “The way we wanted it to feel is like you’re getting progressively more and more drunk at a shitty dive.”
The album title is a reference to God and the Devil—viewing them as humans.
“I think the idea of looking at it from human viewpoint is more interesting,” Bishop said.
“Honestly, who needs any more praise songs written about David and Biblical figures?”
Bishop admits the topic is controversial, but that’s part of what drives him to address it.
“I’m not trying to attack anyone,” Bishop said. “It’s like, ‘Maybe we can find a more interesting angle.’”
“I feel like we’re always trying to poke the bear and make people think about stuff,” added bassist Nicholas Giberson.
Drummer Mike McDonald thinks Bishop’s inclination to challenge people’s thinking can be a virtue, especially in regards to songwriting.
“It’s a thing I love about his personality,” McDonald said. “It’s not always easy. It’s not always cuddly. But it’s always going to be worthwhile.”
Bishop doesn’t foresee giving up his lyric-writing powers. He’s the first to admit he has control issues about music. But this record is less personal, he said.
“It should be more character-driven, whereas I feel our previous records were really intimate and personal to really terrible parts of my life,” Bishop said. “It’s really great to not sing about anything that had to do with me.”
The biggest distinction from the band’s 2018 album, “Congratulations,” is a greater presence from Giberson.
“He is having a much stronger influence in the songwriting structure, where previously the two Mikes of the band were the ones making the songs,” McDonald said. “(Giberson) is coming in with his own thing and helping us to have a different lens to view our own ideas as well as fresh ideas on the table.”
Giberson feels their chemistry deepened on this record. The album explores a heavier route in terms of sound, he said.
“We’re still not the heaviest band on a metal show and we’re still not the lightest band on an indie show,” Giberson said. “We’re in this in-between world where we’re carving our own path of what we’re doing in the Pensacola music scene.”
McDonald hopes they captured the vibe of their live performance on the recordings. He wanted to skirt the line between a raw and polished sound.
“On that front, a lot of people have been expressing to me how they appreciate us trying to go on the raw side, ‘I can hear a flub. I love that you kept that flub,’” McDonald said.
“Which is always a challenge—at least for me, as someone who can very easily become obsessive perfectionist, to be able to let go, ‘That’s good enough. That’s the idea.’”
You won’t find Faux/Fox members pressuring listeners to buy music or merch. Their goal is for people to experience the music and struggle with new ideas. For them, the live experience is the band’s foundation.
“Come to a show,” McDonald said. “Come see how loud and abrasive it is, but come see how intimate it can be and see if you can get something out of it. Come suffer with us as we go through it, too—to be really melodramatic.”
Faux/Fox doesn’t mind being a tad theatrical if it means the songs provoke thought. By the time “Twin Killers” tackles Jonah—aka the fourth track—listeners are not only wasted but also intrigued.
“He’s very much like rambling quietly, then explosively loud,” Bishop said. “I enjoy that dynamic. I really like how he’s over the top. I wanted Jonah to be this death-possessed asshole. I don’t feel like anyone reads the story of Jonah that way.”
If the religious subject matter seems thick to sift through, there is an alternate theory you can think on—the lyrics all might just be about Bishop’s black cat, Binx. When he’s being honest with himself, Bishop wrote all of the tracks after he and his wife adopted the kitten and it almost died.
“It was really awful,” Bishop said. “I worked in a warehouse then, and I’m covered in dirt all day. My manager comes out like, ‘How ya doin’ man?’ I just fell apart. I’m like this 6’3, 200-pound dude crying in a warehouse about a three-pound cat. He’s good now, thankfully, but he was the catalyst to write these songs.”
Faux/Fox at the Beginning of Summer Beach Bummer II: Still Bummin’
WHAT: Faux/Fox with Luckily I’m the Hunter, Action Doug and Village Geniuses
WHEN: Doors at 7 p.m., Music at 8 p.m. Saturday, June 22
WHERE: chizuko, 506 W. Belmont St.