Catch up with lead singer/guitarist of Foxtrot & The Get Down, Colin Budny, and watch the video for single "Just A Kid" off their new album, Roots Too Deep, out now.
What got you interested in starting Foxtrot & The Get Down?
Colin: I'd been playing music since I was young, 8 or 9, but it all kind of started freshman year at West Chester University. We were dorm mates actually, same floor, and that kind of kicked off us playing together and this was probably around 2011. I'd say around 2013/2014 after a couple years of just doing Philly bars and playing college bars around our town, we just decided to go all in with it and head down to Nashville and really invest everything we had into it.
Where does your name, Foxtrot & The Get Down, come from?
[Laughs] It's always the first question we get asked - other than, "what's your favorite cheesesteak place?" 'cause we're from Philly. Our initial drummer's name was Ryan Fox and so Foxtrot was an obvious choice and we had always liked 'The Get Down'. I guess in the start we weren't taking ourselves that seriously and we just put an ampersand between the two and ran with it. I think for maybe the first two years we were out people just could not wrap their heads around our name. And I'm really happy those days are behind us [laughs]. It's still different, but people seem to enjoy the name a lot more these days.
Which musicians would you say you've been influenced by, individually or as a band?
We kind of connected on an influence-based background. Me and our bass player Ken are the two original members and we bonded over, oddly enough, a love for reggae. Our favorite, collectively, is probably G. Love & Special Sauce, who are a Philly-based band that kind of just set everything off for us; but it's so individual throughout the band. For me, it's all about your great American songwriters, your Bruce Springsteen's, your Bob Seger's, Tom Petty. I grew up on blues, it was always on in my house, so I'd say, for me, that. But Ken is completely reggae-based and John Mayer is a huge, huge, huge influence on the both of us. We have Erica in the band as well who's our female singer who really does look to strong female singers like Ingrid Michaelson - and Otis Redding too [laughs]. We're all over the place.
Is there someone that you're hooked on now?
I would say the new John Mayer waves have been really where we've been. We're a band that listens to everything! Anderson .Paak was really, really influential to us this year. Chance The Rapper. And Mondo Cozmo is a band that just came out of Philly that's exploding and that song "Shine" has just been on repeat for us. We're really all over the place [laughs].
If you were to make a playlist to share with your fans, what are a few songs you'd absolutely have to include?
Wow. Alright. I feel like some of these are going to be inside jokes for the band, but we definitely would have a very specific playlist. Let's do "Clarity" by John Mayer, "The Bird" by Anderson .Paak, "Fixin' To Die" by G. Love & Special Sauce, "Bulls On Parade" by Rage Against The Machine, "Ride Wit Me" by Nelly [laughs], and "Rosalita" by Bruce Springsteen. [Laughs] It's an interesting car ride on a regular basis.
Which words would you use to describe your sound to someone who had never heard your music?
It's a blend of a lot of American music. American is generally the word that we actually use. We're very blues-based, just good rock & roll, people like to use the word Southern, but we're from Northeast Philly so it's hard to do that [laughs]. It's blues, it's soul, it's Americana, so we generally just use the adjective 'American'.
What were your inspirations behind your single and the video for "Just A Kid"?
That song and video were like a year in the making. We had cut it with the rest of the album and we just knew it was a bigger song and what we had recorded just didn't cut it. So we went back to Nashville before we went on tour last February and we got back in the studio, recut it; and around that time we cut the beginning of that video. Around October, we cut the rest of the video because we were just in flux; we were touring a lot and trying to get everything locked down, but we finished it up. "Just A Kid" for the record that it's on, Roots Too Deep which just came out, was just in your face and a full force rock track we wanted to put out. As far as our subject matter, it's about experiencing the music industry firsthand and seeing the push and pull between creative and the business side and just maintaining your individuality - that's what "Just A Kid" is about.
Is that single indicative of what we can expect to hear on the new album, Roots Too Deep?
We cover a lot of bases. For me as a songwriter, I'm a little bit scatterbrained, but you're going to hear a lot of guitars, a lot of harmonies, you're going to get a little bit of everything that you like from Foxtrot [laughs] and if you're a music fan, it's a heavy, truthful album. It's a story. I think if you're looking for something specific, if you're looking for songwriting, if you're looking for big guitars, if you're looking for softer soul or heavier soul, you're going to find something that you like on this record.
Is there a track off the record you'd say is your favorite to perform live?
I really love the song we just dropped a video for the other day. It's called "Home With Me" and we'll generally end the shows with that song and I generally wind up on my back doing a guitar solo, so I really love doing that [laughs]. But something we've been doing recently is a song called "Ramblin' Back To You" and it's kind of the acoustic, Americana-driven track on the record that we've been having a saxophone and a violin sit in with us live on tour and that song, to me, just feels enormous. I really love the reaction we get with that track.
Could you tell us more about your weekly documentary series?
It was called Road to Roots and it was just giving somebody the inside look to what it takes to make a record, because people think you just cut it and release it. The funny part was, Mark Janavel our film guy, didn't follow us on tour, he followed us in the two months leading up to the record coming out that we weren't touring. We were doing photo shoots and PR calls and in the studio rehearsing or we were doing radio spots so it's really the real look into what it takes to make an album.
How would you sum up your album, Roots Too Deep, in one sentence?
Roots Too Deep is a story and a first person album; realistically, it's the story of the last few years of our lives traveling the country and really diving into what we're doing with our lives but really realizing how much you miss your home, which for us is Philadelphia, so it's a love letter to our hometown.
I always say that any interviews we've done for this album have been so easy for us because it's such a truthful, firsthand album that all we have to do is, realistically, open our mouths about what it's about [laughs]. There's no fluff on the record. There's no bullshit pop songs. They're pop-y, but it's all a story.
What do you hope listeners are able to take away from your music?
We're a very honest band. Watch Road to Roots, the documentary series, and watch how terribly awkward we are trying to do a photo shoot. We don't like to take ourselves too seriously and the fakeness that you can get out of that. What we want people to get out of it is just that we're in it for the music and that's what we do this for. People have ulterior motives all the time getting into any industry that involves art or film or music or TV; we're not in it for anything other than making music and giving it to people.
Is there anything you want to add?
The record's out everywhere and we'll definitely be in a city near you in 2017!