Bison, Bears, and FOXTRAX
>> Last week we went to see Foxtrax and Barns Courtney play at the Waiting Room in Buffalo. While we were there, we did an interview with the three very talented members of Foxtrax: Jon Stenz (drummer), Jared Stenz (bass), and Ben Schneid (vocals, guitar, piano). Every single member in Foxtrax was grateful, down-to-earth, and very humble; we loved getting to know a bit more about these skilled musicians.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with Foxtrax, the band is originally from Long Island and has relocated to Los Angeles. However, the band has a lot of ties to the Western, New York region (Jon and Jared both went to Syracuse University; Ben went to Cornell). Many of their friends are from this region and they explained that coming to Buffalo was like a homecoming for them.
The birth of Foxtrax, according to Ben, was destined. “I was coming back from Israel,” he tells us. “On the plane, I made a list of goals I wanted to accomplish in the next year.” Ben explained that during this time, he got to wondering what the Stenz brothers were up to. “When I got home, Jon texted me saying, ‘you want to jam?’ I was like, ‘Woah, this is quite strange!’” Turns out, during the time Ben spent in Israel, the Stenz brothers (Jon and Jared) realized they were missing a key piece to their band. “In order to be a good musician, you need help. You need to find other people who know something you don’t. Which is what Ben is for us.” Jon said. “He just knew stuff that Jared and I didn’t. I think that we had different perspectives on music and we just came from different areas, but we all had the same goal: to make good music.”
Once Ben became part of the band, now known as Foxtrax, the rest was history. They all went to a cabin in the middle of nowhere to record their first EP, which is (of course) called, The Cabin. This experience brought out raw, emotional, and unbelievably catchy songs. If you haven’t had a chance to listen to it yet, I highly recommend that you do! We were curious -- what about this experience (recording in a cabin) helped shape their first EP? “There is something different about being in the middle of nowhere,” Ben replied. “To be a great artist, you have to have great and very weird experiences. If you don’t have those experiences, you can’t do that.”
Foxtrax has come a long way since the recording of their first EP. In fact, they just finished recording their second EP! Jon excitedly told us, “We finished it up two days ago in a studio in Brooklyn. We started the second half of the tour with Barns Courtney. The producers we worked with (who have also worked with Florence and the Machine and Wolf Alice) took our music and songs to another level. I think this is going to be a really great step forward for us.” Curious about the direction of the new EP, we asked if it was much different from their first. “It’s an evolution,” Jared began. “You can find threads that run through it. We still listen to the same music we used to listen to, but we also listen to a lot of new music too. I would classify it as a very mature step.” What exactly does Foxtrax listen to? Well, they are huge fans of Cage the Elephant, JAIN, and Glass Animals. Who isn’t inspired by these talented musicians?!
Next, we decided to ask some weird questions. (We know our readers love weird questions.) So, if Jared could fight any celebrity, who would it be? “Gary Busey,” he decided. “I feel like if you fight Gary Busey, afterwards you’re just going to be boys and no one would ever mess with you ever again.” After getting over laughing at the image of Jared fighting Gary Busey, we asked Ben if he would rather fight a bear or wrestle a crocodile. Ben answered without much thought, “A bear for sure. You know how sneaky crocodiles are. They lurk through the water; they freak me out.” This question reminded Jon of a recent experience the band had with a wild Bison, “We saw a Bison while we were at a state park. The Bison started chasing after us. The video is on our instagram @foxtraxband.”
Wrapping up the interview, we asked the band what they wanted to say to their fans here in Western/Upstate New York. Ben excitedly talked about their upcoming EP release: “Please give the new album a listen when it comes out. I think it’s going to be magical. First single is going to be in August. We are just really stoked. A lot of our music has a lot of Western, New York influence in it and we can’t wait to share it with you!”
We can’t wait to hear the new EP! Floated is eagerly awaiting for Foxtrax’s return to Western, New York.