Vox and the Hound playing at New Orleans on Tap (photo courtesy of: Vox and the Hound facebook)
This Saturday (April 7th) you can catch New Orleans-based rock band Vox and the Hound perform at One Eyed Jack’s with the alt-electronic duo ROAR! I caught up with a couple members of the band to talk about their latest album and the eternal joys of “cheesy” 70s and 80s sounds.
Q: Would you mind telling me a little bit about your roles in the band, what you play, and what you kind of do?
Leo DeJesus: I sing, play— fumble my way through a little bit of guitar. And the project definitely started out as sort of my songs, my writing. But it has evolved way beyond that and I’m almost an extra in the band now [Laughing]
Andrew Jarman: [Laughing] I would hardly say that! I play bass, I sing some of the backup— fumble through backup vocals with Leo.
Q: Tell me a little bit about how the band came together. Leo, this was initially your project, right?
LD: Yeah, a while back I was the lead singer of another band which disbanded. And then after that I was playing in a couple other groups. But I was [a] side-guy, playing other people’s music— which was still fun and great, but I had the yearning to get back out there and play my own stuff. So I started playing solo shows and for some reason I tagged myself as Vox and the Hound and then got this one show that needed a whole band assembled four of the best guys I could think of and then almost eight years later here we are.
NolaVie: Have y’all found tricks to help along the writing process without wanting to ring the others’ necks?
AJ & LD: No. [Laughing]
Q: [Laughing] There’s a short answer! So there is no consensus building or there’s no we need to go to this one person that’s going to break the tie?
AJ: No. There’s always leadership within each role and there’s certain people who will step up and decide to make this their project. And that definitely made it easier because we can— as other bullheaded people, we can quiet it down and let that other person go nuts and try out what they have to try—[Laughs] even if we know it’s a bad idea.
Q: [Laughs] No, I get that! What about this pivot in your musical styles from the album you did in 2012, Courage, to Aloha Shores.
LD: Yeah, in a weird way I think after Courage came out we looked at the songs and we sort of noticed every song would start off small and build to a big climax. [For this album] Eric, the drummer, said he wanted to do more road-trip songs. Just grooves that just sit. Also, [we] recorded it a lot differently. Whereas with Courage we lived in a studio for weeks, with this album, over the course of two and a half years, we would go to the studio every two months and record one song, finish that one, and leave that one behind. And somehow in that process it just called for more keyboards than anything and we ran with that sound because we were enjoying it so much.
AJ: I think part of how this came to be also is the fact that we were writing a lot more in the studio and it wasn’t that we had the songs and we’ve been playing them for six or seven months like we were doing and with Courage. We could elaborate on all the craziest ideas that we had before not thinking about whether or not we could play this live.
Yeah I get that and I love the end result of that which is you’re taking kind of these cheesy late-70s [and] 80s sounds and repurposing them for really interesting results. And adding that funk in there.
AJ: We all we all went headlong into Yacht Rock [Laughing] and I think it really comes across.
Q: I love that! What are your thoughts of kind of balancing “the cheese” with some of the newer things that have happened in the earlier 90s and 2000’s since that music became dated?
AJ: What’s “cheese” now is going to be cool in about a year-and-a-half and what we’re playing right now is—
AJ: It’s like a nice…brie-yere. [Laughing] Gruyere.
LD: [Laughing] That’s good.
AJ: I made a new cheese. But, yeah I think that “cheesiness” is– you’re not going to avoid it. And we’ve all gotten older and to a point where we don’t really care if it’s super cool or not. We just like the way it sounds so let’s go nuts with it.
Q: What are your favorite songs on the album? Is there one in particular that you really love?
LD: My favorite is “Warn.” That one was the most fun to record. That’s one of the ones where we really let some of our “stupidest ideas” run. I went in there and sang in a way I’ve never sung anything before because it seemed to fit. And then later that night we got bottles of wine and a saxophone player and we were recording a saxophone solo and it was just a bunch of ideas that probably shouldn’t have worked that came out to be my favorite.
AJ: Mine was “A Taste of the Himalayas.” There is no song that we’ve ever started with less than a hundred beats per minute and that one just feels good. I like the way that it immerses me. [Laughing]
This interview has been shortened and edited for clarity.