SouthSounds 2016, a regional music festival bringing an abundance of musical entertainment to stages in and around downtown Mobile, is fast approaching. This year’s festival will feature the inaugural Lagniappe New Southern Music Showcase.
Kicking off Sunday, April 10, at 1 p.m. on the Cathedral Square Stage, the showcase will feature five bands performing before a panel of judges to compete for a prize package that includes: three days of studio time with producer Rick Hirsch at his Studio H20; an “R&R/Writing Retreat” in Gulf Shores; gift certificates; and a feature in a future issue of Lagniappe.
Readers, meet one of the competing bands — Bantam Foxes from New Orleans, Louisiana.
In a scene laden with funk and jazz, Bantam Foxes is an excellent representation of the Big Easy’s rock scene. This trio is founded upon a philosophy inspired by Cake’s religious allusions in “Comfort Eagle.” Bantam Foxes is not looking for a fan base. This band is looking for dedicated rock disciples. Of course, the trio’s rock ‘n’ roll is the first and foremost method of attraction. Their alternative rock sound ranges from the rhythmically driven “Temperature’s Dropping” to the bouncing fuzz of “(I Wanna Move to) Texas.” Meanwhile, they’ve maintained a steady tour schedule.
“We’re out on the road almost every weekend,” according to bassist/vocalist Collin McCabe. “It brings us to Mobile pretty regularly and also over to Texas a lot. We’ve been up to the Midwest and the Northeast pretty regularly, which is a lot.”
Bantam Foxes has also kept their sound fresh by releasing new songs constantly. When the band first started, they would record in the studio with their longtime engineer/producer, Ben Lorio. Afterward, they would schedule steady releases of singles and EPs. While this method worked at the time, McCabe admits the process of promoting these singles every few weeks became difficult. As a result, Bantam Foxes released their first full-length CD, “Triumph,” in 2013. Since then they’ve decided on another avenue for promotions.
“Now the plan is to release two EPs every year,” McCabe explained. “We write and record eight or 10 songs at a time. We go in and get them all laid down, and our producer/engineer [Lorio] helps us sort through how they will match up with each other. Our next EP will be out in June.”
While all the items in the Lagniappe/SouthSounds prize package are desirable, McCabe said they are most looking forward to working with Hirsch at his studio. For years Lorio has guided them through their creation process. His latest bit of advice is to try working in a different studio with a different producer/engineer. McCabe said he feels this new environment and new personnel will help Bantam Foxes grow as a band.