Sometimes, a small band will rise above and beyond any expectation. Sometimes, one posting on Soundcloud can give you chills in amount to a highly regarded album. And sometimes, even the youngest of musicians can surpass the talent of that of any band of more experience. Such is the case with Redfox, a trio from my hometown of Portland, making indie alternative “foresty” music with Astrid Scherlie, Sophie Shely, and Octavio Dowling.
I’ve been following this band since their first post on Soundcloud, back when it was only just a solo project by Scherlie. The first track I heard was Forest, which you can listen to here. It took hold of me from the beginning, and I waited for more with excitement. With the release of their debut EP, a collection of four songs sung solo by Scherlie, available on Bandcamp, and a new EP featuring the rest of the trio set to drop late April, I set up a group chat via Facebook with the band to discuss their formation, new projects, and hopes for the future.
indie/alt – So, let’s begin by having you all state your name, age, what instrument you play in the band, and, best of all, your favorite record.
Octavio Dowling – Octavio Dowling, 15, piano in the band, and my favorite record is Genius Sings the Blues by Ray Charles
Sophie Shely – My name is Sophie Shely and I’m 16 and I sing and I guess now I play bass sometimes and my favorite record changes every day but it might be Physical Graffiti by Led Zeppelin
Astrid Scherlie – I’m Astrid, I’m 16 years old, and I play guitar and sing lead in Redfox. My favorite record is For Emma by Bon Iver, because Bon Iver has been such a huge influence to my writing.
indie/alt – Cool! So, Octavio and Sophie, you joined the band in 2013. How did you all meet and how long did you know each other prior?
Astrid – We met at School of Rock!
Octavio – Well I’ve known Sophie since the Stevie wonder show in 2012 from school of rock. We have all met from there. I would say the three of us all really became good friends counseling the summer camps last summer
Sophie – We all met through going to school of rock together. Tavi and I met almost 2 years ago on our first show which was Stevie wonder and I got to know Astrid when we assisted on a green day/nirvana camp last summer.
Astrid – I’ve known Sophie and Octavio for only about a year now. We weren’t really friends until we volunteered for School of Rock summer camps.
indie/alt – Awesome! Love what School of Rock does! So, this originally started out as a solo project by Astrid in 2010. Astrid, did you come up with the name before?
Astrid – Well I named the band about a year ago. Our type of music we write we like to describe as “foresty”, so what better thing to name your band after than a little forest animal?
indie/alt – Definitely, and I feel like the name really sums up your sound. Speaking of which, what genre do you guys really classify yourselves as? I’ve heard foresty, singer-songwriter, acoustic, piss emo. Is there one you could choose?
Sophie – I would say foresty and one time Astrid described it in a way I thought was cool which was drinking coffee in space.
Astrid – I would classify our sound as folk. That could change in the future, but right now we’re sticking to strictly acoustic guitar and piano. We call ourselves piss emo as a joke, because most of our songs are meant to feel really sad.
Octavio – Foresty alternative folk? I really hear something original in it and I am glad I can’t really give it a specific genre
indie/alt – I agree with all of those. The genre isn’t really describable, and in my opinion that’s a very good quality for a band to have. It means unique sound! So, being a foresty-folk-alternative-drinking-coffee-in-space kind of band, what is your music making process? Such as writing, recording?
Octavio – Sending songs to each other on the spot after making it a few minutes before? Astrid probably can answer this best
Sophie – Yeah I think we write stuff individually and once we have a song we record a demo and send it to everyone, and then we all add to it as a group.
Astrid – I write most of the songs, so I write the songs and then record them as demos. This process can take anywhere from 20 minutes to a week for a single song. Sophie does the same thing, so we’re constantly sending demos back and forth, and editing them to sound exactly how we want. We haven’t professionally recorded before, so any demos that are in existence right now are songs recorded by me in my bedroom.
indie/alt – A way many bands start out: in the bedroom. I think I see a professional studio somewhere in your future though. So, Astrid, you mentioned Bon Iver as an inspiration for your writing. Are there any other inspirations you take? Sophie, Octavio, same for you. Any writing inspirations that stand out among all?
Sophie – Well Astrid inspires me because when you work like that in a project with someone of course they’re going to inspire you. Other than that I don’t have a lot of inspirations that stand out. I just think of forests and candles.
Astrid – I have a lot of influences in different aspects of my writing. The Smiths, my favorite band, inspire me lyrically because their lyrics are so sad and personal, and I try to bring out that side of me in my writing as well. Grimes is actually a pretty big influence for me vocally, because she does tons of vocal harmonies and strange things with her voice, which is something I try to do in my music as well. Bon Iver is definitely my inspiration for the musical side of writing, I love the sound of acoustic guitar and reverb!
Octavio – Hard to say, trying to produce pure feeling in sound form with a foresty tone?
indie/alt – So, moving on from writing and recording, let’s talk about live performances. You recently opened for The Ecstatics and Kyla & Justine. What was that experience like for you guys, being your first gig? And when can we expect another Redfox gig, because I sadly missed the first.
Astrid – Our first gig was an incredible experience for me. It had actually been a goal of mine for a long time to play a live show of all original music, and it felt awesome to achieve that. Especially since our first gig went pretty perfectly (not that we can expect that every time in the future!) It really made me realize how far I’ve come from hating everything I write, to playing what I’ve written to strangers! It’s a very soul baring experience to say the least.
Octavio – Well having done quite a few shows from school of rock and my other band, it was a great show. It was a little difficult because we had to do it on two days notice. We put in a lot of effort though and it paid off at the show. The crowd was great and the place was great!
Astrid – We will be playing a show later this month, and we’ll have more details as we get them.
Sophie – I think it was a pretty incredible experience for all of us, and for me and Astrid it was our first time playing our original music for an audience, which is a huge step as a musician.
Astrid – Yes, we had two days notice for our first gig! It was difficult because we had only been a band for a little over a month, but we rallied and I’m really proud of my band members for pulling everything together so quickly.
indie/alt – Great to know it went well despite the short notice, and that there’s more to come! So, with as far as you guys have come, what is your ultimate direction for the band? What goals do you wish to achieve and what do you see in your future?
Astrid – My personal next goal is to record a full length album with my band members! And actually, I would LOVE to play an outdoor show this summer. That would be honestly a dream come true even though it sounds insignificant.
Sophie – Yeah I’m pretty excited about the aspect of a possible full length album coming up! Other than that it’s hard to say, but I’m excited to see what’s in store for us!
Octavio – I entrust full confidence in Sophie and Astrid. This material is so good yet so genuine at the same time. The first time I heard Astrid post a Redfox song back when it was solo, I listened to forest, and it felt so genuine and pure. It was so much I was taking in listening to it that I had to sit down. I think it’s amazing and I want to promote it as much as I can so as many people as possible can hopefully experience what I felt when I listened to it the first time, and even when I listen to it today
indie/alt – Octavio, I have to agree with you there. Forest was the first I heard as well, and it is a very powerful track! Hope to see it make the LP! Astrid, you just released a solo EP for Redfox onto Bandcamp, and I’ve heard there is soon to be an EP featuring the whole band. When can we expect that, and where else can new fans listen to your music?
Astrid – We are hoping to release an EP with the whole band sometime in late April. I frequently post some of my more favorite demos on my soundcloud, which is under the name ForestAnimals, and I totally invite people to come and listen to some of my more raw and unedited songs! They are basically little song seeds that are waiting to sprout and grow into something more polished and beautiful with the help of my bandmates!
indie/alt – Looking forward to it for sure! So, before I let you go, I have one more question. Do you have any advice for other young aspiring bands that want to make it farther?
Octavio – Expressing myself through music is one of the greatest things I feel like I’ve accomplished with my life. It probably saved it too. But if you write yourself, remember patience. You don’t become the Beatles overnight. If you have persistence and patience, you can achieve anything
Sophie – For me I think I would have to say just do it. I’m still pretty hesitant to share my original music but you can’t make that first step until you forget about what people are going to think and just put yourself out there.
Astrid – Redfox is just starting out, but my advice? Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there! How do you expect to get anywhere when you’re too afraid to take the first few steps? The hardest thing I had to get over was sharing my music with other people because I thought it was silly and terrible. But I’m so glad I finally decided to just put my music out there, because it’s really paying off. Also, find people who you work well with, and are able to compromise and give their honest opinions. I honestly wouldn’t have been able to get anywhere with my music if it wasn’t for Sophie and Octavio. They have been so supportive of me and my music, and they have added so much to this project because they are both incredibly talented and creative.
indie/alt – Well, thank you guys for taking the time to talk! I really appreciate it! I hope this was as fun for you as it was for me! Anything else you want to say before we close it up?
Astrid – I also want to add that you can’t have success without hard work!
Octavio – When you make music, enjoy making it! That’s what’s it’s all about!