CUT met up with Foy Vance before his sold out show at Islington Assembly Hall yesterday in London. Foy wasn’t in town to promote an album, or a single…he was there, as he said, “for the joy of nothing”.
The new material from the forthcoming album sounded stronger, bolder and more confident with ‘Like An Animal’, ‘Janey’ and ‘Joy of Nothing’ being stand out songs from the night. Other highlights included his rendition of Macklemore’s hit ‘Thrift Shop’ and when his good friend Harley from the Rizzle Kicks joined him on stage for a performance of ‘Pain Never Hurt Me Like Love’. Foy had the crowd eating of his hand even after he’d left the stage, with the audience chanting the chorus to ‘Guiding Light’out into the cold London night as they left.
You recently supported Ed Sheeran on his sold out tour. How was that for you?
You know what, it was great fun! There was a time in my life that I would have turned down a tour that I conceived as “pop”. Not for any aloof reasons. Just because I would have thought I didn’t belong there or have any place there. But I’ve become very close with Ed over the last year or so. He invited me on the UK tour and I was in such a funny head space on the UK tour – it was a long story but basically for personal reasons, I was in a funny head space and felt like I’d made a complete balls of it. So I asked him if I could do the US tour. Me and my daughter went out and just had the best of craic.Such great fun.
How did you find it performing to such a different audience?
Well you know what, it’s hard to gage because my head wasn’t in the right place. My tenacity levels were at an all time low last October when I was supporting in the UK. So I didn’t really take on what needed to be done for his crowd. I just went out and played a set that for the large part I would have performed for my own crowd. And actually then I realised that’s not what needs doing here. So U.S went a whole lot better. I don’t think that’s down to the crowd necessarily more as it was just down to my head space. I was able to take it on a bit better.
Is touring something that you enjoy or did the UK experience affect how you feel about touring?
I love touring. I will probably be on tour, for the most part, for the next 3 years, until my daughter needs to go to high school. She’s 9 at the moment. She tours with me. Although she’s with her mummy tonight who lives in London.
There’s been 7 years in between your last album ‘Hope’ and the new album ‘Joy of Nothing’. Did you intentionally plan to wait so long and just release the EP’s instead? Was that a calculated move?
No, I rarely intentionally plan anything. I write a lot. So I guess I thought I would release that one and then release one soon after. But I didn’t have the right team around me, I didn’t have the right people around me to facilitate that or make that happen. I didn’t mean for that to happen at all. I always had a lot of songs but I never had the right collection of songs. But predominantly I didn’t have the right team around me. I had elements of the right team, some of them were great, some of them were not so great.
Did any of the songs on this album go on a place you hadn’t anticipated?
With this record I just tried to follow the songs really. What was important for me on this album was just to work with the right musicians and see what happened naturally. See if it was something that I liked and most importantly see if it was something that articulated the songs. I feel like it did.
Do you feel more confident with the new album compared to ‘Hope’?
Is it hard to share such personal lyrics with the public?
No it’s not hard. I mean all of my songs are based in personal experience. But there’s always room to magicify that. Just made up a word there. Majicify. Call me Leif Ericson.
How was the experience of making the new video with your daughter during the U.S part of the Ed Sheeran tour?
It was a completely natural experience. We had a couple of days off in L.A. We had a friend out there who I’d met who came to do some shots and we just clicked. He does a lot of videos for Mumford & Sons and boys like that. He basically invited us out in his campervan. We just drove up the PCH, way out past Malibu and camped out for the night. Aside from singing the song a few times, but even that was natural as we were literally doing that. Sitting round singing anyway and he had to say sing ‘the’ song. So it was very natural. It was completely uncontrived.
What does she make of your whole career, coming on tour with Ed Sheeran etc?
Listen, she’s a 9 year old girl. She loved it, loved it. She got on great with Ed and Ed really took a shine to her and looked after her. He bought her her first ukulele. They got on great, and with the Rizzle Kicks as well.
So what are the rest of the plans for 2013?
Plans for 2013 in regards to the album and all that is completely in the hands of people I trust. I’m signed to a great label called Glassnote. I’ve got great publishers called Primary Wave. I’ve got great managers and great agents. And that’s their job. And thankfully it is because I have no idea what to do. I will be touring but that’s for them to put together. My job is to look after my kid, live life and write songs about it.
And we must ask what’s with the new look, the new moustache?
The Sergeant Major? Movemeber has gone into Manuary, Mebuary. It started because I was on tour and I didn’t have time to shave. And then I went straight from tour into studio and I didn’t have time to shave. By the end of that I was like Emperor Ming. And when I was shaving it all off I thought I would just keep that. My friend Jane bought me some tach-wax and that was that. My daughter, who didn’t like it to begin with, now says,
“it would be weird to see you without it daddy.”
Photography by Dee Christensen