Not many underground bands have such a buzzing hype around them as UK newcomers Proxies do, and what’s more, it’s well deserved. Proxies are one of those bands who have turned their passion into something tangible through hard work and dedication, actually getting off their arses and doing something rather than waiting for the industry to fall into the palms of their hands.
Producing records in their bedrooms, recording vocals under bunk beds, relentlessly networking and gaining the right contacts has put the band in a promising position at the start of their career. We catch up with keyboard player/programmer/vocalist/general-busy-body Jordan Fish to find out more…
Hey Jordan! First off can you explain how the formation of Proxies come about?
Kind of by accident in that we never planned to be a band. I had begun exploring electronic music with a couple of friends, who way more talented than I, mostly for fun but also to see them in action and learn from them. I knew Joe from college and it turned out he was doing something sonically similar around the time and suggested working on a song together. So we did. Then we worked on some more. Alex lives down the road from my parents and I asked him if he could play the songs so we could try and reproduce them in a live environment, we tried them a couple of times in Joe’s university house and had fun with it. We didn’t ever expect to play live, so when a couple of our friends that liked our music asked us to support them at a few shows, we were a little on the spot. I asked my friend Josh to play bass live for us, he played in a band I’d actually stumbled across via YouTube a while back. He added some vocals in rehearsal and as officially joined a couple of months later. A little while after that I think we realised we were a band.
Proxies mix many different styles and genres together, what artists have influenced Proxies?
So many. Each of us have such a wide variety of influences that when you include all of our influences together it begins to sound ridiculous. I think we’d all agree on artists like Brand New, Manchester Orchestra, Muse and Daft Punk being amongst the most influential. I know Joe listens to a lot of pop punk, particularly that New Jersey pop punk kind of sound and we share a lot of favourite bands. I listen to a lot of electronic music lately, but mostly am a rock music fan at core which might explain our sound a little. As a rule I could say everything Rob Swire and Gareth McGrillen work on is golden, the first Panic! At The Disco record is a masterpiece and Katy Perry‘s singles are only ever the best pop songs… I don’t know if that’s relevant.
Considering Proxies are a relatively new band you have toured with some high profile artists and worked with big names such as Sean Smith & Gareth McGrillen. What has led to your involvement with these credible acts so soon in your career?
We had to pay them one million pounds in hookers and drugs and cash and sexual favours. We got the cash by selling our insides to The Church Of Scientology. Not really. Our band has been really fortunate that super talented people have taken us under their wing and helped us out. Gareth has been a friend for a while and liked what we were doing. Gareth introduced me to Sean a while before our band started and the feature came naturally – we all knew each other and Gareth and I were kind of on the same brainwave with the song and both had Sean in mind to do the additional vocal on it and kind of mentioned it to each other at the same time. Gareth is the nicest dude on the planet and we wouldn’t be where we are now without his help.
You have created an impressive online following and are well known for networking with fans via social media. But the internet often comes under fire with regards to illegal downloading. Do you think the internet is the future or the demise of the music industry?
The music industry is changing a lot, so in that respect the internet probably does bring about the demise of the old model. That said, our band would not exist at all without the internet. That’s really simple. It has been how people discover our music, how we’ve distributed music, how we keep people that care about our band informed on what we are doing. Beyond word-of-mouth and the little touring we have done, it has been the only form of communication we have had. Online merch orders have come in from Chile to Argentina to all corners of the US and Australia. Those people will only know about our band because of the internet. YouTube makes an almost level-playing-field for the discovery of music and great undiscovered content goes viral every day thanks to sites like Reddit. So it is the demise of an old model but it is also the future of the industry. The faster bands (and labels) can adapt to the internet generation instead of trying to control and dictate it, the quicker that will be realised I think.
‘Lost Tapes Volume 1’ epitomizes a DIY attitude to music by self producing the EP and hand-making the physical copies. What are your thoughts on the EP now that it’s complete and out there for people to hear?
I’m really glad we did it. The response has been overwhelming. To hear people singing along at shows to songs we wrote and recorded in our bedrooms is really strange and makes us even more proud of it.
It seems Proxies never stop working! Do you have plans to release new material anytime soon?
Yes! We started working straight away on a sequel to the free EP, which we are recording in our bedrooms and producing ourselves once again. It will be released in the next few weeks. We have also been working for a while with back with Gareth and another producer Andy Gray on an official release. So that’s on the way too.
Selling out physical copies of your EP in seconds and being announced for Reading & Leeds are impressive achievements, how does it make you feel?
I am convinced it is a big elaborate prank that one of my friends has planned and everybody is in on the joke. It definitely has just crept up on us and been a huge surprise. We’re all a little bit shocked but determined to try and make the best of it.
So finally, after an impressive start, where do you see Proxies in 5 years time?
Haha, wow. Hopefully we will have put an album out properly. I’d like to be able to perform a headline tour too. But I don’t even know what we’ll be doing in 5 months time, 5 years is such a huge scale. Maybe Joe will be working on a solo experimental acapella folk punk album and Alex will be trying his hand at movies. Maybe people will say they liked us better when we recorded EPs in our bedrooms and struggled to survive, before we sold out and recorded in one of those “mainstream recording studios”. Or maybe nobody will care. Regardless, I like to think we’ll still be making music.
Make sure you check out Proxies at their up coming UK dates and of course at this years Reading & Leeds festival.
WORDS: EMMA WALLACE