By Thomas S. Orwat Jr.
Knee High Fox is an uncompromising, hard-hitting, musically diverse band, fronted by the lovely actress and songwriter, Krsy Fox. In addition to Krsy Fox, Knee High Fox consist of: Simon Nagel on bass, Sam Bam Koltun on guitar and Harley Dewinter on drums.
This Hollywood, California-based band, who formed in 2012, have developed a great reputation as a live band, opening for the likes of Marilyn Manson, Powerman 5000, Orgy and Theory of a Deadman and many others.
Knee High Fox, recently released their second full length record, ‘Jawbreak.’ This eight track release is a masterfully crafted, sonic assault on the senses. This is a band that has no boundaries and are truly on the verge of something huge. You must check this band out!
What follows in an exclusive Rock Music Star interview with the stunning, talented and blood lusting – Krsy Fox of Knee High Fox.
Rock Music Star: Hello Krsy. Let’s start of with a brief summary how Knee High Fox was formed.
KF: I am from Canada, originally me and my bass player, Simon and we moved down to Los Angeles, and we formed in 2011. It basically came from I was a songwriter, writing for other bands, and I needed an outlet to do a little something more creative and selfish. So, I thought, “Well, let’s just start a band and see what happens.” I’ve always been into theatrical bands and visuals that’s always been really important to me with the bands that I’ve looked up to. I’m like, “Let’s just make this crazy project that just sums up everything we really love, and uses a lot of different elements.” So, musically, our band, it’s hard to categorize. We’ve got some poppy choruses, we’ve have some heavy parts. There’s rap; there’s a little bit of everything.
RMS: Knee High Fox is very musically diverse. There is rap in there, and there’s electric beats. There’s times that you would maybe come across as a metal band.
KF: Right, exactly. We just wanted to make this new kind of sound. People are always like, “Well, what genre are you? What are you like?” I kind of never know how to answer that, because I feel like you should make up your own mind. I feel like music is really subjective. Because I’ve written for so many different types of bands, and I listen to basically every different kind of music, I wanted to create something that was unique and really honest coming from me. Simon and I have really similar tastes, and things that we like and grew up loving.So, yeah, that’s kind of how the band started.
We moved to L.A. and started doing residencies and playing live like crazy. We kind of built a following from there. We started touring, and we expanded. We just kind of did it very naturally. We really focused on making music we were proud of, and playing live, which I think is really important. A lot of bands now, they can be successful before they really get out on the road, or really get out and play. I feel like we kind of did the opposite we played a lot.
We’re definitely a band where, anyone who follows us says, “You have to see them live.” I think that’s a cool thing to know. Some people are like, “We love your live show more than anything.” And that’s really cool.
RMS: You’ve opened for some pretty big bands in during your career: Marilyn Manson, Powerman 5000, Hed P.D., Theory of a Deadman, and Orgy. You must be a pretty decent live band, to get the attention of artists like that.
KF: Well, thank you. Yeah, it’s been a really, really amazing ride for us, because you know, me personally, and Simon I can speak for, as well- Manson, when I discovered him, I think I was in like, 4th grade, and I was like, “Wow, there’s somebody out there that is as weird as I feel inside, and as cool.” I felt like his lyrics were so deep. I was always a really big Manson fan.
When I was a little kid and dreamt of being in a band one day, that was something I thought I would probably never do. I ended up doing two tours with him, so it was a pretty crazy experience for us. Our bands went really well together. We both have a theatrical element. We’re slightly- I don’t want to say more poppy- but, girl-fronted, it’s a little different, but it was very complimentary. I learned a ton from him; I think we all did.
Yeah, with bands like Powerman, we just played for these really, really insane crowds with joshing and violence. It’s a different energy that you would never really experience unless you got on the road with some of these bands. So, we’ve incorporated things from all of these different bands into our shows, so it’s been a really cool experience for us.
RMS: How challenging and intimidating was it for you to have to play in front of their audiences, especially Manson’s audience?
KF: You never know, going out there. The first day, I was like, “People are going to either hate us, or hopefully love us.” We didn’t know, and honestly, you never really can. We’ve been really lucky that, with the bands we’ve played for, the audiences have really accepted us. The Manson crowd actually has this group called, “The Marilyn Manson Cult.” It’s a group of people that follow him all over the country. They started a group for us called, “The Killing Room,” which is named after one of our songs. They’ve been really amazing, and we’ve got so many fans just from doing that tour. Literally, we’ll go play in Idaho, and they’ll drive across the country to see us. It’s been a really cool experience.
There’s such a culture around bands like Manson. It’s like a lifestyle. It’s beyond just being in a band. I have fans that I feel like, we are more excited to see them than they are to see us at this point, because they just make the show come alive for you. It’s really cool.
RMS: I want to talk a little bit about your new release. ‘Jawbreaker,’ is your second record that you have released. Tell me a little bit about the making of the record. When did you start writing? What is the writing process like for the band?
KF: We started in, I guess it was early last year, kind of just messing around and figuring out what we wanted to do. It was actually a cool process because we recorded like, 95% of the album at my house, which was pretty unique. I really wanted to take my time with this record and make sure it was everything we wanted to put out there. I wanted it to be something to be really proud of.
We hadn’t done another full-length, so I was kind of like, “Ok, what kind of story, what kind of album.” I feel like an album, even though, with streaming now, people don’t really buy a record, I feel like a record should still be a journey when you play it front to back. So, I didn’t know exactly what, I just thought, “Let’s just write some songs.”
We got together with producer, Greg Johnson, and he’s a good friend. We sat down and we just built these different tracks that really summed up what I was saying earlier. There are little elements of everything. I didn’t want to just have a straight-ahead guitar record, but my guitar player needs his little pieces. I didn’t want a straight-ahead bass-heavy record. I was just kind of trying to figure it out. Obviously, if you’re used to my lyrics, I’m a very conceptional writer. I wanted to have fun songs like, “Witch,” and, “Jawbreaker,” which were actually the last two songs that we wrote for the record. I felt like I had everything else, but I’m like, “I don’t have those fun, story-telling weird songs.”
The very last song I wrote was, “Jawbreaker.” I fell asleep one night, right before Greg was coming over the next morning, to that movie, “Jennifer’s Body.” I’ve always been super inspired by all these different movies, like the movie, “Jawbreaker,” and the movie, “The Craft.” I’ve had songs based on that movie before, because I can relate to a lot of different elements of the movies in my own life. It kind of becomes like this weird mishmash true story.
So, I fell asleep to, “Jennifer’s Body,” and I had this really weird nightmare where I had a group of friends, and one of us ends up dying. I think it was because I could hear the movie in the background while I was sleeping. So, literally, that song is based on my nightmare that I had before Greg got there. So, it’s kind of weird. I’ve never really done anything like that. Whenever I write songs, I try to be really honest and put a lot of myself into it. But, “Jawbreaker,” is a mix of very bad things and, “Jennifer’s Body,” meets the movie, “Jawbreaker.” It’s a fun song.
RMS: You release this record independently, correct?
KF: Yeah, we did have a label early on. It didn’t really share our vision for what the band was. Like I said before, because I started writing for other bands, coming from that world, I really needed this band to be artistic and exactly the way I envisioned it to be. I felt like it was trying to take the band and turn it into something a little more generic, and I just didn’t want that to happen. I actually ended up getting out of the record deal before we released anything, which was really cool. My lawyer did a very good job (laughs).
RMS: So now you have complete control, and you pretty much play by your rules, and nobody else’s. You like that freedom?
KF: Yeah. Honestly, I feel like more and more now, I can do so much without a label. Having the right record label is fantastic. Some of my friends are on great labels, and they understand the band and the vision, and they do a great job. Until we encounter a partner that we feel really gets the band and loves the band for what it is, and understand the theatrics and the visuals that go along with the music, it’s best to have control over something like this. It’s much more creative. I direct all of our videos and edit all of our videos. I love that it’s me and my band. It’s just a really cool thing to have.
RMS: The videos, too; that’s definitely something I want to mention. For the past week, I’ve been watching through all of your videos, and they’re very entertaining.
KF: Thank you!
RMS: You’re welcome. With not having the support of a major label and doing them yourself, they’re very entertaining. I was hoping we could go through some of the videos quickly. Let’s start with, “Black Widow.” Can you just tell us a little bit about that video?
KF: That was actually our very first song we ever released, and it was the very first video we ever did. So, that was one of the few where we had someone else come in and direct. We’ve had a couple. So, I had this idea for the video, and I approached this director, Casey Patrick Tebo, who is fantastic. He’s done a lot of stuff. I think he actually has a documentary about Steven Tyler coming out. He does film and stuff like that.
I had this idea for the song, and he heard the song, and he was digging it. And I was just like, “What if it was just this dark room, and you stand around and it almost just gets more weird; it’s kind of like this orgy-type thing? But then, people just start getting naked and sweaty, but then I just start like, eating people?” And he was like, “I love it!” So he took it to the next level.
We rented out a room in this rehearsal space called, “Swing House.” They’ve actually moved since. But we practiced there in L.A. all the time. So, we got this room, and we shot it in the dark, basically, with the light on the top of his camera. He’s such a fantastic director, and he knows exactly what he’s doing. It was like, three hours. I had a bunch of people come down.
I did a casting post on Facebook, and some friends. I said, “Look, there’s free drinks. Just get drunk.” People were just going for it. I swear to God, there’s these two people who were on the couch. They replied to the Facebook casting thing and were like, “We’re boyfriend and girlfriend; we’d love to come down and do it.” They had a good look, so I was like, “Yeah!”
I swear, they were having sex during the video (laughs). The girl ended up pregnant like, a month later. So, I’m not gonna say that it happened, but it looked very much like it. I was going around the room interacting, and biting people. It was an edgy video, for sure. Everyone was just drunk and having a good time (laughs). So, yeah, by the end of the video, I end up eating everybody, covered in blood and naked. I figured, if we’re gonna go for it, and we’re going to do something different with this band, let’s go as far as we can on the first video. So we did (laughs).
RMS: The next video, “Kiss Me Kill Me.”
KF: Oh, that was a fun video. So, actually, Spider One from Powerman 5000 directed that one. We sat down, and the song was done for a while, and I was like, “I want to do a cool video for this.” I had some ideas, and he had some ideas, and it formed into this really weird idea. I’m like, this cheerleader coming home from school, and everywhere I go, I encounter these over-the-top, horror movie-esque characters. It’s almost tongue in cheek to horror movies and superhero movies.
So, I come through the woods, and I run into this guy called… Bat Boy, I think his character was called (laughs). He’s in this like, white suit, and he has this baseball bat with nails in it. He starts chasing me through the woods, and I get away. It’s very Texas Chainsaw Massacre at the end. I keep running, and I run into this alley near these dumpsters.
Bitchfork shows up, and it’s like this creepy girl with a potato sack on her head, and she’s got a pitchfork. She starts chasing me and trying to kill me. So, I run into this warehouse, and I get into this elevator, and there’s this guy with this white mask and a knife; very Michael Myers-esque meets American Psycho or something (laughs). He starts chasing me through, and finally, I’ve had enough. So, I put on my fox mask, and I attack all these characters and end up killing them. And then, I just walk home from school.
It was a fun day. The Bat Boy was actually our guitar player. He played that character. The guy in the mask was actually our bass player, Simon. Bitchfork was my best friend, Michelle. We have this joke, because she’s in every single one of our videos, basically. If we can incorporate her somehow, even in small amounts; it’s just like, a joke. She’s not an actress, absolutely doesn’t have anything to do with the type of music we do. She’s kind of like a hippie Phoebe from Friends. So, it’s just kind of a joke between us, trying to incorporate her in every video, if we can. It was a great day. And then we went and got drunk afterwards, so we had a great time (laughs).
RMS: How about “Killing Room.”
KF: Oh, yeah. That was a really fun video. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with that song. I always loved the song. It was a little different for us; it was a mellower, kind of sexy song. And then I thought, “Well, what if I’m this girl, and I get kidnapped and trapped in the killing room, and going through all these weird, nightmarish things where I’m being watched by surveillance cameras and I can’t get out?” I find my bass player dead, and I don’t know what’s going on. It’s all of these things. But, at the end of the video, it kind of eludes to that it’s all in my head, and I’m the one who’s all fucked up. It was a cool video to do. It was pretty edgy. I think I ended up getting naked in that video, too (laughs). I just figured, if we’re gonna bare it, and make it just be very vulnerable with this girl who’s going through these dark, twisted things, you wanna feel bad for her. But, in the end, it’s just her being completely fucked up. That was the ultimate idea of the video.
RMS: And then, your most recent one, “American Beauty.”
KF: Oh, that was a good day. So, we actually shot that- I have this like, cabana thing in my backyard- so we were just like, “Let’s do this.” Anyone who has seen us live, especially within the past year and a half knows we do black lights and glow paint; it’s very much a part of our live show. I was like, “I really want to take that element, and put it in a video, especially for some of the newer stuff because you know, it really shows the live show meets the video.” I was like, “Let’s do something fun like this.” It’s almost like one of those glow paint parties. We literally plasticized my entire cabana like head to toe.
There’s still paint everywhere, though. It was totally destroyed. But we were like, “Oh cool, a Dexter-esque plastic everything.” It was cool to just go crazy and do this cool live video with like these weird people partying and spraying glow paint. Visually, it will look really amazing. And that’s what we did. We basically shot for three hours, and we were all soaking wet and freezing and covered in paint, but it was a really fun day. We did some casting, and we had a lot of friends in that video. We just basically trashed my cabana. The ceiling is still glow painted; it’s insane.
RMS: It really seems like you’re comfortable in front of the camera. Do you have any aspirations to go into acting and star in movies? Is that something you’d be interested in, or are you pretty much focused on the band?
KF: It’s interesting you ask. I actually started from being an actress. I was in some different movies, like. “Underworld Evolution.” I was in this movie called, “In the Land of Women.” I basically was an actress since I was a kid, and I kind of wrote more as a hobby. And then, it kind of just fell in my lap. I wrote with this band called Theory of a Deadman; we wrote a bunch of songs on their record, ‘Scars & Souvenirs.’ One of the songs was, “Bad Girlfriend,” which was a very big song, and it kind of changed everything for me. I was, at that point, going to auditions 10 times a week and focusing on acting.
Songwriting was more for fun, but then this song blew up, and was like a number one song in North America. All of a sudden I was getting phone calls from other bands to write with them. Everything just kind of changed, and I decided that I was going to put the acting thing on hold for a minute and just really focus on music, because it was getting difficult to balance both. I moved down to L.A., and I guess the rest is history. I still do acting stuff here and there, but I’d like to get back into it a little more consistently. When everything started going, it was hard to maintain both, so I kind of just moved to music a little bit more consistently, I guess.
RMS: Wow, I didn’t know you were that involved with Theory of a Deadman. That was a big hit song. You were a co-writer of that song?
KF: Yeah, I co-wrote that song. I’ve pretty much worked on every record with them, ever since, and before, actually. Yeah, we had great songs like, “Lowlife,” and, “Hate My Life,” we wrote together. On their new album, I wrote that title track with Tyler called, “Wake Up Call.” Yeah, we’ve written a lot of great songs together. We do a lot of work together, still.
RMS: The Theory of a Deadman is almost as popular as Nickelback, as far as Canadian bands. That’s awesome.
KF: Yeah, it was a really great thing to have happened. It’s been cool watching them grow. I’ve been around since before they released their first song. It’s been a really amazing journey for them. They deserve it, they are insanely talented. As long as they’ll have me, I hope I always get to write with them.
RMS: Well, you keep writing songs like that, I don’t see how they could not want you involved.
KF: (Laughs) Thank you!
RMS: You’re welcome. What part of Canada did you come from?
KF: I came from British Columbia. Actually, this small, little island called Vancouver Island, which is off of the city of Vancouver, which most people know. You take the ferry for like, an hour and a half, and then you drive another hour and a half to get to the little town I’m from. Yeah, it’s a pretty small town. With the acting thing, I moved to Vancouver really young; I moved out at like, 15. So, I was living in Vancouver through high school, and honestly, became friends with a lot of those Canadian bands just because I was there at that time, and going to bars super underage (laughs). A lot of my crew has been up and coming bands. It was cool to be a part of this crazy movement when all these bands were coming up.
RMS: That’s very cool. I had no idea. I saw that you opened for Theory of a Deadman, but I didn’t know you were actually involved with their songwriting; that’s insane.
KF: Oh, thanks! I’ve gotten to write with a lot of great bands. When we wrote, “Bad Girlfriend,” we just thought it was really fun. I think the song was written in like, 15 minutes or something. It was just a song that we really loved, and the label didn’t, at first (laughs). But we were like, “No! People are going to like this.” But, we had no idea how big the song would be, or how it would change everything. So, it was a really cool thing to be a part of.
RMS: What are your tour plans, for Knee High Fox, right now?
KF: Well, we have some shows coming up. We’re playing Las Vegas and Salt Lake City this month. We’re playing Vamp’d in Vegas on April 19th, and then we’re playing April 27th at the Royal in Salt Lake City. Then, I think we’re going to be putting together some more touring in May. I can’t quite say exactly yet, but I think we’re going to be touring with another band for a little bit, and then we’re going to do some more headlining here and there. So we’ll be on the road a lot this year because we want to get out and play all of the new stuff and see all of our people.
RMS: Have you ever thought about, or been approached about doing the Warped Tour, or anything like that?
KF: I would be into doing the Warped Tour. I think that would be really cool. We haven’t done a festival tour like that yet. But, it probably would make a lot of sense for our band. Yeah, we would definitely be open to it. It’s just, you know, we’ve spent the past six months or so just focusing on getting the record done. Now that it’s done we’re like, “Okay, now what’s next?” We’re just starting. Now that it’s out there, we’re going to shoot a video for the song, “Witch,” next week, which will be cool. We’re just trying to get all of our ducks in a row before we get out of the road.
RMS: I really appreciate your time. This was a really interesting interview; I learned a lot about your band.
KF: Oh, thank you! This was fun!
RMS: You’re welcome. Best of luck. I hope you and your band come down to Buffalo so I can cover your show over here.
KF: Oh, we’d love to! We hope to get there soon.
For more on Knee High Fox, visit www.kneehighfox.com
Special thanks to Doug Weber for setting up this interview, and to Dana Kaiser for transcribing it.