State Of Music: Part 17: Louisiana: Vox & The Hound

It has been a huge week for Choose My Music and The State of Music project in general. After managing to sneak a mention on live prime time BBC radio on Tuesday, this afternoon sees me pre recording an interview about the project for the national station Q Radio. They will also give two songs from the album their first public broadcast airing.

The first review for The State Of Music Volume 1 is also due soon, with the reviewer indicating to me that it is her 'album of the moment, along with the new Florance & The Machine'. Not bad company to keep. I am still hunting for websites to review the album, if you have somewhere to suggest the please get in touch.

But with all this going on behind the scenes the State Of Music train pulls in to Louisiana, home of good food, sticky heat and hurricanes. It is of course known for much more, but I am a bit of an ignorant Englishman.

So please welcome Vox & The Hound from New Orleans, a wonderful band with a rather glorious sound which not only hints at their deep south heritage but also shows some wonderful arrangements which almost verge on the classical. There is a great depth and they also remind me of another band, which frustratingly I cannot seem to pull from the depths of my mind. Suggestions welcome.

CMM: Welcome to Choose My Music. I suppose the first question is - who are Vox and the Hound and where in the world would we find you?

Vox and the Hound is a folk/rock band consisting of veterans of the New Orleans indie rock scene with members whose resumes include The City Life, Empress Hotel, MyNameIsJohnMichael, Antenna Inn, Silent Cinema, Fatter Than Albert, Mad Conductor, Venus Chain, and the Green Genes. Vox and the Hound can typically be found in its natural habitat of New Orleans, LA, although it has been known to explore surrounding areas from time to time.

CMM: And how would you best describe the state of Louisiana?

Louisiana is an extremely diverse state, with Jazz Funerals and Tea Party rallies occurring within a few miles of each other. However, there is one common denominator that drives much of Louisiana culture: food. Louisiana seasoning and seafood remains a fixture of the state's culture from Acadiana to New Orleans.

CMM: How long has the group been together and how did it all start?

Vox and the Hound has been an active band since February of 2010, with the initial band meeting taking place the day after the New Orleans Saints won its first Super Bowl. However, it all started as one man's outlet for new music. Vox and the Hound was the name undertaken by frontman Leo DeJesus to get his songs out while he was in MyNameIsJohnMichael. Many of the songs that appear on our first EP, "Hermosa," were fixtures in Leo's solo shows before there was a band.

CMM: How best would you describe your music?

Our music has been described with many disparate words ranging from "nautical" to "spaghetti western." We like "folk-based rock with a classical composition flair."

CMM: What is the music scene like in Louisiana right now? What the genre of choice out there at the moment?

Like Louisiana culture, Louisiana music is highly diverse. New Orleans, Lafayette, and Baton Rouge all see rising indie rock scenes, but Cajun/Zydeco music is still prevalent in many areas, as well as Bounce Rap and New Orleans "tourist-trap" jazz/funk.

CMM: One thing I am hoping to find in this series is some kind of link between where a band is based and their music. Do you feel as a group you are influenced by your surroundings and the scene around you?

We feel that the looseness of jazz and the soul of blues comes through in our songs. Also, while New Orleans isn't exactly known for its Country/Western influence, that strain exists throughout Louisiana and in our music. A funny story about our New Orleans influence actually comes from Austin, TX. When we played our first show there, the crowd went nuts when D-Ray played his trombone. After the show, many came up to us saying how they can see the "New Orleans" in our sound solely because of that instrument.

CMM: What other influences does the band have, musical or otherwise?

We all come from vastly different musical backgrounds, with influences ranging from the Walkmen to the Doors to Paul McCartney to early R.E.M. Otherwise, our songs are inspired mostly by life and the effect relationships have on it.

CMM: Could you perhaps give a run down of the music you have released so far?

First of all, Leo made a demo of four songs before there even was a band (this release is called "The Early Years"). Our first recordings as a band are featured on the New Orleans Indie Rock Collective's compilation "Four the Birds." Finally, our debut EP, Hermosa, was released in January, 2011. All of these recordings can be found on our bandcamp page, http://www.voxandthehound.bandcamp.com.

CMM: Are you able to get out an play live much?. Where are your favourite places to play both in and out of state?

With everyone being in multiple bands, sometimes booking can be difficult. However, we play live as often as we can, often in spurts at a time. Locally, we have multiple venues we call home: Carrollton Station, Circle Bar, and Saturn Bar. During our Texas tour, with no disrespect to the other cities, we felt we had our best performance in Fort Worth.

CMM: What's next in the pipeline for you?

We are currently booking as many shows as we can to raise funds to record our first full-length album, which we hope to do in the Spring.

CMM: And finally, where can people reach out to you online and where can they get hold of your stuff?

The easiest place to hear our music is at http://voxandthehound.bandcamp.com. To look into the happenings of the band, one would be best inclined to visit either our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/voxandthehound or our blog at http://www.voxandthehound.wordpress.com. Of course, if someone wants to drop us a line directly, our e-mail is at voxandthehound@gmail.com.

Dom