Foxanne finesses an unapologetic balance between grace & turbulence throughout debut album ‘It’s real (I knew it)’, a sweeping outpouring of self-expression burning with passionate emotion, intimate self-reflection, and feverish, raw energy.
for fans of Alaska Reid, Phoebe Bridgers, Ethan Gruska
Stream: ‘It’s real (I knew it)’ – Foxanne
A little upheaval goes a long way on Foxanne’s debut album.
The indie rock/pop project of Chelsea Gohd finesses an unapologetic balance between grace and turbulence throughout It’s real (I knew it), a sweeping outpouring of self-expression burning with passionate emotion, intimate self-reflection, and feverish, raw energy.
Who could say where I call home
Is it where the red dust falls right to my toes
as I roll to and fro
Who could say I’m alive anyway
I go here and there
make the most of all of my days
is that all it takes?
Oh I’m getting tired
my battery’s low
please say you’ll come find me
bring me back home
– “Opportunity,” Foxanne
Independently released December 4, It’s real (I knew it) arrived at the tail end of 2020 as Foxanne’s dynamic and dramatic debut album. Following 2018’s halfling EP, the full-length record finds Brooklyn-based science writer Chelsea Gohd coming into her own as an honest, vibrant lyricist with an evocative and compelling sound. Formerly a project shared with instrumentalists Mike Harris and Andrew Funcheon (who still plays in the band), Gohd took Foxanne fully solo over the past year and has, in turn, truly blossomed – finding not only her voice, but also a definitive artistic identity.
“This album has taken about a year and a half to make, but has been “in the works” for what feels like much longer,” Gohd tells Atwood Magazine. “While there are a couple of songs on the record that I wrote years ago and are getting a refresh with the new record, the entire project is just something that I’ve been working to and hoping to make for a long time. A full-length record is a serious beast to undertake as both an essentially solo artist and especially as an independent artist without the support of a label or management team. But that being said, because it was such an exceptional challenge it taught me so many amazing lessons. I learned how to collaborate on production, play bass, play synth, arrange in a more complex way and so much more.”
Gohd describes her debut as “powerful, honest, and intimate“; she wears her heart on her sleeve on a record whose rollicking crescendos of turmoil are counterbalanced – tempered by serene ballads and moments of tranquil, poignant introspection.
“I think that these songs really capture and show who I am as an artist, maybe for the first time,” Gohd says. “From the production down to the very basics of the songwriting I think it really shows a lot of who I am as a musician. I really wanted to capture something really special and different with each song, and while I hope there’s some cohesion with the record as a whole I wanted each song to be something entirely its own. I’m most excited with how the dynamics came out. I love scaling back music to its bones and then landing heavy with walls of sound and really playing with a range of dynamics and so that’s always fun and exciting to me.”
Preceded by a slew of singles that run the sonic gamut, It’s real (I knew it) starts strong as its “Intro” rides into “Doing It All,” an unadulterated uproar characterized by fuzzy rock guitars and raw, visceral singing. Songs like “So Excited” (which dates back to 2018), “So Excited,” and “Let It Ache” showcase Foxanne’s comfort in high-octane situations: She flourishes around uptempo drum beats and driving guitars. Meanwhile, Foxanne’s penchant for bringing intimacy to life is typified by the beautiful songs “Youngest Man Alive,” “Sea Blue,” and “Opportunity” – the latter of which is an emotional piece sung from the perspective of the NASA Mars Opportunity rover, which “died” in February 2019 after nine years of service.
Meanwhile, if folks listen to just one song off the record, Foxanne directs them to her album’s sixth track, “Love You Forever.”
“It’s personally my favorite song on the record, and I think that it both has a really unique quality but also encompasses a lot of different things that you’ll hear and feel across the entire record. It has those extremely intimate, heartbreaking and almost creepy moments but then it also has those really hard-hitting, belting moments that just punch you right in the chest.”
She also cites some favorite lyrics and special moments that continue to stand out to her, and will hopefully resonate with audiences as well. “The lyrics “through your teeth n your lip” and “when the lines of your cheeks stretch, and shoulders open up the morning best,” from “love you forever” always make me smile when I sing them and listening back I can hear myself smiling. Also I always enjoy the lyrics “fingers delicate, pulled the gumpaste strip; took the towels from under the door; and the wind might blow in, colder than sin; but I could use a quick drop to the floor,” from “let it ache.” I don’t know – it’s tough to pick there a lots of little lyrical moments like those in the songs that always just feel good to me to hear and to sing. As I write both as a songwriter and in my day job, I really relish the little word pairings that just “taste good” to me, so to speak. I also always love the ending of “How Dare You” because in the studio I remember trying the ending a few different ways and when I recorded the take that made it onto the record it just felt totally wild and equally in control and completely out of control.”
It’s real (I knew it) offers a well-executed plethora of highs and lows that stays fresh throughout; and while “Love You Forever” is an indisputable highlight, it is also just one of several standouts where Foxanne’s instruments, lyrics, and vocals coalesce in stunning form.
“I think this record gave me a lot of confidence as an artist,” Gohd says, reflecting on her record and its personal impact. “For the first time, I’ve been able to create songs that sound like how I wanted them to sound. While I could’ve kept changing and adding to the songs for probably forever, they actually turned out similar to the vision I had in my head. And that is an absolute revelation for me, and extremely validating as an artist. As I mentioned above, I’ve learned so much from this experience. With this newfound confidence I was able to direct the music and help to produce it in a more decisive way, I was able to write and record parts on synth and bass (instruments I’d have only called acquaintances before) and overall gained so much knowledge about my own style and where I want to go next. While I am enormously proud and excited about this record, I’m already working on the next one!”
My biggest hope for any of my music is that it makes people feel something. Whether it’s heartbroken, angry, delighted, whatever it might be – I just want people to feel something when they hear my music, whether they even like it or not!
As the last vestiges of “Applause” fade out and an astral “Outro” signals the record’s finale, Foxanne leaves listeners’ senses heightened and emotions stirred. Whether or not you’re immediately inclined to press “replay,” Foxanne’s first full-length album makes an immediate, impassioned, and indelible impact. Her words are strong, and her delivery is even stronger. Soaring and sensitive, aching and true, It’s real (I knew it) is worth the investment, pushing us deeper into ourselves as Foxanne dives into her own revealing depths. Her is sure to shake all awake, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Experience the full record via our below stream, and peek inside Foxanne’s It’s real (I knew it) with Atwood Magazine as the artist goes track-by-track through the music and lyrics of her debut album!
Stream: ‘It’s real (I knew it)’ – Foxanne
:: Inside It’s real (I knew it) ::
I wrote this song singing into my phone recorder while driving home from a rocket launch at NASA’s Wallops facility in Virginia. I wanted to capture as much of the energy and sounds of the launch (including the literal sounds of the launch (even a bit of the countdown), which I also recorded on my phone and this crude recording is actually what made it onto the record) which is so surprisingly emotional and similar to performing on stage in a way. Lots of adrenaline and hope.
Doing it All
This song embodies some of my still existing teenage angst and my current adult angst, it’s a big tribute to all of us and our many jobs and ambitions and everything in spite of…well…everything.
I decided to completely re-record and re-do this song and “Applause,” both of which I released previously. I just wanted to breathe fresh, new life into them and give the energy to them that I thought they needed and deserved.
This song is about the “little rover that could,” NASA’s Mars Opportunity rover, which lasted 15 years on Mars (way longer than its slated 90 days) before ultimately losing power after a dust storm covered its solar panels. It’s written from the rover’s perspective, dying so far from home.
Let It Ache
I sang this song to myself for weeks, maybe even months after writing it. I just love singing it so much. I wanted to encapsulate the desperate yearn and ache of a grey, depressing New York winter and how it feels to see the first glimmers of spring.
Love You Forever
This is about as sappy as it gets (and as sappy as I get, I suppose). It’s a love song that, every time I hear or sing it takes me immediately back in my memory to a road trip me and my partner took down to the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Youngest Man Alive
This is a song about getting older; about dying. It’s about seeing my own face start to age as those around me age and die. The lyric “Cartoons hidden in the corners of cards, you come back alive in moments,” is about my grandma on my mom’s side who passed away but whose cartoon drawings I still find in old birthday cards, and holiday cards (even little bats in Halloween cards).
We Don’t Die
I wrote this song in a dream last year. I don’t usually remember my dreams but I still have a vague recollection of the dream, which I woke up from in the middle of the night and ran to the bathroom to record what I could remember before falling back asleep.
This song, which took on a bit of a country-western twang that I love, I will always remember that Doug Gallo who did our recording and mixing (and is the literal best) said to me in the studio that he could picture slow dancing with his grandma to this song, which is maybe the sweetest thing I could imagine.
This is a song that I wrote forever-and-a-day ago for Speak Into My Good Eye’s 24-hour songwriting contest and I’ve played it live ever since and finally (finally!) I properly recorded it and it’s weird that it will actually be out in the ether after all this time.
How Dare You
Recording this song was a trip. There were a handful of other people in the studio at the time and I think I may have scared a few of them while recording the ending vocals for this track. But wow did it feel good.
I remember last year, Atwood Magazine was kind enough to cover “Applause” when it first came out. With this record, I completely re-did the song, which celebrates the life of my departed friend Tyler who was a wild and amazing person who, I think the last time I saw him, was performing a circus straight jacket/10-foot unicycle act for a theater full of kids holding their breath in amazement.
This is the first instrumental track that I’ve ever put out but I couldn’t be more excited to put it out there and I hope to keep recording instrumental music like this. I love to improvise on the keyboard and just kind of fell into this song late one night, playing it then listening to it over and over, letting it wash over me.
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📸 © 2020
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