Oxford must seem like a second home to Fossil Collective by now. As they
tell me: “this is our third or fourth time. We’ve not been to the O2 before though.” Lounging in their dressing room they seem anything but intimidated. The band has been expanding recently (“We played America
as a three piece last year”) and now has five members. They slowly filter into the room during the interview like clowns cramming themselves into a tiny car. The more the merrier. The band’s debut album, Tell Where I Lie, is steeped in Americana influences and has had great success in America, going straight to the top of the New Albums chart after its release.
But why have they been so popular in a country so famously difficult for British bands to win over? “America’s a tough nut to crack but once you get your foot in the door it’s a big country so there’s lots of people there with different music tastes, and once you get started it’s easier to make inroads with a loyal fan base.” Dave Fendick and Jonny Hooker, the multi-instrumentalist founders of Fossil Collective, were both members of art-rock stylists Vib Gyor in a previous life. “Fossil Collective is completely different,” explains Fendick. “Vib Gyor was a really interesting experience, we’re really proud of what we did with them but this feels more organic and less forced.”
With so many bands around trying to make it to the big time it’s a bit of a mystery why certain bands achieve the holy grail of a feature in Cherwell whilst others fall by the wayside.
Comparing Fossil Collective to Vib Gyor, guitarist Sean Gannon stresses how much more “honest” the new band is: “Fossil Collective’s just about songs, it’s not about trying to be thisor trying to be that or trying to be part of some scene or something. When someone tells you the truth you can’t complain.”
I ask Jonny if they have plans for a new album, and he seems quietly optimistic. “The most important thing is not to think about it too much, but we do want it to progress.” They have a new EP coming out on October 28th which they say is about “giving something back to the fans”.
Having taken a good ten minutes to remember to mention this, they seem so proud of themselves for doing some proper promotion that the time for seriousness is over. Finally I ask what the band likes to do to unwind after touring (last year they did 19 consecutive dates). Fendick says he’s most excited about “getting home and opening all my post”. All the standard banter about women’s knickers ensues. The rest of the interview consists of the band making up their own questions. Fendick asks if we would we all rather have a monkey’s body with our own head or the other way round (obviously the former, who wouldn’t want a tail?). I leave as the rest of the band blockade Jonny Hooker in the toilet.