LAURA WEINBACH | Foxtails Brigade
11-year-old Evelia Rosenblum of Oakland, California recently had a chance to sit down and interview Laura Weinbach of the band Foxtails Brigade. Also from Oakland, Foxtails Brigade has been described as “orchestral indie-pop”. Their 38-minute interview gives a unique perspective into Laura’s creative process, what influences and inspires her songwriting, and what finger she thinks she could live without.
Check out Evelia's favorite Foxtails Brigade songs at the end of the article.
Here are 10 minutes of the transcript if you prefer to read part of the interview.
The Bay Area is full of many great and creative female artists. Laura Weinbeck is one of them. She's the founder, singer, and guitarist for Foxtails Brigade. What I love the most about Foxtails Brigade is their creativity, which includes DIY music videos, story-like lyrics, and hand-drawn art. Today I'm interviewing Laura Weinbeck from Foxtails Brigade.
Hi. How's it going?
I'm good. How are you?
The first question is, do you still have to practice your guitar every day?
I practice every day in some form, but probably not as formally as I should.
Okay. Do you still play your guitar just for fun?
Like every day?
Yes. Sometimes the lines between fun and discipline can get blurred. But no, mostly, yeah. I do play for fun every day. Some of this stuff. Okay. Carry on.
Do you wait for ideas to come to you or do you sit down and try to make ideas happen?
Both. I definitely don't sit down and try to make ideas happen as much as I should and it's always easier when they come. But there are times when one does just have to sit down and make it happen because you have a deadline and then sometimes that stuff comes out that way.
Where do you get your ideas? Are you just walking around or are you like in a shower or something?
Both. A lot of times I would get ideas for driving my car from San Francisco or from Santa Cruz to Los Angeles. I used to do that drive all the time when I was in college and I would get all kinds of ideas doing that, but it all just depends on what I'm up to these days. It used to be from the book and fairy tales and all kinds of things like that, but it just depends. Life gives you different things. And gold, tiny crafted gilded gloves, sculpted, moving cast and tastes like with cloth and wide essentials too.
Your lyrics seem like you're telling a story. Do you ever wish you could turn some of your ideas into novels or movies?
Every time? Like how often?
Like 3 hours a day? No, just kidding. How often? I don't know. Whenever something seems like it would make a good movie or play, I guess 25% of the time.
Do you ever get stage fright or nervous to play a show?
Yes, I do. When friends are in the audience when I have people that I know for some reason that makes me more nervous than one of the people I don't know.
That makes sense. Have you ever written a song or made art that you don't like anymore or wish you could change?
Absolutely. I'm pretty sure everybody who is an artist does that has that.
I do, too.
I was going to say, do you?
And how much of the time do you feel like that?
Every time I see something that I've made that's like over two months ago, probably.
Really? Yeah. Same no, not that often, but that's just part of the deal, I think.
Did your parents make you practice an instrument? If so, are you glad they did?
Yes. My mom, she was a piano teacher for us growing up, and she studied piano as a kid, and she kind of made us take piano lessons when we were really little. And then eventually, probably by the time I was about six or seven, I quit because I just really didn't like it. And then she didn't make us take lessons at that point. But my dad did make me and my brothers, all three of us, take karate lessons, which I absolutely hated it with a passion. And he said that we could only quit if we got our black belt.
Did you end up getting a black belt?
Yeah. It took five years.
Oh, my God, that's crazy.
Five years of giving up every Friday to have to go for an hour after school when all you want to do is just go home and watch TGIF have to go to karate and do stretches and slip and slide and other people sweat and do exercise, which I simply did not want to do.
Were you really relieved when you got your black belt?
Yeah. I mean, I was proud of it when I got it, but the time and effort and just heartache that it took to get there, I don't know if I would have said it was worth it, but I guess now as an adult, I'm glad that I had that discipline. But yeah, it was rough. They were kind of intense there. They were not very nice to kids. It was like not for kids, really. It's more for adults, even though there are a lot of kids that went there.
Were there, more adults going, or were there a bunch of kids that were there?
I'd say it was half and half, but I would always go to the adult classes because they would be I don't know why. Yeah. There was a primarily kids-oriented class on Saturdays, and I definitely didn't want to give my Saturdays up, even though we had to do that sometimes. I remember having to miss out on friends, birthday parties, and all kinds of things like that because he made us go. We were being threatened to go shouldn't really put it like that, but it was horrible. And then. Yeah. So we would go to these weekday classes. We had to go three times a week. That's a lot. Imagine having three times a week to go somewhere that you did not like.
And that hour I could see a clock. I remember seeing this clock in the office that was behind the studio where they were teaching us, and they always left the door just a little bit open so I could kind of see the clock from where we were working and I just was always just watching it, just waiting and just wishing the minutes to go by and it felt like five minutes took 5 hours.
But eventually, it ended and all as well.
Would you keep making art if you didn't have an audience to share it with?
Probably, yeah. Even though it's way more frustrating that way.
Often times I feel like I don't have an audience to share with. I mean, I shouldn't say that flippantly though because I do have an audience that I deeply appreciate. It just feels like sometimes some of the work that we do gets lost in the shuffle, you know what I mean?
Yeah. That makes sense.
For some reason, it doesn't get seen in the way that you hope that it will and it can be sad.
Is the artist's life difficult not only like a living but emotionally would you recommend it?
I'm just laughing because it's good. It's not more difficult than doing something else that would require work and energy and commitment and there are a lot of great benefits. So I mean, yes, there's a lot of, you know, things that you don't want to have to do and things that are hard about it, but ultimately it's given me a life that I am glad to have, you know, I mean, all of my whole house and everything I have in my house.
Evelia Rosenblum is an 11-year-old withitgirl contributor who enjoys skating, walking her dogs, playing piano and guitar, along with making art and videos.
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Cover photo of Laura playing guitar by Debra Zellar
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