Old Fox Road says ‘folk you’ to punk

By Assistant Arts & Culture Editor

Playing for a crowd of pimpled high schoolers packed in Centennial Lanes bowling alley Feb. 16 in Tinley Park, Ill., Dylan Chupp, lead singer of folk-punk band Old Fox Road, instructed the crowd to come close and keep conversation to a minimum during the band’s unplugged acoustic set. The crowd expected a major mood killer, but Old Fox Road’s first twangy acoustic song “Footwork” brought the fans’ limp body language and apathetic facial expressions to life. 

Either a punk band with unusual instruments or a defiant folk group, trio Old Fox Road is tearing up the Champaign, Ill. scene with its individual blend of bleaty vocals, gruff guitar and smooth saxophone. Having been together for only six months, lead singer/guitarist Dylan Chupp, saxophonist Austin Evans and upright bassist Dylan Decker have toured the Midwest, recorded the upbeat, dirty-meets-smooth EP I’ll Get Over It, and are planning a June tour through the South and West as they make their way to Tochtli Fest, a three-day folk-punk music festival in Los Angeles.

Following in the footsteps of folk-punk founders Andrew Jackson Jihad and Pat the Bunny, Old Fox Road fuses folk instruments with a punk rock attitude to create relatable yet downcast music that always ends with hope.

After a short stint playing in basements, record shops and cafés in Champaign, the band is basking in the March 8 glory of its debut I’ll Get Over It.

The Chronicle chatted with Chupp over the phone about the Champaign music scene, the meaning of punk rock and the inspiration behind the band’s music.

THE CHRONICLE: What is your definition of punk rock?

DYLAN CHUPP: The first things that come to my mind are three-chords [and] fast, angry, angsty songs. Loud, offensive music is the first thing I think about punk rock. Other than that, it’s enjoyable and it’s my favorite genre of music.

CC: Why did you start the band?

DC: We kind of just started as man, our lives kind of suck and we should write songs about past relationships that suck, or social standards that we don’t need in life, or like life’s not all that bad and we can learn to accept what life is. Basically we started this to relate, hoping that someone would get an escape out of it. We thought of it as a good experience to express ourselves and just be free with it.

CC: From whom do you draw your folk-punk influences?

DC: Definitely Andrew Jackson [Jihad]. In the past four years, we’ve all kind of really started listening to folk-punk. We kind of go with anything Pat the Bunny’s done or Chris Burrows [has] done or the Anorexic Olsen Twins. We kind of take all that and throw in a little pop.

CC: Did you set out to make more aggressive folk music or to make punk music less abrasive?

DC: It was something we thought was cool, to play punk rock music with different instruments. There’s a certain kind of ska that has punk. We have ska with [our music], too. 

CC: What is the Champaign music scene like?

DC: I’ve [gotten] a lot of hate for my opinion on the Champaign music scene. It’s still the same as it was back in the day, but it’s less active. It’s a bunch of the same people going to someone’s house and drinking PBR and watching the same bands over and over. What I did not like about the Champaign music scene is that they are really closed-minded on who they bring in. I think it’s a big melting pot and there’s a lot of diversity and that’s what I like about it. I think it’s slowly climbing out of a hole that’s it’s dug itself into the past two or three years. It’s come back to life and there are still house shows that are active, but there’s some certain people who give it a sour taste. I feel like I’m bashing it, but I like it.

CC: Why do you release your music for free?

DC: We decided we’d rather have people have our music no matter what. We just want people to know what we’re about and to hear it.

For more information, visit OldFoxRoad.Bandcamp.com.

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