Five Questions With… Fox Glove's Renn Madeleine Bibeau
The BC alt-folk trio has released a holiday EP Dead Of Winter. Here a member explains its mandate, recalls Christmas caroling, reflects on a new approach to the biz, and outlines her goals for 2020.
By Jason Schneider
While Christmas-themed releases have become a staple for many artists, Victoria B.C. alt-folk trio Fox Glove has taken a slightly different approach with a new holiday EP Dead Of Winter. Made in collaboration with string trio Auburn Blind and keyboardist Chris Van Sickle, the EP’s three songs are both festive and haunting, providing a soundtrack for gratitude and reflection, including a mesmerizing take on Auld Lang Syne.
Like the flower the band is named after, Fox Glove blooms through complex chemistry, resulting in ethereal harmonies floating amidst cinematic soundscapes. Renn Madeleine Bibeau, Claire Butterfield, and Chelsea Kanstrup create a unified blend that has connected with many listeners on the west coast, as evidenced by their annual LOVE IN shows that sell out Victoria’s 800-seat Alix Goolden Hall, as well as memorable opening slots for artists such as Coeur de Pirate and Ben Caplan.
Dead Of Winter follows Fox Glove’s 2018 full-length debut album Jessie, and we caught up with Renn Madeleine Bibeau to find out more, and future plans for the group. Dead Of Winter is available to purchase or stream on all digital platforms, and you can find out more at foxglovemusic.ca.
What inspired you to make Dead Of Winter?
We knew that we wanted to release a short EP of winter-themed music, to pay homage to a long-standing tradition of singing together during the holidays. We also wanted to give our fans something to tide them over while we took a bit of a performance break to work on new music. The original song on the record, the title track, was inspired by a really rough year and the quiet resilience of the human spirit.
What made the cover songs right for your style?
We knew that we could arrange Home For The Holidays and Auld Lang Syne to reflect the feeling of family and friends singing around an upright piano. But for Dead of Winter, we wanted to leave lots of space to really draw listeners in, particularly at the beginning of the song. We really enjoy working with Auburn Blind—who arranged and performed the strings on the album—because they are able to expand so beautifully the moments of tension and release within each piece.
What are your favourite Christmas memories?
Believe it or not, we have been carolling together for the Downtown Victoria Business Association for eight years now. What started as a great side-hustle while in school has become an annual tradition for us, and nothing helps us get into the holiday spirit like wandering around downtown Vic singing carols to strangers!
What's been the biggest change in your life over the past year?
I think the biggest change for us as a collective has been the decision to redefine how we interact with the music industry. We were getting burned out on the business side, which I think most artists experience in this day and age and moving further from what we actually enjoy, which is playing and writing together. We took a leap and now have a fantastic team that supports us in getting back to the music, which we’re excited to share with our fans in the new year.
What plans or goals do you have for 2020?
We are really looking forward to continuing our work on our next album, as well as collaborating with other acts. We had a busy 2019, and expect that 2020 will just be a refined version of that. We’ll be doing a tour in Europe, as well as our multifaceted annual “Let the LOVE IN” show in Victoria on May 23, which is always a highlight of the year.
PR: Jessica Santa / Listen Harder