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How Foxing Landed André De Shields For Its Latest Project: ‘Draw Down The Moon’

 Foxing's forthcoming record, "Draw Down The Moon," draws inspiration from Wiccan and neo-Pagan philosophies.
Hayden Molinarolo
Foxing's forthcoming record, "Draw Down The Moon," draws inspiration from Wiccan and neo-Pagan philosophies.

This summer, André De Shields captivated audiences in the title role in St. Louis Shakespeare Festival’s production of “King Lear.”

While De Shields entranced audiences onstage, members of the St. Louis-based, indie-rock band Foxing were drawing up a music video concept for the title track to their new album, “Draw Down The Moon.”

By sheer luck, the Tony Award-winning De Shields would become the star of that production, too.

Lead vocalist Conor Murphy said he started with the idea of utilizing the set from a local stage production. “I didn't have Shakespeare in the Park festival in mind,” he recalled on St. Louis on the Air. “I didn't have Andre in mind, but I was just putzing around with the idea of, ‘What if we kind of have this meta narrative of, like, the stage is here, but also we break the stage?’”

With what seemed to be a stroke of serendipity, St. Louis Shakespeare Festival organizers didn’t just say yes to the idea of using their set. They also connected Murphy and the band with De Shields, who was fully on board with the concept.

“He got back so quickly, and said, like, ‘Love the song, love the idea, I want to be in your video,’” Murphy recalled. “He even specifically said at one point that he felt like he could use it to brag to his other Broadway friends.”

Foxing - Draw Down The Moon [Official Video]

But after landing the acclaimed actor, Murphy found himself dealing with the “intimidating” task of directing a Tony, Grammy and Emmy award-winning actor. The bandmates stressed that De Shields was lovely. But Murphy had never directed before his work on the three videos tied to this new album, and felt painfully aware of his own lack of expertise.

“At one point, I kept saying things like, ‘We'd like you to wear this costume, but only if you want to. You don't have to; you can wear whatever you want,’” Murphy recalled.

Ultimately, De Shields taught the band a lesson about how to own a vision — unapologetically.

“He finally just cut me off and was just like, ‘I am a tool for you to use in this video. You are the creator, I am an actor. This is an actor's role,’” Murphy recalled. “And he just put it all in perspective in this way that was like, ‘Yes, like we are making the thing, you are a part of it. We keep holding you up to this regard of like, we need to tiptoe around you — but we really don't.’”

Added Murphy, “I think he's the coolest human that I've ever come into contact with.”

Foxing’s Pageant debut

Murphy and his bandmates, guitarist Eric Hudson and drummer Jon Hellwig, joined host Sarah Fenske on Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air to talk about their music journey and the release of “Draw Down the Moon.”

How Foxing Landed André De Shields For Their Latest Project: ‘Draw Down The Moon’
Hear Foxing discuss the concept behind their forthcoming album, "Draw Down The Moon."

Next Saturday marks a significant milestone for the band members: their first gig at the Pageant. While the three St. Louis natives have toured the country and Europe, Hellwig said the venue in the city’s Delmar Loop district is high on the bucket list for St. Louis musicians.

“Growing up, I've seen so many bands there that I looked up to as a young person,” Hudson added. “And I saw a lot of shows there that I still remember how it made me feel to go there. I remember specifically seeing the band, called Explosions in the Sky, that was like a real religious experience for me, getting to see them. So getting to now play the same stage that all these acts have played is really important to all of us.”

The opening acts for the Aug. 14 show are all local as well: Parisian, MANAPOOL, Choir Vandals and LePonds. Foxing will play all 10 tracks on “Draw Down The Moon,” in addition to older works.

Related Event
What: Foxing with Lé Ponds, Choir Vandals, Parisian, MANAPOOL
When: 8 p.m. Saturday, August 14, 2021
Where: The Pageant (6161 Delmar Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63112)

St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is hosted by Sarah Fenske and produced by Alex Heuer, Emily Woodbury, Evie Hemphill and Lara Hamdan. Paola Rodriguez is our production assistant. The audio engineer is Aaron Doerr.

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Lara is the Engagement Editor at St. Louis Public Radio.

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