The Irish band Naked Lungs
Credit: Nicholas O’Donnell

PROFILE: producer Daniel Fox

Sprints, Melts, Psychotic Monks, Naked Lungs, Nerves and Ronan Group are just some of the artists who Daniel Fox, bassist from Gilla Band, has worked with on production duties. The influential Irish quartet formed in 2011 and have released three albums to date: Holding Hands with Jamie (2015), The Talkies (2019) and Most Normal (2022). Along with Dan, Gilla Band comprise Alan Duggan (guitarist), Dara Kiely (vocals) and Adam Faulkner (drums) and together they produce a phenomenal soundscape, as anyone who has seen them live can testify. The combination of the instrumentation and a stream of conscience lyrics is simply thrilling. However in recent years Dan has extended his remit to include producing, mixing and recording for other artists.

Production is something Dan was always interested in, even before Gilla Band existed. As a teenager at home he was already recording and mixing music. Initially he worked with friends who were in local bands in and around Dublin. Over time and as his experience and reputation grew, this extended to artists reaching out to him. Word of mouth is a powerful tool and of course during lockdown the artists could not tour, but the technology existed to create music, even when band members were isolated from one another. Now Dan occasionally reaches out to artists he would like to work with, thus extending his reach and flexing his production muscles.

After a handful of shows in support of Gilla Band’s second album The Talkies, the pandemic hit halting touring. They invested in recording gear, and ensconced themselves at their rehearsal space exploring new directions. Embracing post-production and the-studio-as-instrument, they created new shapes ins sound. The experience created an opportunity for Fox to expand his production horizons, further experimenting.

To him, the role of a music producer varies dramatically between the artists, and what an artist needs at any particular time. Some require technical support, assistance to achieve the sound they are aiming for. For others it’s simply encouragement to confirm they are on the right track. Another factor that comes into play in the studio is to generate an atmosphere for experimentation, to try different sounds, instrumentation, speeds – in fact to create a safe space for the artists to attempt things they had not previously considered.

Psychotic Monks supported Gilla Band on their recent run of dates. Dan produced the French band’s latest album Pink Colour Surgery released via Fat Cat Records. The recording of this album produced a couple of challenges including the language barrier and a tight deadline due to the studio time booked. However the band admitted that early apprehensions melted away as they both had the same musical references.

One of Dan’s most notable collaborations has been with Dublin band Sprints. Having already produced their first two EPs, Manifesto and A Modern Job, he was back in charge of the controls for their astonishing debut album Letter to Self which was released in January on City Slang. Dan knows the band well and together they spent a couple of weeks in France at Black Box Studios in the Loire Valley. The combination proved fruitful with Letter To Self propelling Sprints forward, selling out US, UK and Ireland dates with further larger venues added at the end of the year.

Gilla Band are currently writing and may be in the studio before the end of the year It’s intriguing to see the demographic of Gilla Band’s audience gentle shift over recent times. They are connecting with the next generation, even though their music output has been modest in the last couple of years. Quality over quantity is absolutely in play here. For Dan the balance between his role as bassist in Gilla Band, and facilitating other artists to realise their music visions, suits him well. It will be intriguing to see who he works with next, and to hear the fruits of his obvious labour of love.

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.