My name is Dane Robertson and I’m the lead singer of Melbourne band Black Fox. We started out in 2008 when we called ourselves ‘The Smoke’ and had a slightly different line-up. We put out an album and an EP before going through a line-up change, a name change and heading in something of a new musical direction. We recently released a 7-inch vinyl of our debut single, “Day In Lieu”, and we have a full-length LP (entitled Line Of Sight) coming out in a few months.
What’s your earliest memory of performing and who inspired you to start?
My earliest memory of performing is playing in a group called ‘The Bedrock Rockers’. It was a Flintstones-inspired, prehistoric rock band that my grade four class formed. I wore an orange hessian sack that was painted to look like Fred Flintstone’s suit and rocked out on a Casiotone keyboard with my friend Mark Christopoulos. We played at one school assembly before disbanding to pursue other endeavours. I don’t believe that I was actually inspired to join, but rather coerced by our music teacher, Mr. Ellis. It did give me a taste for the rock n’ roll lifestyle though and I’ve never looked back.
You must answer this question honestly or we steal your rider. What and where was the first gig you went to?
My first gig was actually at my high school. Some entrepreneurial Year 11 kid who had connections with The Living End managed to persuade the band to play at my school during lunchtime for his business management project. He wrangled in all the kids from the surrounding schools and charged $6 per ticket. The band played for free and that kid made an absolute killing. That was my first ever experience in a mosh pit. I think I tore my school shirt and got in trouble when I got home that evening.
‘Fess up. What records have you stolen from your parent’s record collection and why?
The Beatles’ Abbey Road and more recently my Mum’s 7-inch vinyl single of “These Boots Are Made For Walkin” by Nancy Sinatra. I also nicked a copy of Paul Simon’s Graceland, which happened to be the first CD that our family ever owned. I think everyone would understand that these titles are essential inclusions of any respectable record collection.
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What’s on heavy rotation on your iPod right now?
BRMC, The Cure, Bright Yellow and The Vasco Era. I tend to get sick of new music quickly and return to the old favourites.
How do you find new music?
A little bit through listening to the radio, but mostly from friends’ recommendations. All my friends are very heavily into their music, so we’re constantly throwing recommendations back and forth.
Do you have any particular ritual before you go on stage, or even a lucky charm you take with you?
I like to have just the right number of drinks. As a band we often tread that fine line between relaxed and blotto prior to a gig. I also like to make sure that my voice is warmed up and the set-lists are on stage. We always seem to forget something, and lately it’s been the set-lists.
If you could curate your own festival, where would it be, who would be on the bill, how many people would you let in and what features would it have?
Good lord. That will never happen, but it’s nice to dream. If anyone ever bestowed that kind of authority on me, it’d be a festival of my favourite bands at a great live space—probably The Forum in Melbourne. The Cure would be there, as would BRMC, Radiohead, Gorillaz, Cat Stevens – and The Smiths would reform especially for the occasion. My band would also be playing. I don’t care if everybody hates it. If it’s my special day, then Black Fox will be on the bill.
As far as the crowd goes, I’d be happy for it to be a full house of punters, but I’d make sure that no yobos or cockheads were permitted entry; and let’s get some premium cider and cocktails at the bar please.
When you’re Rolling Stones Big, what are you going to request on your rider: don’t be shy. We want specifics!
This one will certainly never happen. But since you asked, I’d love it if, every time we played a gig, there was a themed rider. First night of the tour would be Mexican-themed and we’d be slamming burritos and Coronas. The next night it’d be Indian night with curries and Kingfishers, and so on and so forth. I’d like it to be a surprise every night too. Don’t let me know what’s coming next.
Because it’s more fun to do things together, which living Australian artist would you most like to collaborate with? Tell us why?
Probably Steve Kilbey of The Church. I think they’re brilliant and I’ve been quite influenced by some of their stuff. He’s also quite a prolific artist who collaborates with lots of different people, so although it’s probably never going to happen, I’m going to say that there’s a chance.
What is your band’s music the best soundtrack for?
Probably late night driving, feeling dissatisfied with your place in the world or getting angry about sour relationships. We’re a ‘good time’ band.
Where can we see you play next, what releases do you have available and where can we get them?
We currently have a limited edition 7-inch vinyl out and a number of Melbourne and interstate shows coming up very soon. All the information you need is on our website: www.weareblackfox.com. We have free temporary tattoos at every show, so be sure to grab one if you come to see us play.