Are You A Fox?

MaineList Article: Are You A Fox?

Are You A Fox?

Article by Billy McDaniel Downeast Design
Photographs taken from their website
December 1st, 2007

Shiny Toy Guns“Are You A Fox” is an all original band out of Saco who won Portland Phoenix’s “Best New Act” in 2007.

After three years of rehearsing, recording and performing together, this youthful band is already starting to attract the attention of many Maine original music enthusiasts.

Four members, ranging from 17 to 23 years of age, who remained friends in high school, are now booking gigs for some rather impressive local events.

I interviewed the band during their performance at WCYY’s Holiday Bizarre at "The Station" in Portland while they were setting up to open for the national act; “Shiny Toy Guns”.


Adam Swain (bass), Ben Lyons (vocals/guitar), Dillan Letellier (guitar), Colin Kolmar (drums)

After listening to the mp3s available on their myspace page, I was willing to bet that at least one of the members was inspired by “The Mars Volta”. I couldn’t help but ask how the band felt about that comparison.

“We have heard that comparison before, and don’t take offense, after all they are one of our influences.” Explained Ben, the band’s front man singer and backup guitarist, “But we were also inspired by many other great bands too. Dillan is really into Incubus, and I think Radiohead has been a big influence for some of us too.”

band nameThe band has spent the past three years rehearsing and performing together. They were already friends in high school and began playing together as a group of friends without really envisioning the tumult of what would come for them as a working-class original act.

The name of the band wasn’t something that happened all at once. “When we first started coming up with a name for the band, we had a bunch of ideas flowing.” Explained Dillan, the band’s lead guitarist. “We almost named ourselves; “German Talk Radio”, but the name continued to evolve.” One of the guys in the band suggested “Chinese Fox”, and another member asked the question; “Are You A Fox?” and at that point, their name finally revealed itself.

cd salesAre You A Fox has sold many copies of their first five-song CD through the help of Bull Moose Music coupled with the influence of WCYY’s Spinout. It was mastered by Adam Ayan out of “Gateway Mastering”, a company owned by Bob Ludwig.

“Our CD sales stayed consistent for a few months”, recalled Ben, “Which I think some credit is owed to the Phoenix’s Top 10 CD Sales Report.”

Now, with eleven songs under their belt, the band feels that they may be ready to start thinking about recording another. “We got lucky with our first CD’s production because it didn’t end up costing us a lot of money.” The band thinks that their second CD might not come so easy, so are preparing to work a little harder to help ensure an optimistic future for the band.

Although the band is an all-original format, they have been known to cover a few songs. “Mostly songs that we like, but we find that many of our listeners seem to enjoy our cover versions too.” Some cover material they have done includes; “My Hero” by The Foo Fighters, and “Crosstown Traffic” by Jimi Hendrix.

most requested

most requested

Dillan Letellier (guitar) & Colin Kolmar (drums)

Out of the dozen or so original songs that the band has written so far, “American Idol” is probably the most requested song by their listeners, “We get a lot of positive feedback for one of our currently unnamed songs too, which is a more jazzy song than some of the rest of our set.” The band apparently still hasn’t named the song, but assured me that their fans are familiar with the unnamed song, regardless of it not having a title.

People seem to want to dance to the music, but as with most original format shows, it’s often a matter of whether anyone takes the initiative. “I see girls checking in with their friends for approval before dancing.” Ben explains, “Perhaps the audience is intrigued by the music, or confused by the sounds, but either way, I can tell they want to dance!”

Ben LyonsBen Lyons, being the older and more experienced member, started the band, and tends to write the foundations for each of the songs. Band mates contribute by making necessary alterations to give the band it’s unique flavor with their own touch of influence and originality.

Ben is currently studying Guitar Performance and Sound Recording Technology at Umass in Lowell. His diversity comes from his wide range of musical influences through a broad choice of listening.

Kelli & KacieDuring the band’s performance, I spoke with Kelli and Kacie, some girls I met that evening, who traveled from Boston to see the headliner band; “Shiny Toy Guns”.

I asked Kelli for an unbiased opinion of what her first impression was for “Are You A Fox.”

“The music itself stood out more so than the vocals or lyrical content.” Kelli examined, remarking that the band’s music seemed to dominate their sound. “I just couldn’t hear the vocals as much as I would have liked.”

This could have had more to do with the mix, as they were the first of four bands to perform that evening. The girls were entertained by all of the opening bands that evening, but admitted that they were really there to see the headliner.

Band Members

Ben Lyons (vocals/guitar)
Began guitar as a Freshmen in high school but actually started playing music with trombone in the 4th grade.

Dillan Letellier (guitar)
Started playing at 15 years old when he took a beginner’s course for guitar at Thornton Academy in Saco.

Adam Swain (bass)
Started as a Freshmen in high school too. He says; “I was at that age where I just wanted to find something cool to do”, so learning an instrument and joining a band made the most sense.

Colin Kolmar (drums)
Colin is the youngest member of the band and started with drum lessons in the 4th grade. The drum kit that he still uses today is the same kit he received for Christmas at age 10! “This might have been my parent’s finest investment.” Says Colin, who is surprisingly only 17 years old, yet holds a place as one of the band's strongest members.


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