A native of Belfast, Northern Ireland and a songwriter, script writer and performer, Joby Fox is known as an authentic voice of post-conflict Ireland.
Joby Fox is a veteran of the music industry, starting in 1980 with The Bankrobbers who challenged the dark and paranoia in their hometown of Belfast which landed them a deal with EMI. Then on to other music adventures in London, always pushing the limits and sticking up for his war-torn home. As a native of Belfast, Northern Ireland and a songwriter and performer, Joby Fox is the authentic voice of post-conflict Ireland and a humanitarian activist.
Although love is the drive there is much more to Joby's songwriting than love songs.. His often hard hitting and honest words have paved the way for difficult conversations, challenged our identities and ideologies. A diverse artist with his roots firmly in Irish soil he has been involved in great international initiatives as an advocate for peace, and in 2015 he opened the inaugural UN Peace Festival in Hong Kong, and in 2016 he was musical director of the Orchestre des Refugies et Amis. Joby is also co-founder of Refugee Rescue, a humanitarian NGO providing life saving sea rescue at the refugee crossing on the island of Lesbos, alongside fellow artist and curator Jude Bennett.
Currently Joby is recording a new album of songs, and finishing his script for a feature film. Growing up through some of the worst atrocities in contemporary Europe in the 70s and 80s, Joby’s honesty and vision creates an edge that makes him a relevant figure in both the Irish and the international music and art scene today; Always searching, always evolving artistically. His work reaches deep into the soul of humanity and is always up- front and personal, drawing from the environment around him and his Irish musical heritage.
Belfast’s no. 1
When at the age of 14 he accidentally saw Rory Gallagher perform one of his legendary awe inspiring gigs at the Ulster Hall, Belfast, Joby was not to know that three years later he would find himself playing to a packed audience at the very same venue and having been musically produced by two members of the Rory Gallagher backing band who where also playing that fateful night. Joby always had music running in his veins but he likes to celebrate that “fateful night” as his inaugural journey into the world of Music.
One of the first songs Joby wrote as a teenager in war-torn Belfast would later make it to number 52 in the British Charts and number 1 in Ireland. Now 30 years later he is still doing his bit..
Joby started his career in a punky band called The Bankrobbers, under the now world famous Terri Hooley’s Good Vibrations label. The band well-known for their publicity stunts; Most (in)famously, printed £50 notes with their logo on it. This little prank would later have them arrested, airlifted and taken to court in London on charges of counterfeiting and forgery. After appearring on Channel 4′s music weekly The Tube, Joby moved to London and the band was signed to EMI in 1983. They released two singles – Jenny and Dear Miss Problem Page. The band were badly handled by EMI and after a year with flagging morale they where droped by the company and the band moved back to Belfast and subsequently split.
Energy Orchard, 5 album’s deal
After The Bankrobbers in 1985 Joby went to London again to focus on his musical career. He formed Energy Orchard and managed to land them a 5 albums deal with MCA in 1988.
It was Energy Orchard’s first single ‘Belfast’, written by Fox that really kicked off the band’s career. They worked hard and toured the first album “Energy Orchard” extensively in UK, Europe and North America over 3 years till Joby eventually left the band in 1991. Exhausted and citing a serious lack of creative engagement within the band as his reason for departing a band he said he had “given his all to”.
A New Episode
Away from the Rock ‘n Roll lifestyle and back in Belfast once again Joby embarked on a new episode of his musical career; Exploring new ways of expressing himself; Learning new skills in sound and pursuing his songwriting. He dabbled in the electronic genre, releasing a track for Sony called She’s Like an Angel on The Sound of the Irish Underground album.
In 2013 Joby released his End of the War project with a solo album and short film (Lost Commandos). The show toured Northern Ireland during the 'Good Relations Week' challenging our perceptions of identity in Northern Ireland. The show opened the inaugural UN Peace Festival in Hong Kong in 2014, and Joby has performed in The Irish Historical Society in New York among many places. In 2016 he became involved in the Orchestre des Refugies et Amis as musical director and created a true global fusion in collaboration with musicians and singers from across the world, all based in Northern Ireland. The project also facilitated numerous workshops and awareness sessions in schools and youth clubs challenging young people's perceptions of refugees and migrants.
In winter 2015 Joby went to Lesbos and saw the situation of refugees fleeing war becoming more and more hazardous, with the weather worsening and boats capsizing. Joby saw rescuers on the beaches and on rescue boats forced to choose who to save as there were so many people in the water. When in October 2015 a vessel containing 300 people capsize, only 250 could be saved, Joby decided that more had to be done, in the absence of large NGOs.
Refugee Rescue was set up and an RNLI boat from England was donated to the organisation. It has since been operated by a voluntary crew of search and rescue professionals, and to date has saved over 4000 people’s lives.