Need to Know: Foxes
By Alex Panisch
To say Foxes (a.k.a. Louisa Rose Allen) is part of a crop of British, female singers would be unfair. The young talent stands apart from any other act from across the pond. Her music transcends genres while upending convention. What she does share with artists like Adele and Jessie J is a sound that resonates on a deeply emotional level and honest, soulful lyrics. Having just released her four-track EP, Warrior, the songstress has been on tour on both sides of the Atlantic. I spoke with the singer while she was in the midst of the American leg of her tour.
Out: Tell me a little bit about yourself and your sound.
Foxes: I’ve been writing now for years and years, but about year and a half ago I started this project. It’s just me, but I have a band that I tour with and they’re amazing. I do a lot of it on my own, but I’ve got three different producers that I work with on the sound and that sort of thing, which is good fun. I knew what sort of sound I was going for and what I wanted to achieve, which is really nice because I feel that I’ve sort of grown up. It took me a while to find my sound but now I’m really really happy I’ve found it.
Why did you choose the name “Foxes,” and how did you come up with it?
It’s quite silly really. The first song I ever wrote, when I was really young, was called “Like Foxes Do.” I had to change my name because it just got ridiculous. Lily Allen, she’s Lily Rose Allen, and I’m Louisa Rose Allen, and then there was another girl in the UK called Lucy Rose so I was like “I can’t be Louis Rose.” So I definitely had to change my name. I just felt that with the sound and my new direction and the project, that I needed something a bit more ambiguous, something that had a bit of mystery to it. One of my friends was like, “What about foxes?” and I said “Don’t be so silly, that’s ridiculous.”
I actually didn’t think it was a good idea at the beginning. But weirdly, I spoke to my mum the next day and I said “Mum, what do you think about Foxes, as a name?” and she said “Oh my god that is the weirdest thing, I had a dream last night that foxes were running up our street and they were making beautiful sounds,” which they usually don’t, but in her dream they were. And she said, “It reminded me of your music, because it was haunting and beautiful.” And I just thought “Oh my god that’s so weird.” My mum’s usually right about most things so I thought, “You know what, I’m just gonna go with it.” I think it’s down to my mum really.
So who influences you?
Well, I’m influenced by soundtracks and film. I love the fact they convey a feeling and tell a story when there aren’t any lyrics, I think that’s incredible. I like doing that with my music. Not just relying on the lyrics, I like incorporating emotion and feeling into the music itself; the sounds. So, soundtracks growing up have been a massive inspiration for me. When I was a kid, I would literally sit in front a film and watch it five times a day.
And the house I grew up in was great, my mum and my sister both have great taste in music. Kate Bush was always playing and Patti Smith and really great jazz music which was really nice. I love pop music, I’m a massive fan of pop. People like, Robyn, I love. I love her music, it’s like cleaver pop and it’s not obvious. It think it’s great when people can go between the lines with pop music. Take the structure of pop music and change it up a bit and make it a bit different.
Do you have any favorite movies or soundtracks?
My favorite movies are Léon or Forest Gump and I love Donnie Darko as well. I love stories. I worked out the other day that a lot of my music has a melancholy thing about it, like a happy/sad thing.
How would you describe your music?
I think a lot of other people might describe it as experimental pop, but I’ve never really gone into it thinking it’s gonna be anything. A lot of it is just me putting a lot of stuff together. It is just natural really. I’m really a fan of anthemic, beautiful moments in music; I love honest lyrics; I love being personal in my lyrics.
Do you have a favorite song you’ve written?
I’ve done so much music. I’ve written my album now and I’ve been writing for so long. “White Coats” is a really personal song and I think that helps when it’s something so close to you. You’re quite afraid to put it out but when it gets such a good reaction, there’s something therapeutic about it. So “White Coats” because it allowed me to get over something that happened. It was quite therapeutic and I love singing it because it’s really fun to sing. But I’ve got a lot of new material. I probably shouldn’t say what they are. But “White Coats,” I guess.
Warrior is an EP, while Youth was only an “A” side and a “B” side. Was doing Warrior more difficult because it was slightly longer?
No, because I’d actually written everything. Everything’s written, I’ve been writing for a while. It’s all, weirdly, in order. “Youth” and “Home” were the first songs I ever wrote and then after that it was “Warrior,” “White Coats,” “In Her Arms.” The EP came after that really quickly, and then my album and everything flowed really quickly after that. I wrote everything really quickly, so it wasn’t like I had to write loads of stuff after “Youth” and “Home,” it was already there. It just felt natural.
Have you written your next album?
Yeah. It’ll be my first album. It’s coming out next year. I just need to go back into the lab and do some tweaking and make it into an album, which is really exciting.
Can you say anything about it?
Well, I’m really excited about it. It’s been a long journey of moments and lots of experiences.
What do you think you’re going do next?
I really like doing things in a really natural way, so I feel like I’m not pushing anything out into the world, it’s sort of happening really naturally. I’m just going to keep releasing music and hope people enjoy it. It’s a nice steady process and hopefully I get more people listening to my music.
Photo Credit: Flora Hanitijo