Interview Foxes: “It’s Very Personal”
Not many artists have a Grammy to their name before they’ve even released their debut; but then, not many artists are Foxes.
Would you rather be a boy, or a toilet? Louisa Allen, aka Foxes, makes a snap decision: “I’d rather be a toilet… Oh no, that’s horrible. I’d rather be a boy.” Foxes - known as Lou or Loui to her friends, hence the toilet or boy dilemma - got back from Miami yesterday and hasn’t quite recovered yet. “I got back yesterday evening, and just got off the plane and ran in the direction of my mum,” she confesses.
They managed to squeeze in a late roast dinner for mother’s day, and you can see how Louisa’s mother is a huge part of her daughter’s life. After all, the moniker Foxes comes from a dream she had in which actual foxes sang some amazing music, which sounds a lot less weird when you hear more about her mum, who runs a vintage clothing shop and has recently picked up a penchant for Jäger shots.
“I’m very inspired by my mum, and my sister, who I grew up with. Their taste in music when I was growing up really inspired me,” Louisa says. “I think it’s really important when you’re doing a job that’s quite mad, like this, to have a close group of mates and family. It brings you back to normality. When I’m with them, my personality is - it’s full. It’s nice to be surrounded by that.”
To say being Foxes is a ‘mad’ job is a bit of an understatement. With debut album ‘Glorious’ on the brink of release, Louisa has already totted up some amazing collaborations – and let’s not forget the small matter of the Grammy with her name on it, after she featured on single ‘Clarity’ with Zedd, which won ‘Best Dance Recording’.
“People just fall in love with my mum, because she doesn’t act like a mum. She’s a fun mum.”
This is the same girl who calls herself “the shepherd’s pie of pop music” for being inspired by her mum. (By the end of our chat, it’s impossible not to love Louisa’s mum. Even she admits it: “People just fall in love with my mum, because she doesn’t act like a mum, she acts like a hippy that has a vintage store. She’s a fun mum.”)
“I think the Grammy is amazing. It’s quite surreal, when I think about it,” Louisa gushes. “It’s for a song I did with another guy, that isn’t necessarily my music. I was featuring. It’s amazing, that early on, to win something I’ve always dreamed of winning, but it makes me feel like I want to work a lot harder, so I can prove something with my own music.
“You take it and you go ‘wow, that’s amazing’, but I’m not going to go, ‘oh, I’ve won a Grammy’ and chill out. It should be the opposite. It’s nice to put a little fire under you early on, to inspire you to achieve something that big.”
Louisa is humble, and definitely not one to rest on her laurels. Foxes, she says, is like her baby, and it’s clear from the little things she says here and there that she cares an awful lot about it. When she talks about the opening track, ‘Talking to Ghosts’, she jokes about forgetting the name of the record the sample is taken from.
“Jetlaaaag!” Louisa sings her excuse for the memory lapse. “It’s a sample, from one of my favourite records, and I can’t even remember what record it is. It’s a really old record. I was really nervous it wouldn’t get cleared.” Not every singer would put something so personal into their music. But not every singer would push back their own release date just to make sure they could do everything in their power to support it.
“I won the Grammy, and then I was going to put ‘Glorious’ out around that time, and I got back and I couldn’t be here for a lot of the promo stuff, because I was doing stuff kind of everywhere. It was partly that, and also I wanted to release it worldwide, let more people be able have it in their hands I guess. I could be a face to it, rather than be somewhere else.” Louisa pauses. “That makes the sense. And with the singles coming out, this felt like the right time.”
“It’s not a themed album necessarily, it’s just a girl, growing up and telling a story.”
For someone who says her 14-year-old self “did a little die” at working with Fall Out Boy, Louisa is very self-assured. She’s also a joy to talk to, despite the jetlag. She talks about the album’s name, and the search for a “one word line that had strength in it, and some confidence.” ‘Glorious’, the title track on the album, was also the last song written, and according to Louisa, to word “sums up the album the most.”
She explains: “It’s not a themed album necessarily, it’s just a girl, growing up and telling a story. It’s personal and it’s all sorts of things that have happened to me that I’ve put into words. And music, because that’s what music is! But yeah, it’s very personal. I’ve put a lot into it, oh my god, personally. I’m going to shut up.”
While her eloquence might be slightly damaged by tiredness, her enthusiasm is unhampered. She admits that being so personal with her music was mildly terrifying though. “It’s really scary, and you think, ‘I hope they don’t realise what that is about’. Sometimes I twist things around and make them not said the obvious way. So other people can have their interpretation of it.
“It’s always nice when people come back and they’re like, ‘I know what you wrote that about’, or ‘I’ve gone through that’. It’s nice because you know they’ve looked into it.” Louisa pauses. “I’ve just wandered off in thought… what was the original question?”
The conversation derails slightly as we touch on ex-boyfriends and the pain of dumping people – ‘Echo’, towards the end of the album, is written about an argument she had with said ex-boyfriend. He hasn’t gotten in touch about it though. Louisa doubts he will, given her status as a “heartbreaker”. It’s not the first word you’d really associate with Foxes. Did she ever worry about being paraded around as – dare we say it – a Fox-y singer?
“I did worry about that, at the beginning,” Louisa admits. “I didn’t want people to think Fox - Foxy. That’s ridiculous, and nobody would ever call themselves that. But really, it doesn’t matter. People that are gonna do that, are gonna do it. All I can say it that it was never a reason why I called myself that.”
She continues: “Foxes went with the music. If anything, I wanted it to be less about me and more about the music, and that’s why I didn’t use my name, because I didn’t want it to be about the artist. Music, first and foremost. But whatever name you have, people can twist it and… do weird things.” If music’s the only thing people judge Foxes on, ‘Glorious’ is sure to be a massive hit. But with Louisa’s face on the front of it, there’s no way you couldn’t know that she’s the mother of this baby. And she’ll do whatever she can to make it as big as possible.
Foxes’ debut album ‘Glorious’ is out now via Epic Records / Sony.