Foxes interview: 'I'm banned from Toys R Us in Southampton'
You may or may not have heard of Foxes, but if you haven’t that is definitely about to change. Louisa Rose Allen (as the tax-man knows her) had an exciting 2013, collaborating with the likes of Rudimental and Zedd, scoring a Top 15 hit with her single Youth (the song from the Debenhams ad) and preparing for the release of debut album Glorious early this year. We met up with the up-and-coming pop star to find out about the album and new single Let Go For Tonight - as well as the lowdown on what really happened in the Southampton branch of Toys R Us... How did you come up with your stage name? It’s so boring and so long... When I was really young, I wrote a song called Like Foxes Do, which was a shit song. When I got older I had to change my name, because I wanted to be a singer but Lily Allen kind of took both of the names, because I’m Louisa Allen and Louisa Rose Allen. One of my friends was like, ‘What about Foxes from that song you wrote ages ago?’, and I was like, ‘Absolutely not, that’s a ridiculous name’. I thought it was really silly, but it was one of those things that just stuck with me. I rang my mum back home and we were having a catch-up and I said, ‘Mum, what do you think of the name Foxes?’ and she said, 'That’s so weird, because last night I had this dream about foxes running up our street making this really haunting howling noise. I remember thinking it really reminded me of your music’. We both thought it was so weird, and from there I thought that my mum had had this premonition. Mums are right all the time, I think. When was it that you knew you wanted to be a singer? I have always known. I know some people don’t always know but I have. I think I was singing before I could talk - I was that really annoying kid who was really hyperactive, running around and always performing. I used to sell tickets to my family and I made them come and watch me perform to them. I would sing Celine Dion's My Heart Will Go On all the time. It got to the point where I thought, I don’t think there is anything else I can do. My mum always said you should do what you love and if you work hard enough at something it will become a job. I got it into my head that if I worked hard enough at my hobby then I would make it into work. How did you go about making a career in music happen? Well, I went to music school but I didn’t really take it very seriously because I was very young. Later on I got management through one of my sister's friends, and I started writing loads and loads. Most of the songs were shit and it took me quite a long time to figure out what sound I wanted to have and what artist I wanted to be. I did eventually find that I woke up one day and I had it! With my record deal, I was meant to do a showcase at Ronnie Scott’s in Soho and all these label people turned up to see me, but at the last minute they couldn’t put me on until about midnight. Everyone was like, ‘Well people are going to go home, we need to get them to stay’. So I ran across the road to this little café and said, ‘I’ve got all of these record label people that have come to see me and if I miss this opportunity I won’t be able to be a singer’. I remember him being like, ‘No, you can’t do the gig here’, but I begged him and put some money behind the counter and asked him to chuck everyone out and he said okay. He literally saved my arse. We packed this café full of industry people and I sat there with a guitar and did four songs. The next day I got my offer. How would you describe the Foxes sound? That's a hard question because I never think about it too much. I’ve just had a lot of influences that have shaped my sound throughout time. If I had to describe it, I would say it’s quite melancholy, it’s pop but experimental pop and it’s anthemic in moments. I’m really inspired by soundtracks, so I think it's quite cinematic in places. It’s very personal too; it’s like a big diary. You’ve collaborated with Rudimental and Zedd over the last 12 months or so – how did these collaborations come about? They’re pretty different artists. They are, and I did a track with Fall Out Boy as well that is very different. It’s weird because the Zedd track, Clarity, has just been put up for a Grammy [for Best Dance Recording]. I find it really odd because I feel a bit detached from Clarity in a way. I mean, it’s so big in America and the rest of the world and then I come back here and no one really knows what it is. It’s insane what it has done for me though. I felt really privileged this year to be able to go off and work with these different people and see how they do things and pad along on their vibe. I think it’s made me really ready for my own stuff. Zedd worked with Lady Gaga on ARTPOP – what do you think of the album? Are you a fan of Lady Gaga? I went to see Lady Gaga quite recently, because I did the Jingle Bell Ball with Rudimental. I watched her and I was in awe, thinking it was insane. I could really hear Zedd’s production. He worked really closely with her. He is so talented, it’s just unreal. And is just soaring now. It couldn’t happen to anyone better. I don’t know anyone else who deserves it more. He is the hardest working guy you will ever meet. He is either on a plane or in the studio. Your debut album Glorious has been ready for some time – how does it feel now the release date is getting closer? I have a single coming out which I'm really excited about called Let Go For Tonight. I just want to release it now! The album will be following in March. I’m just going to be chucking singles everywhere. What can people expect from the album? Are Youth and Let Go For Tonight a good indication of the sound of the record? They are. I definitely do give a message out with every song - I like to try and put a good meaning behind it that people can relate to. It’s all really personal and I think the people who have been there from the beginning will be very happy, because I’ve stayed true to that person I was at the beginning. I don’t think doing all those bigger tracks [with Rudimental and Zedd] has swayed me. I still have my sound and my own thing running through it. There’s loads on the album: big pop songs, cinematic songs, really personal tracks, stuff that's more beautiful and chilled out. It’s got everything I always wanted an album to have. Who and what influenced you when you were making the album? I grew up inspired by Kate Bush and Patti Smith. And Massive Attack are a really big influence for me. Film too. When I was making the album I used to project movies onto my big white wall and watch the movies and write. I think I was also influenced by what was going on with me at the time. It’s all extremely personal. Female artists have been dominating the charts for some time now – who has stood out for you recently? It’s great. People like Haim, Icona Pop and London Grammar are really incredible. There is really great music coming out. Even mainstream artists are doing something kind of different. I think the songwriting has really improved; some great songs have come out this year. Rihanna’s What Now and even Wrecking Ball melodically are such incredible songs. There’s been a lot of debate recently about the objectification and hyper-sexualisation of young female artists. Your track Beauty Queen touches on this subject. What are your thoughts on the way female artists like Miley Cyrus, Rihanna and Lady Gaga are presenting themselves in the industry at the moment? It’s hard, isn’t it, because I think they’re well in control of what they’re doing. I don’t think they’re being forced to do anything. Actually, that stuff has always been around. I think people are finding it quite hard to deal with because Miley has come from this Disney past. If she had just come out without that past then I don’t think there would have been such uproar. I think that is why everyone feels very shocked. She’s quite young and when I was young I went through a stage of thinking that wearing hotpants and too much make-up was a good idea, but I wasn’t being filmed. It’s one of those things where she is just growing up and learning what is right and what is wrong. She’s just doing her thing. And Wrecking Ball, like you say, is such a great song. I actually think the music is fucking brilliant, so I don’t think she needs to do it. But she wants to do this stuff and she’s old enough now, so you can’t really judge. I don’t think I would ever do that. I think that with certain types of artists, that's just part of what they’re doing. They’re in control of it, but I just wouldn’t do it. I wrote Beauty Queen when I was reading magazines and wondered why everybody is so obsessed with the way we look. It’s so difficult just to live in the world now and be chilled out about it. I actually sang that song when I was on tour and it was interesting to see the reaction as people seemed really into it. At the time I felt pressured because of the tour and I felt like looking good was really important. But singing that song made me realise that really it should just be about the music. When you're not working on your music, how do you like to unwind? Do you ever go to gay clubs by any chance? Of course! They’re like my favourite places to go. I always used to go to The Edge in Southampton and we always used to be there at the end of the night. It was always welcoming. I don’t know what it is but there is something welcoming about going to a gay bar at the end of the night. You definitely have the most fun there. I just want them to play my songs. Hopefully they'll play the next single might because there’s some really, really good remixes for it. I noticed recently that you tweeted about getting banned from Toys R Us – did that actually happen? Haha I did! I’m such a kid. I went back to Southampton and we went to Toys R Us. We started talking about those mechanical cars that were amazing, but your parents never bought them. They were like the pinnacle of toy! We had a security guard following us round, because I think he knew we were up to something. We saw the mechanical cars and I got really over-excited and got inside one and started driving it round the store. I had the security guard chasing me. They were like ‘get out, you’re banned’, but I’m only banned from that store. I genuinely got banned though. Foxes' new single Let Go For Tonight is out on February 24. Her debut album Glorious follows on March 3. Listen to the amazing High Contrast remix of Let Go For Tonight below: [youtube height="315" width="560"]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tEvMG20iVF4[/youtube]