It’s only 10AM and Foxes aka Louisa Rose Allen is only drinking water, but the 22-year-old is giddy, and no wonder—it’s been a pretty sweet year so far. In January she released her debut single “Youth” on Neon Gold, while its flipside “Home” found its way to soundtracking the fraught closing scenes of a recent episode of Gossip Girl. Dianna Agron from Glee fired off a tweet of appreciation and just recently, totally out of the blue, one very popular New York indie band and one very established chart-topping songwriter hit her up to see if Allen would be up for collaborating when she heads over to America for her first US mini-tour this July.
Raised on a diet of Kate Bush, Patti Smith, then in the ’90s the Spice Girls, Eminem and, amusingly, Aqua, Allen laughs readily, “I wasn’t a cool child!” In fact, she pulls a great deal of inspiration from the union of film and music; as a kid she watched Forest Gump and Leon on loop. It’s easy to see Allen’s appeal: her songs are darkly glimmering cuts of alt-pop showcasing easy melodies and a vulnerable tear in her tone. The forthcoming Warrior EP offers “White Coats,” her finest song yet (see video above). She’s already halfway through recording her debut album, which includes field recordings of beer cans pouring, cars breaking and “loads of random crap.” Read my interview below and check out this new, exclusive D&B-heavy remix by Cinematic of the title track below.
Stream: Foxes, “Warrior (Cinematic Remix)”
“White Coats” is my favourite song off your EP. What inspired the lyrics? I had these horrific headaches for the three weeks just before Christmas. It got so bad, I couldn’t sleep. They’d been doing tests but my doctor was like, “I need to refer you to the hospital, you need to go now”. So they rushed me to the hospital and I had a head scan. In the hospital I had such a strange feeling of not being in control. My boyfriend was amazing, but he kept saying, “You might get a song out of this.” Luckily everything was fine, it was just migraines, and after that I wrote “White Coats.” The song is a bit like a weird love story, because in my head I saw it as my boyfriend taking me away from all of this awful stuff that was going on. This concept of being in a mental institution and us running away and me being okay again.
Where did Foxes come from? There’s a singer called Lucy Rose and I was Louie Rose. Then of course there’s Lily Rose Allen, and I’m Louisa Rose Allen. So I just thought, I’m going to have to completely change my name. The first song I ever wrote was called “Like Foxes Do” and my manager suggested Foxes. I rang my mum the next day and I said, “What do you think about Foxes?” And she was like, “Oh my God. I had a dream last night that foxes were running up our road, hundreds of them, and they were making really haunting, beautiful sounds, and it reminded me of your music. Louie, this is really weird, you’ve gotta do it!” My mum’s been right so far, so I thought, sod it: I’ll be called Foxes.
On your previous single “Youth” you sound pretty preoccupied with the pressures of growing up, which is surprising given your age… I did get to 20 and suddenly felt I had to grow up and get a real job, it started to feel really serious. I couldn’t understand why you couldn’t still have childish mannerisms and still enjoy life as a child would and not suddenly get stuck in a dead-end job and not fulfill your dreams. So I think it was more me going, “Sod it, I’m going to go and do what I want to do, I don’t have to grow up.” There’s a lyric at the beginning that says, They didn’t warn me when I was running wild/ Dragons breathing fire in the backyard. Because my mum was like, “Go and do what you want to do,” I didn’t feel like I got the warning that you’re going to have to grow up at some point. The dragon line refers to me when I was younger: I had this huge imagination and I could look out the window and there’d be dragons. It was lovely, that childhood way of thinking, and I don’t think anyone should lose that. We should all be as young as we feel. I’ve been brought up to think that.
So you were born in Southampton. What drew you to London? I always wanted to get out. My sister’s ten years older and she moved up to London when she was 18 and I always looked up to her. My friends used to take the piss out of me because at school I’d be like, “London’s amazing, the buses are huge! Even the buildings are bigger!” I fell in love with London at a really young age. Even the tubes, I loved getting on the tubes. You know when you’re 18 and a lot of your friends are doing something, and you think you need to go and do that as well? They were all doing beauty courses and I was on the phone to my sister, telling her about the beauty course and she was like, “No way. Get up here now, you’re living on my sofa, you’re going to music school, come here right now.” I got in the car with my mum and I had two days to go to uni, and “Stop Me” by Mark Ronson was on in the car. My mum’s brilliant and quite mental and she turned it up really loud and she went “Lou, it’s a sign! You’ve got to go!” She literally drove me up that day. And I never looked back.
Is the city therefore a big influence on you? It’s massive, a massive inspiration. London feels like the stopping place for people that are creative and want to do something. I felt like in Southampton I wouldn’t necessarily flourish whereas I feel like I can go anywhere from here. It’s like Southampton, London, rest of the world!