Manchester vocalist Fox has been blessing a fair few tracks recently with his Ragga twang, something influenced by being raised in Jamaica. From the hard, amen led sound of Shackles with Spectrasoul, to the sharper, more minimal sound of Never Been with Dub Phizix, his names synonymous with good quality collaborations and heavy vocals. With a debut album on the way and plenty of other vocal contributions in the works, we caught up to chat all things from conning Friction, to nights out, influences and collaborations.
Easy Fox, tell us a bit about yourself firstly, what makes you tic other than music?
Easy, well, other than music its people and then JD, or is that JD and then people?
What goes down when you’ve had a bad day?
Without trying to sound cliché, music pretty much saved me from the pitfalls of road and it’s still my first and most consistent therapeutic method.
What were your main musical influences growing up?
I was born in Manchester and grew up in Kingston from the age of 1 and my influences are based on the open culture we have over there. Music is less segregated over there so I grew up just loving music. My pops got bare old Motown records though and I fed on that til teen years when dancehall kidnapped my attention. So influences range from Al Green to Dennis brown, Ninja and Supercat.
At the minute, what would you describe as a perfect friday night?
Not long played Fabric with Dub Phizix, Strategy and Skittles and that was pretty close to perfect. Any night playing music surrounded by my peoples is perfecto.
And how about sunday recovering?
I like how you just went from friday night, skipped sat and went straight to Sunday recovery hahaha. You sound like you can come party with us! Recovery is fresh fruit, water and rice and peas and chicken!
Haha no half measures! If you could collab with one other vocalist, who would it be?
Err, it would be easier asking me for the cure for cancer! So many artist I love and respect and would love to collabo with its nigh on impossible to say ‘the one’.
How did you become a vocalist, and what made you realise that it was what you want to do as a career?
In hindsight, I’ve always been singing but I come from a family where that wasn’t even an option career wise so I never even thought bout it. When I came back to the UK I used to roll with a bredrin and I would buss bars while we was grafting, he then went and got the mic at a club 1 night and said ‘here’ and I bin holding it ever since. I really believe without the options music gave me, I’d be in a darker less positive place, so big ups to music.
Despite being born in Manchester, you were raised in Jamaica before returning. How do you think that’s influenced your musical preferences and output?
Like I said previously, Jamaica doesn’t have as many boundaries around music, you can here some Kenny Rogers, Stevie Wonder and Cocoa T in the same dance. That influence allowed me a wide range of music to feast on. Also, the whole vibe of Kingston is so energetic that it feeds the soul and comes out in my music. I think any seriously deprived poverty stricken country provides the atmosphere to become really creative and at the same time push some social messages.
You used to be in a crew called Subliminal Darkness. Tell us a bit about that…
Mid 90′s hip hop crew in Manchester, we pioneered a lot without actually putting much out officially. Subliminal Darkness was and is a major part of my life journey.
I know your associated with Estate Records, who else are you working with at the minute?
I get sent a lot of beats and at the moment I’m working on things with Joe Kalius, Biome, Dub Smugglers, Fitz, L Digs and Sylvia Teller amongst others. I’ve got collabs with Biome, Swingting, Sleeping Giants (Rodney P, Fallacy, Zed Bias), and DRS and Chimpo due out. Last month saw the release of ‘Shackles’ with Spectrasoul which has been doing well.
How did you hook up with Dub Phizix and where did the idea for Never Been come from?
I’ve known Dub Phizix for a while now and done quite a few collabo’s with him, the first was a track called ‘OK’. Never Been just happened organically as with everything else we’ve made. It’s a vibes thing and then we worry bout what to do with it, where and how its coming out.
Can you give us a bit more of an insight into what the lyrics are about, or who they refer to?
Hahaha, ive been getting asked that and I dunno if I wanna ruin the mystery. I should say something profound like its about world peace but…. it’s not. On the way to do Frictions Radio 1 show we decided to say it was about City wanting to be United… but that’s not true just jokes. It’s basically about people wanting to be you and do what you do rather than being original I suppose.
Haha heard it here first, BC got the scoop over Friction! I read a while ago you’ve got an album in the works, how’s that going? Who else features on it and when’s it dropping?
Yeah, got an album done with Chimpo who I’ve done a lot of music with over the years. Couple tracks are part produced by a mate called Dellano who used to produce for Raw T. There’s not a lot of collabs on there, mostly cause people were long or the timing wasn’t right but it does feature Strategy, Fallacy and Crystalize. Some pretty peng tunes on there! The first single is due out in the next couple months.
What else is planned for the future?
More of the same really. I constantly try and be progressive and so the difference will be that whatever I’m doing will be better. Watch out for the Estate Uk stuff, the vibe in the camp is next level and there’s nuff fresh talent about like T Man and Rollathat are stepping up. I’m looking forward to Outlook and the album dropping with Chimpo later this yr
Cheers for the time man! Any shouts or last words?
No doubt a massive shout to Dub Phizix, Chimpo, Strats, Skittles, Drs, Morny and the whole Estate camp. Diemond, Dellano, Fallacy, Cliff Uwey, Wafande, Swingting, Hotmilk and all who supports and appreciates my struggles n movements.