IMAGE COURTESY OF FLORA HANITJIO
London native Louisa Rose Allen's personality doesn't necessarily mirror her voice. Allen, who is quite shy and very gracious one-on-one, can really stun a crowd with her spellbinding and powerful electropop songs. The 22-year-old, who goes by the name Foxes (and is now one of Neon Gold's newest muses), is a '90s-influenced songstress whose dark, elegant, personal music bears comparison Mazzy Star, Robyn, and Purity Ring. You may have already heard Allen's gloomy dance-pop gem, "Youth," as it was featured on Gossip Girl; if not, you can hear Allen's strength in both the lyrics and the music on her aptly titled EP, Warrior, which comes out July 10. Allen will also play US gigs starting this month.
We spoke with Louisa Rose Allen on getting musical inspiration from films, speaking up for her generation, and being a "warrior."
ILANA KAPLAN: You're relatively new to the music scene. How has it been going since putting Foxes into action?
LOUISA ROSE ALLEN: I've been writing for a while now, but it sort of all came together about a year ago through a few different people. I was writing before that, though. I dropped out of music school, but I started doing my own stuff about a year ago, really.
KAPLAN: How did you come up with the name Foxes?
ALLEN: Well, my friend Sarah said it to me as a joke: "Why don't you call yourself Foxes?" I was like, "No. That's ridiculous. Why would I call myself ‘Foxes'?" I actually spoke to my mom the next day, and I said, "Oh mom, I'm actually thinking about calling myself ‘Foxes.'" She was like, "Oh my God! I had a dream about these foxes running down a road, and they were howling—making all of these beautiful noises. It reminded me of your music." So, it was my mom, really.
KAPLAN: Are you just releasing an EP this summer, or a full album?
ALLEN: This summer, there's the EP coming out. There's no release date for the album yet. "White Coats" is actually a bit of a rough time. Basically it was a bit like a way for me to make fun of myself. I think basically everyone at some point feels a bit lost, or they feel like they're going a bit mental. It was quite nice for me to relate everything to something ridiculous, like men in white coats coming to get you because you're going insane. It's a little bit of a love story as well. It's about someone sticking by you, if that makes any sense. That's "White Coats." I think "Warrior" is quite similar. I think they were written in the same sort of time of my life, so they mesh together quite well. "Warrior" is definitely about fighting through something and being able to come out of something and feel stronger. It's basically about getting your strength from somewhere and using it. That's what "Warrior" is about; it's a "hope" song.
KAPLAN: Do you get your inspiration from other musicians or films? Your music is very cinematic.
ALLEN: I actually listen to a lot of soundtrack music. I think I am inspired more by films than I am music, just because I've always been into films my whole life. The visuals I find a lot more inspiring, and I work better when there are visuals of things. I listen to Björk, Patti Smith, and Nina Simone. I also love pop music. I think it's really interesting because I am a big fan of pop music. I think if you're able to take the outright "pop" and make it something different, then that's great. I love Drake. There are a lot of pop stars I like. I like Robyn and stuff like that.
KAPLAN: Will you be making your way across the world for a tour this summer?
ALLEN: Well, I'm coming to America in July. I'm going to come to LA, New York, and Boston for Neon Gold, so that's going to be really fun. Then sort of in the UK, a few festivals, which is going to be really good.
KAPLAN: Who is your dream performer to collaborate or play with?
ALLEN: I'm a bit afraid of meeting my heroes because I feel like I'd make an idiot of myself, or they wouldn't be the amazing person I had in my head that they are. I don't know. It couldn't be one of my heroes. Then again, someone like Robyn would be great to work with, but even with Drake, it might be great.
KAPLAN: What would you classify your music as, since it is a bit cinematic and jumps from sound to sound?
ALLEN: Well the weird thing is, I never really started off thinking about a genre that it could be. I think it comes from different places. I love pop music. I like sort of going out of the boundaries of pop music. I think it's experimental pop. I just don't like to be boring with it. I like to be exciting with it. I think experimental pop.
KAPLAN: You're 22 years old. What's the most challenging part of being such a young artist?
ALLEN: Maybe being taken seriously. I think it's quite interesting that a lot of young people can relate to you. You tend to write about things that young people aren't necessarily able to speak up about. It's quite nice to have a voice and have an understanding of music. My age really hasn't stopped me from doing anything. So, it's quite a good age. I don't know, but maybe I'll be saying something different in a year, but it's quite nice because when you're sort of busy, you can handle it.
WARRIOR IS OUT JULY 10. FOR MORE ON FOXES, VISIT HER WEBSITE.