After the last show of Fox Stevenson in the capital, during the night Ghosts & Skulls organised by Epic Fail Events, Stoner Music went to his encounter in order to interview him for you guys to be able to learn some more about the character who has become unavoidable in the Bass Music world.
1- How and when did you start to make music ?
I started making music around 2001/2002. There was like a Playstation game that was like a program for making music but I didn’t get really into it until about 2005 when I started uploading my music to a website called “NewGram”. From there, I managed to get some pretty cool opportunities after that, and eventually found myself settled into a logic which is a music creation program and since that I have just been very serious about it since about 2007, 2008.
2- What are your main influences ?
My main influences though, to break this down, I don’t really know what my main influences are, I kind of sometimes try to work out what it is that I’m really after. But I was kind of unsure. I like melody, I like energy, I like stuff that’s really heavy but I also like stuff that’s really atmospheric. I don’t really know exactly where to settle on it. I really like the band Counting Crows. At the same time I really love Noisia. I don’t know I’m like a little weird model of lots and lots of very conflicting things and I try and make something that satisfies everything that I like, but I still haven’t fully done it yet.
3- Years ago, you were known as Stan SB, why did you choose to change your alias ?
There would be a couple of reasons around why I changed my name. The main one was being that It was quite old, like I’ve been Stan SB since about 2005 until 2013 or whatever. So that’s 8 years under the same name and the same music dating back and it just felt like I had this big weight on my back carrying behing me all this stuff that I’m not proud of anymore. So changing my name to Fow Stevenson wasn’t necessarily to look for a new music but another part of it was that Stan SB was just Drum and Bass and I wanted to be able to do everything. I still love Drum and Bass but I still want to do a lot of stuff too. Nowadays, I’m starting to move forward in life and I’m starting to want to do more and more different (ish) from what I’m doing now. I’m not sure if I want to yet but I might make another name, maybe I’ll change again for something new.That’s what I’ve been thinking about a lot in the last months. Probably like a main project, we’ll see, I don’t know.
4- Like for your future big project for example ?
There is a big project, I don’t know how much I can say about that and how much I have said in the past, I don’t want to start giving away too much information because it’s still something that I’m working my way on until it’s perfect. I can say that it involves songs that involves lots of vocals. It involves more live elements in recording: things such as guitars, pianos, drums and other singers for backing vocals instead of just vocals and stuff. I want to explore that and make something’s that’s not about drops and big clubs tunes. I want to make something that’s worthy of being an act. You know, artists, you go and see them, you go through a line up with a lot of Dj’s and enjoy yourself.
I want people to sing in concerts, I want to be able to perform, that’s all I want to do, this is all rolled into one. It might be nice to pop everything into one little whole of that and I don’t know yet whether I would do this under Fox Stevenson or under something else. Or maybe even kill off everything that I’ve done before. That’s the big question for me right now.
5- So you would like to create a band ?
Yes, yes definitely. How big that band is? I don’t know. It could just be two people, It could just be me and a drummer, and some instruments and stuff. What I don’t ever want to do is I don’t want it to be all about Midis and Keyboards.
6- You want to make something closer to Destroid for example ?
The thing I would say about Destroid is that It’s much more about drop music with big heavy drops. They kind of play DJ set lives… I would like to play songs and being able to talk in between them, much more like going to see a band but still with some electronic elements, because you know what people love. They love Dubstep and the drop music and stuff and that’s cool. I am sure there is good stuff that you can do in a band setting. I just don’t know yet.
7- So you don’t want to do a mix down between instruments and Midis ?
I don’t want to use Midis that’s what I definitely don’t want to do. I want it to be real instruments, I want it to be a performance of the songs instead of recreating the songs. It’s a performance of them instead. I think that’s much more exciting and especially right now. Dance Music over the last 10 years has got bigger and bigger for people. You know, in the young’s people’s mind, that’s what music sounds like, most of the music is electronic, bands are dead, I know that. The balance has shifted now that everybody understands electronic music. I think they are ready for electronic music to stop being just dance and start being something interesting and exciting.
I’m excited about it. I just hope I can make all my music sound exactly like I want to. From there, it’s about turning it into something that people want to come ans see.
8- You have a close relationship with Liquicity, can you explain to us what it brought to you ?
Liquicity was my first real opportunity, it took me from somebody uploading music on a little website into somebody who has fans. Like, I went from having 1000 views on a little upload to having 150000 views on a track that I made at the age of fifteen, sixteen. It definitely helped shape me, It definitely helped pushing me to try and be the things I wanted to be. Pretty quickly after that I made a track called « Tears In Rain » which is the real first vocal track that I did and that was because I knew suddenly that I had a place to really try to be what I wanted to be and over the years what I wanted to be has kind of changed in my mind: where and what I wanted to be… Nowadays I’m much more confident in where I want to be and Liquicity has put me in a place to be able to have a career where I can explore myself. From that, so many opportunities came and even though I kind of left Drum and Bass for a while, It’s always there.Liquicity is one of the most important things that happened in my career- without a doubt. I thank them for it every time I see them.
9- You released a couple of tunes on Spinnin Records, and you joined Disciple Recordings, while releasing tracks on Liquicity. How do you manage to get a mixed fanbase ?
This is one of the things I actually don’t know. I like having a mixed fanbase for a reason because It means people are always guessing: they never really know what I’m going to release. But at the same time it like sucks when I play at a House festival and I see people in the front row, while I’m playing a fun house set and enjoying myself, and I see them like “what are you doing ?!”.You guys wish I was playing Drum and Bass but that’s not what I’ve come play today. I’m on a stage with Oliver Heldens , I’m not on stage with Matrix & Futurebound. It’s not appropriate, you know, I still play 10 minutes of Drum and Bass in a House set and I still play 10 minutes of House in a Drum and Bass set.
And today with more Dubstep crowd, they’ll listen to anything like, I’ll be able to play House and Drum and Bass as much as I like today, I think.
10- Actually it depends of the location ?
In America they hate Drum and Bass,They love Trap. I have my own theories about that anyway because in the UK especially, we had punk music. In the UK we had Sum41 *sound of drums with his mouth* and Blink182, and they where very big but they where kind of alternative in America: and they had Hip-Hop. And if you think about the differences in rhythm between HipHop and Punk, and then think about the differences of rhythm between Drum and Bass and Dubstep : it’s basically the same thing. It’s just what they grew up with and what they’ve become and what they’ve learnt to understand about music, and that’s cool. I don’t know if it’s true but that’s how I see that difference. Dubstep is completely dead in the UK with maybe one or two nights a year.
11- Can we expect more vocal tunes in the future ? And what about the unreleased tunes we can listen in your mixes (like the vocal mix of Tico) ?
The original one already happened and I don’t think the vocal version of it will get released either. Most of the stuff that I’m working on at the moment people haven’t even heard. And I like that, I like that a lot.
There’s a lot of stuff I’m playing at the moment that is vocally and stuff, and these will probably get released on Disciple or Liquicity, or maybe Spinnin if they let me do a vocal house track, who knows ? There’s always gonna be new vocal tracks and all the unreleased ones, I know they exist and right now I don’t really care because I’m working on something I’m way more proud of. People might not like it this much, but I do.
12- Do you think that you will, one day, create a playlist with all your unreleased stuff ?
No, no, this is the problem I have with some artists to release so, so much music.
You stop being about the music and start being about you. And I don’t mind it being about the artist because that’s definitely part of being an artist but the public, they don’t want to know about you, they want to know about how you make it and who you are and how it makes your music sound like it does. I know that’s a really important part of things.
But, once you start releasing a track every 2 weeks, all the time, it stops making your music mean anything like, unless you are completely killing the game with radio plays all the time. It’s just going to mean you have loads and loads of pieces of music that are wasted. I get how it works for big DJ’s because you constantly have a new track out, you are getting booked all over and over but that makes you a complete other DJ, nothing is wrong with that. I’m just not interested in that. I want to release the things that are very important to me and where I feel it represents what I’m about. I’ve released stuff in the past, It hasn’t been like that. And I regret it completely. I just need to like, release the things that really really matters to me and I think that’s way more important than satisfying people. But this can have an impact on my career, and I know that.
13- What is your most amazing experience as an artist ?
I mean early on It was when people first started singing my songs back to me at shows, that was awesome, and I never considered that could happen. Later on, just recently, I had a moment that is a little bit nerdy and sad that this is such a highlight for me, but it was in a concert hall in Belgium. The backstage had like, this big room full of instruments for when they do orchestral concerts. And they had a full size, like 3 metres deep, Steinway piano and they are the best pianos in the entire world. I sat down and I had an hour with it. An hour on my own in this dark room with the Steinway piano and playing it and it was… hearing a song out of a phone speaker and hearing it on a great speaking system somewhere, and you play the notes and you get so much expression. That instantly became one of the highlights of my life and it’s so sad but like that’s it. It was pure music and I can’t explain it. And one day I will buy one. I need one in my life.
14- You seem to have an important relationship with instruments.
I think so, I mean I don’t think it has to be an acoustic instrument. I do love playing synthesiser, and you know, giving it my ideas maybe in doing something different from what’s expected but it’s a pushing point. It doesn’t have to be real strings, guitars and drums and things, but there is something magic in that, equally so as there is something magic in getting something digitally wrong, being accidental and interesting. That’s just the nature of being a producer and being someone who creates music from nothing instead of somebody who plays in a band. I think that’s something completely different and that’s amazing, in some way : being a producer and creating things just from ideas and through consciousness. I think that’s really important.
15- Who’s your favourite artist ?
That’s not something I can answer like there’s loads of people that I listen to and that I think are great and do cool things but there is often so many different reasons.
Like I saw Counting Crows before and I love the way that they lay up their guitar melodies and they create this kind of little bleepy sounds cape. And it’s like “ WOW, that’s huge!”.
Noisia are incredible at making something that’s super intriguing in a very different way and it stamps you around the face because it’s so cool and so hard but so perfectly engineered.
I like Gotye, he is an amazing song writer in a very different way: he’ll be in his home studio hitting drums and having ideas and never stopping or going, like there’s a video of him online where he goes to this desert sound playground where they’ve got these fences with big long strings and he is hitting them and recording them. They take sound like a 100 miles away and he makes a song out of that. That’s really cool.
I really love Police because it’s just awesome cool song writing in ideas.
Asap Rock, because you never hear him repeat the same kind of ideas in his lyrics. He is so wordy and it’s literary. It’s- almost poetry because the words are just so graphed. Asap Rock is my favourite lyricist without a doubt.
And there’s a band called Middle Man from Leeds that I’ve actually been working with recently on this project and they make really cool shouty, angry, almost a bit like The Prodigy, pop music and I don’t know what they’re doing now, probably working on a new album but I’ve always loved their music.
And so many others I didn’t mention, they’re fucking cool too. There is a lot of people that influence me in loads and loads of different ways.
16- Do you have any relationship with the fox ?
I like foxes, they’re kind of pretty. My friend always used to send me videos of foxes playing with owners and stuff like that. They are cool animals and, I guess because I keep on getting sent those videos, I like them more. I haven’t got a real relationship with foxes in anyway. It’s just because a friend used to call me “ Fox”
17- Do you have something to say to your fans ?
I am sorry. I’m not very good to my fans, I spent time thinking that I was getting work done and then I’ll hate it. A couple of months have been wasted. It’s because I’ve never been fully satisfied. I’ve never really been completely happy with where I am and what I am doing. I want to be performing to crowds, with a band and being able to do that for living, and make albums and make music and shows and visual things and : EXIST AS MY MUSIC. And I’ve not been able to do that yet. In full time I make music whenever I want but I don’t have that level of purpose yet because I’ve been in the Dance Music world and it’s fine, I would never want to stop being a DJ. But, my project is all about jumping on and becoming THAT thing. I just hope it works. I’m excited and confident about it but if it doesn’t work I’m not going to be stupid, I’m not going to be like “I’ve got to do this anyway”. I didn’t go to university because the music stuff was already happening. If this project doesn’t work I’ll just make lots and lots of club bangs and have fun with it. I’ll be a DJ and I could live very happily like that. But I’ve got to try before that ! Bear with me, It’s common, It’s all common and I am excited about it and you should be too.
A big thank you to Fox Stevenson and to all the Epic Fail Events friends for having enabled us to make this relevant interview possible. We hope you learned more about this passionate English artist, and more about his musical surroundings.
Listen to « Knowhow » from Fox Stevenson.
BASS IS LIFE, BASS FOR LIFE