17 On The Frontline: Lancey Foux

“Anyone that listens to me never knows what to expect. Development is key”.

Who is Lancey Foux? What might seem like a simple question becomes an intricate and complex review within 5 minutes of chilling with the East London artist. After meeting up on a rainy day in South London to seeing him come alive in an East London studio, it’s clear that Lancey Foux is not one to be defined and in that medium is where he thrives.

After making music for just under two years, it could be easy to assume that music was his chosen path. While this is true in parts, it seems that music is just one of many life choices he could have made; “I knew I could make music from birth. I believe that I can do a lot of things and it is just the path I knew I could focus on and consistently pursue and music was that. I’m just confident in myself”.

Lancey Foux is confident. After admitting that he first started recording music for fun and making over 500 tracks by just freestyling over downloaded YouTube instrumentals, he first popped up on many people’s radars back in 2015. It was the release of his first full-length EP, ‘PINK’ that got people looking. The fact that the EP boasted 14 tracks was rule-bending to say the least and this non-conformity was something that rang true throughout, with a diverse pallet of inspirations and sounds. Not wanting to confine himself, Lancey sings and raps his way through an eclectic blend of instrumentals. What works so well about ‘PINK’ is that despite its polarised soundscape, a common theme of expressionism brings the project together. When we speak about the project, he boasts that it’s not the project he remembers, but the message he wanted his listeners to take away from it; “I just wanted people to say that even if they don’t understand it, they like it. I didn’t need them to be specific with what beats or what bars they like but I just wanted to know that they felt something from it, whatever that might be”.

It was this initial buzz that allowed Lancey to approach music differently. By understanding how people received his music and what they got from it, he knew that a “purpose was coming”. To many artists, the idea of fans relating to your music is something that is sought after but to Lancey, it’s deeper than that. He measures the impact of his music through feeling, more importantly making people feel different. By listening to a project like ‘PINK’, Lancey hopes to unlock something in his listeners. As he puts it “I make music, to get that feeling out of someone that they ain’t ever had come at them before”. This outlook on his material lends itself to the experimentation within it, from cross-genre influences and sounds.

You know when people say they will never change, I don’t believe that to be true because you need to change in order to see progression.

Lancey Foux is not forever. Growing up, Lancey was influenced by the flamboyancy and showmanship of characters like David Bowie, Prince and Michael Jackson. He saw that each took on a personality of their own and were able to stay relevant due to their ever evolving personas. As such, Lancey is a product of this moment and time and he looks to make as much of an effect as he can. While he has goals for Lancey Foux, he understands that he can’t and won’t be Lancey Foux forever and that he has 100 personas left to explore;

You know when people say they will never change, I don’t believe that to be true because you need to change in order to see progression. You have to change. If I hadn’t changed and I was the same person I was 6 months ago, I would be upset. I know that I have to keep developing to be a never ending product. Like David Bowie, you work in eras and you’re not confined with being the same person with the same sound. Anyone that listens to me never knows what to expect. Development is key”.

This persona-shifting mentality also allows Lancey to label himself as a ‘genre-less artist’. When discussing his role within the UK scene, he answers with a juxtaposed answer, “to excite and alienate. I know people don’t understand, get or even like what I do or the way I present myself”. His hope is to inspire a generation of kids who aren’t drawn to the sound and culture of the classic UK scene. He wants to reach out and bring out the gangster’s little brother and or make the little girl who likes weird stuff feel more confident. He wants to be a role model for the talented young people who haven’t seen anyone doing it differently. He looks to break that mould.

Lancey Foux is his own worst enemy. Talking about his challenges in music lead Lancey to talk about his early attitude in music and how that held him back from progressing. He also says that he initially found it hard to “move in music circles” and speak to media outlets. He openly admits that his challenges have been self-inflicted and that he is learning from every challenge he faces. This honesty is where the unique identity of Lancey lives, as he navigates a career at such a young age, facing obstacles and overcoming them as they arise.

When I started music, it weren’t even me on my Twitter for a long time and it’s all a game.

In the days leading up to our meeting, Lancey had created a storm amongst his fans by posting a picture alongside AJ Tracey and speculations began to fly about the possibility of the two collaborating. When asked whether the two were collaborating, the response was both direct and vague at the same time; “AJ Tracey is my guy. Music is gonna come, I just can’t tell you when”. This leads us to talking about the impact and influence of social media. Lancey is active on all platforms of social media and while he understands its benefits, he knows how it can be used to mislead as well; “Twitter is Twitter, it ain’t real. When I started music, it weren’t even me on my Twitter for a long time and it’s all a game. You see how much you can do on there and the amount of hype you can build. Danny Seth always tells me is that it is all about perception and that if it looks good, people are gonna fuck with it, even if people are hacking the retweets”.

Lancey Foux is meticulous. In the past 12 months, Lancey has only dropped four videos [five including his latest project, ‘Line It Up’ which dropped this week] and this is down to Lancey’s cautious eye for detail. In his own words, he actually wanted to make loads of crazy videos but his plans were altered due to him being so specific with what he wanted to get across. Wanting to change the way we see visuals in the UK is no easy feat and Lancey looks to fellow UK artists such as Kojey Radical, 808INK and Daniel OG as the forerunners in helping with that change. This group of boundary-pushing artists are helping to elevate the scene and the visuals amongst it; “We need to take this art seriously”.

He takes a large role in the visual side of his music and this can be seen in each of his videos from 2016. There is definitely a sense of ‘quality over quantity’ with each video taking on a life of its own and speaking for themselves. The videos, with ‘Do You Like It?’ being a perfect example, balance mystery and intrigue that leave enough to the imagination. This would seem to be part of Lancey’s plan with him wanting to explore listener’s imagination:

Imagination is important. With my visuals, it’s hard to understand what is going on and that’s part of it because I want people to make that decision for themselves.

Setting goals is not something that Lancey Foux is about; “Real goals happen when you just keep living and you don’t plan it. If you plan it too much, you start chasing the specifics and it fucks you up. Things will fall into place and you have to learn to work within that”. He doesn’t even look at progress because for him, his career is a never-ending journey. Measuring success is not easy but for Lancey, it doesn’t matter. He believes in himself and doesn’t lack confidence.

There are lessons in how he acts as an artist and how he handles his music career. He doesn’t hold back when thinking of the future and by not limiting himself, he is able to aim for the sky; “In a year’s time, I want to see myself pioneering something. I believe in opening up and making change. Now is a good time for the scene because you can see people branching out and doing shows in crazy places. We need to keep pushing through”.

So, who is Lancey Foux? It’s clear that Lancey Foux is whoever you want him to be. To define him with one label would be counter-productive to the man he has become. At the end of our conversion, I ask him how he wants to be remembered. After a long pause [and a lot of thinking], Lancey contemplates on whether he will be remembered at all. However, he switches lanes and says that he should be remembered for what he does, not who he is; “I want people to remember me for inspiring people to do something new, be confident and believe in themselves. Through my music, my videos, through me; I want them to take something from it and remember me for that. Just do your thing”.