Fox Elipsus is an independent musician from Oxford, England. He has been touring in the United States, playing free shows mainly at Starbucks Coffee Houses and bookstores. I got the chance to sit down with him for an interview after his concert in Lake Charles, LA.
Bridget Delaney (BD): So your name is Fox Elipsus?
Fox Elipsus (FE): Yeah. Yep. Fox Elipsus.
BD: Do you have any musical background?
FE: Not really. I’ve been singing and playing since I was about five years old, but I never had any lessons or did any classes or anything.
BD: So, no music in school?
FE: Just the basic classes that you have in school, but mostly I did it just in my spare time as it was always a hobby, a pastime, and an ambition.
BD: So you’re an independent artist?
FE: Yes, exactly.
BD: Are you looking to, like, get an agent?
FE: Not really. Most of the offers I’ve had from agents, and managers, and record companies have been from companies or agents which have other artists they represent and I look at the artists and they mostly have less talent than I do or less CD sales than I do already and I’m doing it by myself. If it would be anything, it would be with someone on a much higher level than what I’m doing now and I haven’t come across anything like that yet, but if I do, I’ll consider it. It would have to be where I didn’t have to change what I sing about, and my principles, and ideas. That would be the most important thing, but if someone was basically saying “we want you to do this in a much bigger way,” I would definitely consider that.
BD: Have you published any of your songs?
FE: Published, as in?
BD: Well, any, like, professional, or just yourself like MySpace, YouTube?
FE: Yeah, I have my three CDs now. They’re on Amazon, and they’re all over the web on different various websites. Itunes and everything, so yeah. I’ve got about 100 songs on there now. They’re all professionally recorded. Those are what I sell at the shows, so those are pretty popular.
BD: You said you are on iTunes. Are you on any other music websites like PureVolume, CD, Baby, SoundExchange?
FE: I’m on CDBaby, and Amazon, and iTunes, and probably about ten others, but I always tell my fans that if they want to buy my stuff or even hear it for free they should go to my official website or my Facebook or something because when they get it from my official website, I get all the money and it’s especially cheaper for them to buy it from me. I think it’s like $14 for a CD from Amazon, but it’s only $10 from my website. On iTunes, it’s like 69 cents per song, but there’s 30 something songs on my CDs, so that ends up being like $20 for the whole CD whereas on my website, it’s $10 for the whole thing. And, plus, you know, then I get the money and I know they want to support me if they want to buy my stuff, so it’s always better for them to get it through my official website if they can. It’s cheaper, too, for them.
BD: So, what are your songs about? What do you tell people they’re about?
FE: Well, I have some love songs. I have some funny songs for kids, but the main reason I do this is to sing about issues and meaningful stuff and bring meaning back to this genre of music, the popular music. I sing about animals rights. I sing about human rights. I sing about peace. Definitely a lot of songs about peace, about the environment, about different countries and accepting each other and tolerance and sharing. A lot of things inspired by artists like John Lennon, Jimi Hendrix, and Bob Dylan, and Bob Marley who used to sing about that stuff all the time. I don’t hear enough of that in today’s music and that’s why I wanted to do mostly songs like that.
BD: Obviously, you have John Lennon on your shirt. You like his song, “Imagine.” Do you have any other favorite musician other than Lennon and The Beatles?
FE: Yeah, well, in terms of the messages, I’ve always liked John Lennon, Bob Marley, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, and people like Michael Jackson who would sing about the environment and peace all the time, even more recently. In terms of musical style and what they sound like, my influences are more people like Coldplay, Keane, Depeche Mode, Muse, A-ha, Duran Duran, stuff from the 80s and 90s and now more mellow European sounding stuff. That’s more what I sound like, but the messages are more like the old classic people that were singing about peace. In terms of the sound it’s more like new wave or alternative stuff.
BD: When you describe your music to people, do you describe it as, like, new wave?
FE: Yeah, some of it is new wave. Some of it is pop. Some of it is soft rock. Some is adult contemporary, alternative. Some is love ballads. So, it’s like a cross between all that stuff, but if I have to pick one genre, it would be adult alternative, ’cause that’s kinda what it is.
BD: So, you know, they have like the daytime and nighttime talk shows. If you got to play on one, do you have one that you’d really like to play on?
FE: I’d like to do Ellen and Oprah because Ellen and Oprah promote the same values and issues that I do and they also look out for undiscovered talent whereas other ones like Leno and Letterman look for who is hot right now, who has just been signed by a big label, whereas Ellen and Oprah go for the people who are singing about peace, who haven’t been discovered yet, and I respect that. If I could choose, I would go on those two, but I’ll probably go on whichever one invites me if they do.
BD: It looks like you play in a lot of Starbucks, but if you play a venue, are you one of the artists that likes the house lights on or off?
FE: I don’t care, really. I mainly just want to play somewhere that’s free and where families can come, so I don’t ever play, like, bars because then it’s like 21 and over and I don’t play clubs, because then they charge you to get in. I just play places where I can invite lots of families and kids, older people, middle aged, young, everything, and everyone can show up for free and watch the show and sit down. I like places where they’re not pressured to buy anything, so in restaurants it’s a little bit more awkward because everyone’s like, there’s a server coming over saying, “what do you want to eat?” Whereas if I play in Starbucks or an independent coffee shop or a bookstore, people can just sit down and listen to the music and never have to feel pressured to buy anything and I like that, because even if you have no money, I think you should be able to see my show without feeling like, “Oh, I have to buy a drink, or I have to buy a CD,” but I always mention my CDs, but I never say like, “Okay, everyone who showed up to the show and the show is free, so you have to buy a CD.” I like the fact that you can listen to my stuff for free and I even offer it for free online for people who can’t afford it.
BD: So what has been your favorite place to perform that you’ve been? Do you have any?
FE: In terms of a city?
BD: Yeah, do you have any favorite, like, places?
FE: Honestly, Texas, because I’ve played in lots of countries and every state of the US except Hawaii and Alaska and I’ve played all over Canada, but I’ve never had as many CD sales or as big of crowds as I do when I’m in Texas. It’s not every Texas show, but if you look at my top ten shows, out of 1,000 in my whole life, Texas is eight of the top ten, so it’s really a good place to play. Other than that, I like every city I go to. I like all the different food and meeting all the different people and some shows are just terrible and some shows are fantastic. Some are just normal, average, and I don’t really hold grudges, but I go back to the ones that are pretty good, or the ones that are really good.
BD: Do you have a dream venue, like a place you’d really like to play?
FE: I’d like playing in stadiums, I haven’t done that yet. I’ve played in a couple of arenas once or twice, like support a big act, but I’ve never played in a stadium, obviously, ’cause I’m not very well-known, but some day, I would like to do that. I don’t have humble aspirations. I have big aspirations. Even if I was playing in arenas, you wouldn’t hear me saying, “Okay, this is it. This is where I want to be.” I want to actually play in big stadiums, probably with a band, because you know, solo artists, when they play big crowds, they have a band behind them. So, that’s the idea, playing places like Wembley Stadium in London or the San Siro in Milan or any big soccer stadium because I grew up watching soccer and I loved it and you know, I would love to play in those big stadiums like U2 and Coldplay does. I’m a long way away from that now, but you never know.
BD: It’s a weird question, but I always ask it to make it my interview. What’s your favorite hat?
FE: My favorite hat?
FE: Uh, I have this really uncool wooly hat. It’s like tie-dye colored and it’s like so bad that people say, “Don’t wear that because people will think you’re silly,” but it covers my ears, and wraps around my throat and keeps me warm when I’m in the cold climate, so I love this hat. It’s got little tassels and like little doilies and it comes right down to my chin, it’s perfect. So, that’s my favorite hat even though it’s not cool.
BD: I know you’re into a lot of music websites, but what are other websites that you like?
FE: I always keep up on the soccer and see what’s happening back home in England and mainly just Facebook because that’s where I keep in touch with all my fans and my official website and I don’t really have much time for anything else in my life. There’s nothing I do for fun. This is all I do, but it’s so much fun that I don’t really need much else. I go to Yelp because Yelp has good restaurant recommendations like locally owned family food, so I go there a lot so I can check out the local eateries that are cheap and delicious that are owned by local families instead of going to the chain restaurants
BD: Good interview, thank you.
To find out more about Fox Elipsus or buy his CDs you can visit the follow websites.
Fox Elipsus’s personal website
Fox Elipsus’s Facebook
Fox Elipsus’ MySpace
To hear this interview, you can go to the Fox Elipsus Interview File on Sound Cloud.