Every Monday we will be bringing you an unsigned artist as part of our Independent Music Monday feature. This week, we caught up with Phillip Foxley find out more about him…
Where are you from and how did you first get into music?
Well, I was born in Urmston, Manchester UK, but I moved to Conwy, North Wales, over 30 years ago. I first got into music way back in the 1970’s when I was given an old (even then) Gibson SG Junior. This was even more remarkable because I’m a left handed player, so to find a guitar like that… left handed – wow! Anyway, I learned to play loads of simple riffs, including Black Sabbath, Deep Purple etc on this guitar – that’s how I first got into music.
The weird thing is that, as time moved on and I became a bit more proficient, I began to think that my beloved SG – with its short scale neck and single P90 pickup - was a kind of student or start up guitar and I started yearning for a more ‘advanced’ guitar with two (or more) pickups. I mention this because I sold the SG for next to nothing at the time, yet I saw the very same, now rare, vintage guitar sold only recently for nearly £3,000. How wrong I was!
Who were your musical influences when you were growing up and who are your influences now?
My influences are many and varied and I’ve realised that this changes over time e.g. in the early days it was Tony Iommi, Mick Ronson, Ritchie Blackmore, Andy Powell and Zal Cleminson. Now it’s Joe Satriani, Johnny Winter, Mark Knopfler, David Gilmore. I’m also stunned by the artistry of Yngwie Malmsteen in small doses.
How would you describe your sound?
This is a tough question and one which raises some debate. The thing is that I don’t (can’t?) write and stay in any one particular genre. My music tends to veer from soft acoustic ballads with female vocal (‘Promises’ ), through retro pop (‘I Don’t Mind!’), electric blues / blues rock (‘Demon Lover’ and ‘It’s Up To Us!’) and all the way through to rocking guitar instrumentals (‘All Or Nothing!’ and ‘Time’ etc). I said debate because this musical ‘lily hopping’ could indicate a lack of focus and put off potential specific genre fans.
On the other hand, I like to think that it shows great flexibility and variety. This is the main reason I like to write music for pitching to film/tv licensing opportunities and, in my book, one song is all you need to change everything - fingers crossed eh?
What is your latest single called and what was the influence behind it?
My latest single, released in early October 2017, is called ‘It’s Up To Us!’. The song carries a strong, positive message about unity, understanding and freedom in the world today and I think it really is up to us all to change it for the better. There have been many recent sad examples to influence this song and I just wanted to capture a sincere sentiment as I wrote it.
What’s your local music scene like?
I think our local music scene in Conwy is amazing really. There are some really talented artists around e.g. the acoustic artist Daniel Williamson and the excellent Jamie Porter Band, to name just two. There is also a lively music scene with several established live venues e.g. Bank of Conwy and The Blue Bell, just down the road from me. Also, being a historic seaside town, Conwy has a superb music festival spirit, with Folk, Bluegrass, Cajun and Zydeco weekends, on a regular basis.
What do you have planned for the next 12 months? Any albums or festivals?
My plan is to just keep writing and recording tracks for my debut album ‘I’ll Try ‘Till I Die’ released in October 2015.
The main goal in creating the album was to generate a 'scrapbook' of musical ideas and chord/melody snippets collected over the years – just for posterity really. A released album was not the original intention. However, the more I got into the recording process, the more instruments and talented artists I found to complete the songs. So, in a way, the album sort of evolved into the released version. It’s funny really because I don’t intend to release another album so I just keep adding tracks to this one – it has 24 tracks already. Not a great marketing strategy, I know, but it just works for me.
s there anyone you’d love to collaborate with?
Yes! I have four new tracks in the pipeline which I’m quite excited about.
One track in particular ‘Pictures’ was written way back in 1997 and heavily influenced by ‘Going Underground’ by the Jam. I’m currently searching for a male vocalist with a definite Paul Weller, strong Cockney style for this one – Paul? I’d love to release this one soon.
The other three tracks are suited for male or female vocals, so I’m always looking for collaboration from experienced recording artists, if anyone’s interested.
Any funny stories surrounding your live performances?
No, not really as I haven’t performed live for quite some time. These days I prefer working in my own mini studio, in my own time. Having said that, I may just join a couple of ‘Open Mike’ evenings at one of the local venues, if they’ll have me.
What is the one thing that you want readers to know about you?
Err! Well, when I’m not writing music, I am an Electronics Design Engineer by profession.