For Finn Foxell, music has always been second nature. Growing up in Shepherd’s Bush, West London with a songwriter dad and a brother who was heavily involved in the grime scene might have had something to do with that. But Foxell’s been writing lyrics on his own since he was just eight years-old.
Now 23, the musician recently released his single Leaders, a punky, antagonistic rebuke to the UK’s sorry state of affairs. On it, Foxell laments the “rich, pompous pricks who judge when all of their kids wanna be like us,” over captivating guitar riffs, evoking Panic Prevention-era Jamie T and slowthai. It’s a much-needed anthem for disenfranchised youth.
“I started working with Jacob Manson, a good friend of mine, a couple of years ago,” Foxell says of the song’s inception. “He was the first person who put me in a space to try out real, guitar-driven music. I’d grown up listening to The Clash and Sex Pistols, but I had no idea where to start if I was to ever do that kind of thing. Jacob helped me make my first football stadium belter.
“Leaders is a record about class, which can get quite tricky,” he continues, “but I still want it to represent the majority and how we’re all fucking feeling, that frustration. I wanted to be inclusive while still making points.”
The track marks a sonic departure from his previous work, though it’s still just as energetic as his more rap-driven releases. Being a part of London music collective Elevation Meditation collective since Year 11, alongside the likes of DJ-producer P‑rallel and rapper Lord Apex, has had an immeasurable impact on Foxell’s journey so far, both musically and personally.
“We were all mutuals – a couple of the boys had gone to dance together, some of us went to primary together,” he continues. “Then we started listening to music, recording at P‑rallel’s who had a mic under his bunk bed. It solidified really quick, and from there we’ve built up this collective mind about where we want to go. It’s like a little brotherhood.”
Since working with Manson, though, Foxell’s “whole creative process has changed”. Before, he’d write lyrics on public transport and polish them up in the studio. “Now, I only hit the studio when I’ve really got something to say,” he says. “It’s been a really satisfying process for me. I feel like I’m becoming more of a songwriter.”
Below, we caught up with Foxell to talk about the latest (and scariest) AI technology, his favourite herbal tea and the importance of being “fucking kind”.
10% Where were you born, where were you raised and where are you now based?
Shepherd’s Bush for all three. I love Bush, but Ladbroke Grove is just as much my home. I love West London, man. I feel very grateful to have grown up there.
20% What kind of emotions and experiences influence your work?
Either trying to not focus on the bad things and have a good time, but also addiction. Quite guessable tales of shit that youth do in London and every corner of the world – I’m trying to personify that in my own little context. I hope it’s all pretty relatable for any young person living in a rat race environment.
30% What’s the most pointless fact you can share?
Did you know that AI has gotten to the point where there’s a piece of equipment that can read human inner voices? It can read the muscle movements in your face, jaw and throat that you make when you’re speaking. It can make out words from that. When we think things in our head, we say them with our muscles.
40% What’s that any good for?
There won’t be anymore torture! There’s no point. You just pop a headset on and know what someone’s thinking. That’s where the money is. So in a way, it’ll save people some proper ache.
50% You rule the world for a day. What’s going down?
If you could redistribute wealth in a day, you’d give it a go, wouldn’t you? In the morning, you’d have to sit down, grab a few financial chiefs and be like, “we need to push this over the line. You’ve got one day, let’s do a few random crypto transfers.” I’d put Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos on checkouts in Lidl as well – or community service. That’d be great.
60% What’s a bad habit you wish you could kick?
I’ve got a bit of a sweet tooth. I like chocolate, man.
70% What’s your chocolate of choice?
Kinder Buenos. And the little Kinder bars, the kids’ ones. They are too good. It’s gonna be a proper long road getting over them.
80% Love, like, hate?
I love tea, I like coffee and I hate camomile. It ain’t it. I want it to be, but it isn’t.
90% What about green tea?
The trick with green tea is that you have to leave the teabag in for a maximum of eight seconds, then add a tiny bit of sugar. It changes the game and turns into a warm iced tea. It’s really nice.
100% What can artists do to help save the world?
Artists can do a lot, whether it’s through messages in their music, pushing community work or general community values, or donating money. There are so many ways we can help this planet. I think the main thing, though, is to start by being nice. There are too many dickheads out there, especially in the music industry. Being nice gets you far, trust me. All that cutthroat shit, there’s no longevity to it. For the sake of your career and making the world a better place, just be fucking kind.