In the age of COVID, when everything is online, someone always must have technical difficulties. This person was me, and no more was this apparent than when I tried to video call Lucas Fox, independent musician and first year UEA student, on Zoom for an interview. Owing most of it to my technical incompetence, and cursing COVID for cutting out the possibility to meet in person, we had to finally switch to Microsoft Teams. When we got connected at last, he looked relaxed, and we laughed about the awkwardness of technology and the stress of university assignments.
When asked why he decided to write his own music to begin with, Lucas replied, “I have all these thoughts gathering up inside of me, and I have to get them out somehow – both musically and emotionally speaking”. He speaks passionately about music and it is enthralling to listen to, going on to speak about the catharsis gained from putting emotions down in song. “I’ve never been brilliant at expressing myself to people”, he admits, “but I find it a lot easier to put it down into another medium. You get to bury the message under a lot of different layers of metaphors and music, so you don’t notice what it’s talking about unless you actively listen to it”. He later goes on to tell me that what inspired him to write his EP was getting out of a long-term relationship. “The whole album is a journey from realisation to acceptance to what’s going on”. There’s a certain vulnerability to his words, and as a creative writer myself, I understand the feeling of putting to paper what is hardest to speak aloud. However, what I found particularly interesting after this was the revelation that he later told me: writing lyrics is the most difficult part for him.
“I haven’t settled on a genre yet”, Lucas explains, “which I think is good… the idea of settling into one genre stifles creativity”. At 19 years old and influenced musically by everyone from Jacob Collier to Beethoven, the possibilities are endless for what he could achieve. Creativity was something we touched upon a lot during our interview, and the fact that most surprised me was that he played almost all of the instruments in the song himself, though you wouldn’t know it when listening to his music. “I love music”, he says with a smile, “and try to get my hand on any instrument I can. It just opens so many more doors… Having all these instruments at my fingertips gives me so many other worlds to explore”.
Telling me this, there really seems to be a sense of escapism in music for Lucas, something that is hugely relatable during Lockdown. “Music is overlooked more than it should be,” he says. “It’s amazing during this time how many people are turning to music, more now than ever. People are going to where they feel comfortable; this safe space where you put on your headphones and it’s just you and this artist. People are using this as a wonderful escape now”. This is not only true for himself, but for everyone. He is passionate about helping others through his music, and mourns the days of gigging with his band back home in Kent and “creating an experience for those who come to live music… to know you’re helping them relax and unwind”. I reminded him that although he can’t see a live audience, people can still be affected positively by his music at home. It’s all about the point of view.
This led nicely to a conversation about how lockdown has affected him as an artist. Surprisingly, however, he found “it’s been amazing… I’ve been lucky enough to make the best of this situation. It was quite lonely, but there’s an importance to it… I didn’t have any interference to get in the way of my music”. With no A-Level exams in the way, he was able to write and produce the album in July, the month he originally planned on starting.
“However, it has also been difficult”, he opened up, sharing with me that he is unable to see his band and play music. But there was still a sense of connectivity and creativity Lucas and his band managed to hold on to during the first Lockdown in March 2020, whereby they would connect via Zoom to make music together. “It’s definitely a challenge, but we all love making music enough so that it doesn’t really matter!”
You can stream Lucas’ latest EP, A Step Outside, on all streaming platforms now.