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In the lingering haze of the early hours, FOXEN CYN emerges. Confidently declaring their sound “everything and the kitchen sink”, the artist, also known as Sean, is a rising horror-pop hero, mixing brooding synths and experimental sampling to create tracks oozing with smut and swagger.
“I’m just besotted with punk,” they admit. “I just fell into all of this. I love it though, it’s so fun and frustrating. You know like when you’re doing a really hard jigsaw with your mammy and you start trying to smash cobblestone jigs into the border?”
Despite their grungy sensibilities, the artist has classical roots, first getting into music alongside their brother. “The main thing that inspired me was jealousy,” they tell me. “The first instrument I learnt to play was clarinet, and that was purely because my brother was learning to play guitar. They didn’t have guitar lessons left. Or French horn. I really wanted to play French horn. I think I learnt clarinet first in the end, because the embouchure has left me with a better pout.”
However, the artist soon leaned into electronica, valuing experimentation above all else. “Ages ago, in an old band, I played a house party in Manchester on Halloween and everyone hated us. It was great. All the other bands were openly saying we were terrible and ruined the night. It was so horrible and weird. I hope they ask me back as Foxen Cyn at some point,” they explain. “I’d just say don’t be warded off by something being out of your comfort zone. Music is an amazing art form, because you can get into every asset of creativity. You can’t really do that with am-dram or painting, I reckon.”
Foxen Cyn’s first EP, Demonstration, was released in 2017 and, after a brief hiatus, the artist has made their return with new single Cracking Up, a mesmerising, eclectic offering that documents a personal journey.
“The lyrics are about coming out, my own experience,” they explain. “A lot of coming out songs are very empowering, which is good, and they should be. I don’t think they show how scary it can be, though. My personal coming out experience was great, and my family and friends have all been so supportive, but that doesn’t take away from the initial trepidation.”
Through a blend of distorted vocals and frequent, pulsing drumbeats, the artist documents the surge of emotional that comes with admitting queer identity, with its liberation and exhilaration. However, the artist seems hesitant to admit to heroism. “I don’t think, personally, I’m doing anything of importance, I’m just being what I want to be. I’d say that drag and being openly queer is still a strange thing in the alternative music scene, though.”
The abstract track feels like a new beginning for Foxen Cyn, their sound evolving both musically and emotionally. “I suppose I’m trying to do for closeted kids what My Chemical Romance did for me as a teenager,” they admit. “Audiences probably see it as novelty, but as an artist I want to present myself. I’m not a tall, skinny, cool guy, I’m a chubby little party animal. If I show other people they can be as well, I’ll be happy.”
In terms of the future, Foxen Cyn is only looking forward. “I’m going to keep working on music, get a few more releases out, but mainly I can’t wait to get back on stage and get in people’s faces again.” It’s a closing statement that calls to the dancefloor, and the blurry bliss of town after dark.
Cracking Up is available now via Emotion Wave.