Stanley Stevenson-Byrne, better known as Fox Stevenson, sits somewhere between being a club-centric music producer and heartfelt singer-songwriter. Working outside the constraints of genre, he uses influences beyond dance music often tapping into his pop-punk upbringing. The results are songs that bridge different styles of music without truly embodying one genre or the other. Not just with his releases, but Fox Stevenson also loves to bring his energetic and diverse sets to fans all across the world, recently performing at weekends 1 & 3 of Tomorrowland in Belgium. We had the pleasure of speaking with Fox Stevenson about a number of topics before he stepped on stage.
Hey Fox, how does it feel to be back at Tomorrowland after you performed at weekend 1 and will now play at weekend 3?
It was really cool and a little different. I’ve played Tomorrowland from quite a few angles now strangely and it’s different because we had two years off and music has continued on. This is one of the only festivals in the world that feels truly like an international dance festival. We know what American dance festivals are going to sound like and we know what European dance festivals sound like and I feel Tomorrowland is all-encompassing. It also felt like the crowd has changed in an interesting way so I’m really excited today to try a couple of different things from the last week to see if that sticks.
We saw a video of you joining the crowd towards the end of your set, is that something that happens often during your sets?
I do that when I’m feeling a little reckless, or crazy. Yeah. It’s fun. It’s like turning a mosh pit into a big group hug and just, playing music and having fun, that’s why we’re here.
You didn’t slow down your release schedule these past two years, did you hold anything back for the return of shows and festivals or did you unleash everything for your fans to enjoy?
Well, it might surprise you to hear that I haven’t been holding stuff back for festival season. I’m actually in a little bit of a strange place right now musically, where the stuff I’m writing and getting ready to release isn’t stuff that’s like explicitly dance floor material. If I play some of them today, which I might, they probably won’t go off to, just because of the nature of them. There’s a lot of stuff I am working on, I’m bringing an EP out at the moment and I’m really excited for it and it’s the first step. I feel like I’ve gathered a load of particular influences and knowledge recently in the last two years because I was able to just produce for two years which was a luxury. I’m ready to kind of take all that and evolve to the next stage and, hopefully, that’s a positive.
What has it been like to see the overwhelming positivity and openness to all of your releases these past few years?
It’s funny that we’re here now because if you take it back five or six years I had a house track that was quite big. It was big out here in Belgium and in the Netherlands. it was really big, the biggest I’ve ever had, like in terms of like, mainstream success. Back then there was a genuine issue of people not knowing what they were getting when they were booking me. Drum and bass fans showing up to a house booking and house fans showing up to a drum and bass booking. And at that point, I feel like I could have decided to either narrow down and just like keep it safe with people or be consistently subverting because actually, there’s no reason why we should be pissed off when a musician makes a song at a different tempo. I think the reason that there’s that lack of resistance is I’ve been consistently inconsistent.
Speaking on ‘Soda Pop’ this was the single that introduced me to Fox Stevenson and your drum and bass sound. How does it feel to introduce fans to your sound of drum and bass through your diversity?
That’s awesome. I love that. That’s genuinely what I hope to be able to do, I would love to be able to blur the line between these things. We have stages here at this festival and it’s great to be able to tell people or for people to know I can go here and I can hear this sound. Because we like to be able to expect something and then have those expectations met but I would love to get to a place where I can, and I’m kind of there already I guess, where I can play some drum and bass into somehow some dubstep and some hip hop into some interesting disco. And it’s like all these make sense from a certain set standpoint and exist in the same place because they are all dance music in a certain sense because their music to dance to. I think we’re a few years from it but I believe that that will happen to a certain extent. There’ll be artists who are making stuff that could work in clubs like a drum and bass track but they’re using it as a tool to make songs and that’s what excites me completely. This is kind of pulling influence from those places, but without necessarily trying to be the next perfect genre poster.
During your sets and your releases, you like to switch between genres. Is there any genre that you haven’t produced that you’d like to?
I think there’s a frontier in the mid-tempo style. There’s a tempo there and a groove and it’s something that I think is a little unexplored from a less deep and brooding place and much more bright place, you know.
Let’s talk about your latest single, ‘Enemy Brain. How has the response been to this one?
So far so good. This is the opening single to the EP I mentioned. This EP is a load of stuff that is kind of genre kind of not, I’m just trying to make sure it’s really good on its own and we’re not really doing much in the scene promo. So the reactions to ‘Enemy Brain’ has been mostly just Fox listeners, and to say that I’m really happy. It’s cool that we can go from my Gold Dust remix to that and it’s challenging, but more than anything else, it’s not even the numbers, it’s the fact that I was able to be creatively free with that track and it still turned out okay. So that’s the big win for me that is what it means for my creativity.
Throughout your career, you’ve worked with a number of other artists. What would your dream collab be?
I actually would love to do a track with Chance the Rapper. So the reason I say Chance the Rapper is I find his music to have a lot of joy to it, which I try to do too. I always like to work with someone whose skill set is entirely separate from my own so we can cover so many things. Maybe I’d love to work with ASAP Rocky but that’s way more obscure.
Thanks for taking the time to speak with me, is there anything you’d like to announce to my readers?
Thank you. Just my EP that I mentioned, that’s what we’re building towards.
Stream his latest single below.