Ahead of Endless Daze Festival, we speak to the power that is Sannie Fox about stage presence, her constant love affair with Cape Town’s landscapes & the stories she is intrigued by.
Your music easily transitions in pace, tone and composition, creating many moods in your debut album Serpente Masjien. Tell us about the songwriting approach. Was there a pressure to form a voice and brand for your first solo album?
I was focused predominantly on the music as opposed to the branding when I was writing Serpente Masjien. It was a challenge in certain ways and also liberating.
You have a pretty active presence on social media. Each piece of inspiration, captured moment and documented intimacy gives your fans a little bit more insight into the personality/persona of Sannie Fox. How do you stay true to yourself?
Keep the bullshit low and the stakes high.
You command the stage in such a powerful stance. Does it come easy to you or is it something you learnt from many years in the industry?
The repetition of living in a small city by the sea intrigues me and the patterns of how people tend to go round and around like fish in a bowl; the same streets, year after year.
You come across as so very self-assured, positive and empowered by the path you’ve chosen as a musician. Have there ever been any downfalls on the journey that has made you want to walk away from this choice of career?
I studied a degree in theatre and performance at UCT and have been on stages since I was about four years old. I am comfortable on stage or in front of camera because it is familiar. Most of the time it is magical, at the best of times it is exhilarating.
In an interview with iol, you said, “A lot of the time I like to write ballads which aren’t my stories. I like to tell other people’s stories. The more I write, the less I like to talk about myself now.” What kind of stories are you intrigued by now, in terms of the news, your community and the company you keep?
On a global scale, people’s stories of oppression either through war, refugee status or poverty and the consequential struggle for so many to survive peacefully in the current world intrigues me and saddens me. I think of the South Easter and how it ruins all the Cape hairdos and all the beach days.
Imagery of the desert often comes up in your videos and on your Instagram feed. How does nature play a role in developing your narrative?
There is endless inspiration to be drawn from nature. For me, it is impossible either directly or indirectly not to write and sing about it. I live in Cape Town under the mountains and between the oceans- the nature is omnipresent, not a day goes by where I don’t look up and think, what a magical place this is. It is a constant love affair.
I remember first seeing you with Machineri and feeling this immense stir of intensity and gravity. In your solo material, I’ve noticed a more playful, feminine and vibrant atmosphere. Any kind of influence or muse that changed the dynamic?
On Serpente Masjien and in the current solo project, I brought in bass guitar (no bass in Machineri) and I am playing all the electric guitars. It is more feminine. Though I think there is in general a ying and a yang to it; the drummer and the bassist are all men.
A new album must be underway. Could you tell us what we can expect?
I am busy writing new material at the moment. I won’t be sure what to expect in totality until it is complete, but so far I would say there will definitely be some musical changes; more soul, more voice, more sonic layers, more synths, a little more of everything I think. It is an indulgent process.
Endless Daze festival feels like it’s been in the making for longer than we know. How do you feel about contributing to the first one and how do you think the first pool of artists will set the tone for the brand as it evolves?
I am excited to be part of Endless Daze. Because the festival is brand new, there is so much potential. It is good to have two international acts from the US and UK, I am happy to be part of that, the local acts are great and I like the festival ethos. There is a spotlight on live music and less on the branding and DJ’s. I enjoy electronic music, but at the same time I also appreciate a fuzzy, head-banging, guitar-driven, drum-driven live-music-festival experience.
Images / Kent Andreasen