Freely hovering amongst genres, surrounded by ’70s rock, ’80s pop, electronic indie and soul, Swedish artist, Bluephox has created her own musical language. She blends carefree, laid back melodies with blue melancholy and persuasive beats, performed with a characteristic vocal nerve.
Bluephox – aka Philippa Magnusson – grew up in Stockholm, with the sea and music as eternal constants, thanks mostly to her father, who was a successful guitarist in the ‘60s and spun the likes of Bob Dylan, Fleetwood Mac, Van Morrison and Sting endlessly on the turntable, while her big brother sat at the piano playing Stevie Wonder, Average White Band and Supertramp. The cellar was a fully equipped rehearsal room, where friends such as Oskar “Ossi” Bonde (who later became part of JohnOssi) and Petra Marklund (now also known as September) dropping by through the years, in their various band formations. In her late teens, Philippa fell in love with an inspirational singer who uses her voice as an instrument – soul queen, Erykah Badu.
It’s with that mix of influences we find Bluephox now releasing music for the first time, and in full force in collaboration with the songwriters and producers, Ludvig Larsson and Mats Björke (ex. Mando Diao) from LAB259. “Bluephox is a gift to myself. A trip to my past where I allowed myself to land. I have done away with old relationships, processed both my and others’ failures, danced over broken glass and come out whole and clean on the other side. Now I want to share it.”
As for her debut single: “Gold is a moment in time. That day when reality catches up and the relationship can no longer be dressed up with superlatives, like before. When bad deeds and words creep in and darkens a to-date pure, unstained history. And when loneliness has become part of togetherness. When I wrote the line ‘Don’t want to go home, don´t want to be alone, without you’ I knew that the day had come when the Golden era had turned into sink realism,” she says. We found out more, with our Q&A from Mars…
“Gold is a moment in time. That day when reality catches up and the relationship can no longer be dressed up with superlatives, like before.”
01- Which colours do you associate visually with the recording and listening of the song?
“I’ve never thought of it that way, but blue and gold suit this song pretty perfectly… Blue since the lyrics are melancholic and sad. Gold because the main theme is about a relationship that is about to lose its shimmer. I have never seen it as a happy dance song but now people are sending me videos while they´re dancing in their kitchens listening to it. It’s funny. I really like the ambiguity of the song.”
02- Which albums, songs or remixes were on your playlist on repeat, before, during, and after the making of ‘Gold’?
“I have my roots in ‘60s and ‘70s rock and was brought up listening to icons like Van Morrison, Fleetwood Mac, Patty Smith, Dire Straits, Marianne Faithfull, Supertramp, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones… So, this bunch of people are always present when I’m writing. I’m also a fan of ‘80s pop like Kate Bush, modern rock like The Unknown Mortal Orchestra or electronic based Caribou and Maribou State, for example. I don’t know if that affected ‘Gold’ substantially, but it is definitely in the DNA of Blupehox.”
03- The single cover is pretty fashionable, what was the inspiration behind the concept, and is it a style you would like to continue or change in the next release?
“My intention wasn’t to look particularly fashionable. Instead to make a first visual impression that reflects the sound of the music. And I think it does. It has a ‘70s/‘80s vibe taken into the present day. Someone told me I look like a modern Stevie Nicks on my single cover for ‘Gold’. That is the best feedback I could ever get.”
04- Furthermore how much do trends and social media influence your outfits, this project, and your stage-persona overall?
“I don’t follow trends at all. I buy what I like and am not affected by current fashion. I’m more a second-hand person, seeing a sport in finding treasures from the past. Today, there is also no other option because of the environmental problems we are facing.”
05- What was your creative process or inspiration behind the name ‘Bluephox’ as a vehicle to make and release your music?
“Blue stands for melancholy and fox for the opposite: the carefree fox walking around in the forest. And there’s me, Philippa “ph” somewhere in the middle. Or it’s just a jazzy name with a post-constructed meaning. Who knows…”
06- Who were your idols when you were a teenager that made you decide to start singing and conquer the world?
“My first musical love was Sting. That was also the first concert I went to. Mostly because he looked a lot like my dad (who was a successful guitarist in the ‘60s). In my teens, I listened a lot to Erykah Badu. I discovered how she used her voice as an instrument, and I was totally blown away by that.”
07- What’s your take on the online streaming concerts taking place during the Covid-19 pandemic, and are you planning to stream one or two from your music studio or apartment?
“I have done live recordings of both ‘Gold’ and my next single ‘Paul’s Boutique’ – a song that will be released later this summer. So that might be something to share on my socials pretty soon. Even though I’d planned to hit the stages at the time of the recordings, when I will release more music and the pandemic has calmed down a bit, I will start to plan the live concerts again.”
08- Memes/Habits: Describe to us your daily routine in the studio, and some funny situations, that remind you of the ‘process’ of the creation of the single.
“When recording ‘Gold’ the studio worked both as a creative space and as a therapy cave for me where I could process a lot of personal crap that I went through back then. Together with my co-workers and producers, Mats Björke and Ludvig Larsson (LAB259), I spent many days and late nights working on the single. And it was both heartbreaking and overwhelming at the same time.”
09- When and what can we expect from Bluephox’s next release, in terms of sound and song structure?
“June 5th, I am releasing a remix of ‘Gold’ by the eminent Adam Rickfors. I cried of joy for two days, after listening to the remix for the very first time. I’m releasing my second single, ‘Paul’s Boutique’ later this summer as well. I think you will recognise the sound and feeling from ‘Gold’ but it is a bit more electronic and ‘80s. I love that song and can’t wait to share it with you!”
‘Gold’ is out now via Bolero Recordings.