Friends of AUBIN


Musician and Actor

We had the great pleasure of hosting Michael Fox and some of his wonderfully talented friends Mehalah Ray and Lucas Button in our store recently where they performed a very intimate gig. The 'Fox Sessions' as they were christened on the night will hopefully be a regular occurrence. We love to celebrate British creatives and their talents and our small shop on Newburgh Street seems the perfect stage to do this.

We met up with Michael for a chat pre-gig to find out more about his musical adventures and influences. Michael is signed to Decca Records where he performs with his Downton Abbey co-star Michelle Dockery. What started as a casual jam inbetween shooting scenes has turned into something very special in Michael & Michelle. Their first EP The Watching Silence is a beautifully timeless set of songs written and performed by the partnership.

Growing up Michael has always been in bands. He always wanted to play guitar; he played saxophone when he was younger, but the guitar intimidated him in his youth. It wasn't until his 18th birthday when a great mate gave him a guitar and as they say 'the rest is history'.

"It really didn't feel like practising, I just played it every day and absolutely loved it".

Fox is completely self-taught, and music has always ran along side acting. He was in a band with his brother who played drums, who is now also incidentally in films on the other side of the camera as a focus puller and camera man. It wasn't until covid and lockdown that the focus swung to music, Michael was able to write with other people, do loads of sessions, helping crystallize the music side more and not juggle it with acting. Now it's just as important as acting.

"I'm in control of the music, you have complete governance and it's your own artistry. It's more exposing but it's mine, there is no way to hide with music but it also gives you a sense of freedom".

Music has a different buzz to acting for film or TV, but Fox does liken it to the theatre. He has recently just finished a successful run at The National Theatre in April De Angelis play Kerry Jackson.

"With a gig you can forget about everything and get swept away by the music, theatre is similiar, no one is stopping and starting it, your allowed to do your own process".

Fox is inspired by the past but creates pieces that feel moern and immediate. He references a Q&A where he listened to Youth Martin talking about the writing process and directing deliberate references, lots of writers sit down and try and re-invent something, whereas it feels a lot better to sit down and say:

"I'm going to try and write a song like Bob Dylan, Bon Iver or Neil Young, by the time you've finished it's nothing like them but it's a jumping off point. Otherwise, you sit down and say how do I make something that sounds really original which is the hardest place to begin".

Fox continues;

"The influences can be subliminal, it's a manifestation of all your references, it's what any great writer does, it's what the Beatles did, what Bowie did. They'd make a thing about it sounding like something they've heard before. You take that part of the heritage of culture and creativity, knowing what's gone before and respecting it".

Michael doesn't like to think about the lyrics so much when he starts a piece, he likes to keep the lyrics loose as they will end up meaning something totally different to some people and more to others. He references Bon Iver, who just goes into his own world when performing. When Michael is working with Michelle they write together in the same room, so the ownership of the song belongs to both of them, and they both get the lyrics. He has also struck up a great writing relationship with Iain Archer from Snowpatrol, so we cant wait to hear what's coming up in the future.

The music that Michael creates feels authentic and needs to be good. They couldn't look like two actors who just fancied like recording a few songs!

"We were keen with Decca not to make it feel too 'Flash in the pan' and too 'singly' I don't really write pop songs".

As we chat, Fox is tinkering away at the piano, the sound that resonates is mellow and true, we ask what's in the plans for his music.

"I have some writing sessions scheduled and then the plan is to release an EP by myself as soon as possible, it would be 4 songs, see how that goes, do some gigs and see where that goes".

Fox's music is timeless. It has a deep-rooted heritage referencing alot of the greats. The instruments he plays have been chosen for the sound they make, the character changes with age, imperfections are celebrated and add the realism that makes the music relevant for today. In this modern world where everything is so fast and furious, it feels good to sit back and connect with music that has authenticity at its heart and a story to tell.

If you want to find out more about Michael's music follow him on instagram @michaelandmichelle or @michaelcfox