Growing up in a musical family between the UK and Cape Town, the London-based musician Sannie Fox was surrounded by a variety of music from classical to folk, blues and jazz. It wasn’t until her teens that she started getting into rock thanks to the likes of Nirvana, while her early twenties was when she started listening to the likes of Led Zepplin, Pink Floyd and Jimi Hendrix.
Describing herself as an angsty teenager, Sannie says she started writing songs at the age of 15. “I had a piano in my room and I played on and off when I was young. I always wrote music from a young age, but never with lyrics.” At age 19 she decided to pick up the guitar and began playing in bands, first with the folk-trio Black Betty, which would expand into the 5-piece Mama Know Nothing before forming the three-piece rock outfit machineri.
Sannie released her first solo project, ‘Serpente Masjien‘ in 2015, a raw ode to the sounds of psychedelic rock and desert blues that she was drawn to at the time. “I was very much interested in guitars, Janis Joplin, a lot of those kinds of influences.” The decision to go solo was scary but rewarding. “I decided to go solo because in bands you lose people. You’re so depende[nt] on the members of the band and I was tired of having to stop and start every time there was an issue with the members or a name change or something like [that].”
Her second offering, ‘My Soul Got Stranger‘, released in 2018 sees Sannie exploring a more layered and softer sound, with a wider palette of sounds, including synths and samples to create a textured, multidimensional album. “I have a lot of other influences. Jazz, blues, folk… Piano was my first instrument and guitar came later. There was a whole element of lyricism, melody and softness, ballads, that had all been part of my career before machineri that I wanted to revisit and keep developing because it’s equally part of me and my style. So that’s what this album was all about, looking at all these other palettes or colours that I really love and enjoy working with.”
With the title referencing a passage in Jack Kerouac’s ‘On the Road’ in which he is getting older and embracing the strangeness that comes with it, ‘My Soul Got Stranger’ was released in a part of Sannie’s journey where she has become more mellow with her approach to music. “I was very controlling in my first decade of making music. I had to become more relaxed because I know what works for me and what doesn’t. Through a lot of trail and error. It’s always a journey for me. I’m constantly falling in love all over again always with music. There are always ways to grow, become better and different people to collaborate with, different songs to write. So it’s just this river that just keeps running. I want to develop my guitaring more and keyboarding more. I want to bring more theatre to the songs. It’s just a constant journey.”
Of ‘My Soul Got Stranger’ Sannie says, “I wanted the album to be something that people can put on in their car and just go driving. I want people to enjoy the layers, all of the melodies going together and the harmonies. Enjoy the softness of it and the softer lyrical side of things.”