The East London duo, 2fox are bringing back the magic of vocals to atmospheric afro deep house beats
Since its dawn, house music has had it’s love affair with powerful vocalists. In various classic tracks, mechanical beats, deep bass lines and repetitive rhythms have been tied together with a catchy soulful vocal performance. Over time, the vocalist’s presence wasn’t needed, sampling was the tool that delivered the results and we divulged into a trend of using faceless samples without names or no vocals at all. It was almost as if for a deep house track to be encapsulating, vocals had to be to a minimum. In Latin and African ‘influenced’ tracks, we heard splashes of tribal chants or unknown languages from unnamed vocalists. But the afro deep duo, 2fox are pushing their vocalists to the forefront proving that clacking hi-hats and booming synth bass lines can be accompanied by fiery vocalists.
2fox’s ability to capture the atmospheric essence that vocals can have is highlighted in their 2018 track ‘Expensive Fear’. The instrumental is bouncy and infuses elements of African and Brazilian music. It unfolds with Zimbabwean singer, Nandi reciting Marianne Williamson’s poem “Our Deepest Fear” and slips back into an upbeat, jazzy instrumental. The drum track switches, and the percussion piles up, as time flies by the track’s leading melody is accompanied by an echoing sample of Fela Kuti’s “Expensive Shit”.
The duo is the creation of the two musicians Max Sinàl (DJ/Producer) and Renell Shaw (Songwriter/Musician) and showcases their outstanding musical ability. Both had outstanding careers in the music industry, between them they have worked or toured with the likes of Rudimental, Jess Glynne, Aloe Blacc, MNEK, Maverick Sabre and Skepta. The two musicians’ similar interests and musical tastes brought them together in 2017, they have been making ground-breaking projects since.
In 2018, the duo’s debut EP Favela peaked on the Beatport chart and propelled into the Top 50 Deep House Chart. They also performed at the launch party of Rudimental’s record label Major Toms and sold out a headline show at Basing House titled “2fox and Friends”. The show featured Nandi and guest appearances from upcoming artists Afronaut Zu, Amo and Mark Crown.
Their live performances show that electronic production is vibrant and energetic with live instrumentation. Both of the live performances available on their YouTube channel have Nandi stand centre stage, an almost allusive sign to how idyllic the vocals in their tracks can be. In the performance of their recent single ‘Sky’, Nandi sways as she delivers her sultry vocals. Max’s fingers glide across a Launchpad, providing the tracks melodies and percussion while Renell adds a full-bodied groove on the bass guitar. The live performance is just as immersive and if not more encapsulating than the recorded track.
The title-track is one of five songs on 2fox’s Sky EP. The EP features remixes from Fluida, Oliver Osborne, and Reece Johnson, and is captivating listen. It is available to stream on Spotify now.
2fox have big plans for this year, they have more collaborations on the way and are planning their UK and Europe tour for the summer.
Keep an eye out for the duo and follow them on Soundcloud here: