Foxa Riot on sobriety, friendship and getting your sh*t together

Following the success of his lo-fi electro-pop debut Letdown (Everything I Ask For) in May, Foxa Riot has returned with another addictive self-produced single in Best Friend.  Written, produced and mixed by himself in his bedroom, Rhys Oakes’ sophomore single showcases not only his musical mastery, but also his knack for weaving intriguing dual meanings into his artistry. 

While it may initially appear to be a heartfelt exploration of friendship, Foxa Riot subtly alludes to the world of drugs and drug dealers he once found himself caught up in.

Speaking to The Leopheard, Rhys said: “On the surface,  Best Friend is a statement of appreciation to my closest friends who have really been there for me through thick and thin. I don’t really do love songs but there’s something unique about writing one in a purely platonic sense. We don’t get to express how much we love them like we do in romantic relationships, when really they’re just as deep and complex as one – often longer lasting too.

“There is darker context underneath however, as the song is also an ironic homage to the drug dealers who aided my destructive lifestyle for the past seven years. In the worst way they’ve been just as reliable as a best friend, in that what they offer is a no nonsense dopamine delivery service.”


Best Friend is more than just a song – it’s a milestone, commemorating a year of sobriety and a departure from the destructive days of the past. “In brutal honesty, it’s a sad reflection of my relationship with cocaine and other narcotics, that fortunately, I’ve been clean from for almost 12 months now,” Rhys continues.

“The single is special because it marks the year deathaversary of the party boy antics I was not that long ago seduced by. I’ve since parted ways with alcohol in June also, really as a random experiment that’s gone right. With my 30’s being just around the corner I’ve been in a rush to get my shit together.”

Drawing inspiration from the likes of MGMT, the track’s composition is a rich tapestry of electronic elements, blending synth-driven melodies with dynamic percussion to create an infectious groove, with Rhys’ partner, Ruby, providing some of the guitar parts that adds depth to the track. It’s one of those songs that begs to be played on repeat, discovering new nuances with each playthrough.

The accompanying music video offers a closer look at the lyrics, which are almost a text conversation between himself and a dealer. Between the lines, you can feel a sense of guilt like “you know my address but please don’t bring a crowd”, for Rhys, this is such a deeply personal record and he’s approached it with earnest vulnerability in a way that feels really authentic.

Rhys is keen to point out that Best Friend is “definitely not a glorification of drug use, nor is it meant to be preachy either.” He added: “If there is a message then it’s not to follow in my footsteps, but if you do, build a strong support network of good people you can rely on, to call and bail each other out when times are dark. Always holla when life’s getting harder.”

The people in that lyric video are a compilation of Rhys’ closest friends, many of which are also members of the Staffordshire and Cheshire music scene and The Leopheard community, including Maisie from Queen Cult, Joe Stainsby from Dread Lagoon and Samantha Lloyd.

With Best Friend, Foxa Riot delivers a sincere and heartfelt message packaged in a fun and vibrant electro-pop sound, underscoring his talent as both a songwriter and a producer with an incredibly bright future, having recently played Bestival Shropshire thanks to BBC Introducing from Stoke. Foxa Riot will also be supporting FINNEY, who’s album also comes out today, at The Underground on October 6, warming up for TikTok sensation Caity Baiser on October 7.

Listen to Best Friend, by Foxa Riot, released September 22 here.

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