Interview: Foals

Having orbited each other on the Oxford circuit, it was mid-way through the noughties that the Yannis Philippakis (vocals), Jack Bevan (drums), Jimmy Smith (guitar), Edwin Congreave (keyboard) and Walter Gervers (bass) eventually gravitated towards each other and formed Foals. Their 2008 debut album Antidotes fused the molten energy of dance-punk with a collision of angular math rock and the raw ferocity of indie rock. In complete contrast Total Life Forever released in early 2010  has been described by the band as being “tropical prog” and “like the dream of an eagle dying”. JUICE meets the band after a jubilatory set at Splendour In The Grass and has a horse around. Hoho….

Interview Muna Noor
Transcript Emma Lee

You’ve just come off the stage, how are you feeling?
Fantastic! It was really good to have such a packed tent cause we knew we were playing quite early on in the day, and it’s a pretty special line-up.
Edwin: We didn’t really know what to expect ’cause we’ve never been to Australia, never played any festivals here.

Apparently there was a lot of mass hugging going on….
Hugging? How? Who?
Walter: People come together like that, that’s fantastic.

How’s the new album Total Life Forever doing?
We’re really pleased, I mean, I think it was a long time in the making for us. And to have it released and to be able to play the songs live is really refreshing for us. It’s healthy for us to come back.

Healthy? You don’t like being stuck in the studio, is that it?
No we treat it [recording] as a very separate entity, the work we do in the studio is very different to when we’re touring. So you lock yourselves away, make a record for a few months and you get to come out and play it to the world, and it becomes like a different thing, which is healthy.

What is the album creating process like for you guys?
We stated at the beginning of 2009 when we finished touring the 1st album, which we were sick to death of. We all got a house together in Oxford, in the basement, and for the time ever we could write and record music on our own terms, where we didn’t work it like a schedule. We spent 6 months doing that and it was really free and easy. Then we gathered like 25 songs and headed to Sweden in a small town called Gothenburg and spent 11 weeks there really trying to own our craft and put it down on record.

What are the inspirations that went into the album?
A lot of it has to do with being home … after touring.
Edwin: It feels more like the record is a kind of a documentation of the year and by listening to it just sums up everything that we did that year.
Walter: Spring was a big factor as well; about halfway through the record spring er … sprung, and it was lovely. We could open the doors and the weather was really nice, so the mood is really good.

We read somewhere that futurology is a theme that runs through the album. What the heck is futurology?
It’s the idea of thinking ahead to a period of time in the future when technology becomes so advanced that people need to think less and less … kind of like the freedom for everybody to just take music all over the world for free. I think that was a source [of inspiration] for the record, to think about what’s gonna happen in the next few years. It’s a very bleak outlook but at the same time there’s plenty of hope, because people are not infinite, they die, and things like that don’t carry on forever.

Whoa! And that’s you being hopeful?! Speaking of technology, which is the best medium to get your music out on: via your website, the TV music video or on the radio?
In different countries … it varies. In England, if we’re talking about getting our music to wider audience and selling records, it’s radio. In England, if you’re on Radio 1 or Radio 2 you can be heard by millions of people, countries like America for instance has a lot of regional radio stations though.
Walter: I think music videos are the least important.
Edwin: Which is a shame.
Walter: As much as I’d love to say that hardcopy records should be the most important, I think iTunes is the best equivalent to hardcopies. It’s good … everything’s adapting right now and we’re in a state of limbo, but no one really knows what the f*ck is going on….

We’ll tell you what’s going on; Kings Of Leon walking offstage in St Louis Missouri because of pigeon poop….
Yeah, it was in the bassist’s mouth.
Walter: Apparently the support bands (The Postelles and The Stills) got covered in pigeon guano and Kings Of Leons walks on and one poops in the bassist’s mouth during one of his vocal parts. Fair enough. I mean if a pigeon poops in my mouth I’d walk off stage.

Yeah … cause I was gonna ask, what would make you walk off stage?
When a pigeon poops in my mouth! (laughs)

JUICE has been sent here by AirAsia X; if would’ve jet away for a holiday anywhere in the world where would you go?
I’m going to a holiday next week actually, I’m going to Talisban, like a spa.
Walter: I’d love to go to Laos and Cambodia I’ve just been reading a book from ?? kind of travels around all these places, maybe wanna go and spend some time there in Thailand as well. Hopefully get around to it in 5 years or so, I’m too busy right now!
Jack: I really wanna go to Zanzibar because it sounds cool. And because that’s where they filmed part of Jurassic Park.

How do Foals think the world will be travelling in the future?
By supersonic jet … space travel!
Walter: Yeah, you’ll take off from here, then you’ll drop into the atmosphere and then you’ll land in Tokyo like half an hour later. That’s the future apparently…. Your luggage goes by boat so it comes like 6 weeks later, then your toothbrush comes in 2 weeks after that….

Sounds likely! Hahaha ….

JUICE larked about a bit with Foals while at Splendour In The Grass in Woodford in Queensland, Australia. We were flown there by Air Asia X. Air Asia X flies to Gold Coast near Woodford daily. Book your flights to Gold Coast or any other Air Asia X destination by clicking to Ride the interwebs to Foals at