The Foals – Interviewed

You released your first single in 2006 and now youÂ’re touring with Bloc Party and were on the main stage at Field Day Festival, how have you coped with your sudden success?
Umm pretty badly, pretty badly, you know selling out takes its toll on your soul.

I mean its been great, itÂ’s been really really good, particularly this tour where weÂ’ve been headlining, itÂ’s been really good for our confidence to play for crowds that know us. I really like our crowds because the crowds that come to our shows are really diverse and our shows are violent as well which is fun. ItÂ’s been cool, the only thing is we get pretty tired and homesick but other than that everythingÂ’s swell, everything is peachy.

You start your tour with Bloc Party in a couple weeks. Are you excited? Nervous?
Well we already did a week with them in Europe which was great but the size of shows is pretty nerve-wracking. We had to play to 10,000 people in Dublin which was pretty weird. The thing that everyone says thatÂ’s true is that after a couple of rows you just cant see anyoneÂ…But weÂ’re really honoured for them to ask us on tour, weÂ’re big fans of them. I think itÂ’s really cool that theyÂ’ve taken us on and Metronomy as well who are our friends. Both our bands are relatively small, theyÂ’re all really sweet. We went out to a funfair in Hamburg after our show and we went on like dodgems and stuff, it was pretty sweet.

Your next single Balloons comes out on December 10th, when can we expect a full album release?
In March.

ThatÂ’s when you start your next tour isnÂ’t it, the big one?
Yeah, those are our only dates in Britain this year.After Christmas, other than festivals in the summer, the only British shows are those eight in march, everything else is international. WeÂ’re going to Japan and America so iÂ’m pretty excited. As exciting as it is touring in Brtiain thatÂ’s the trouble of it as well..

What can we expect from the album?
Its very different from the live show and what we sound live, itÂ’s a lot less relentless, a lot more organic, a bit softer sounding and there are lots of new songs.

Do you think it will go down ok with your fans that youÂ’ve changed, especially since youÂ’re whole career so far is based on your live sound?
I hope so, I mean, weÂ’ve already got some stick for change and stuff and not putting hummer on. Fundamentally, our band is interested in communicating to as many people as possible and also for the five of us to feel alright about it and we wouldnÂ’t have felt alright about it if we made a record that sounded like we did live or that had songs like hummer on it. ItÂ’s the kind of record that if you listen to it in the right way and youÂ’re not expecting it to be some ear candy pop gem record, which is what most indie rock records are like at the moment, then, if you go and listen to the album from start to finish, I think thereÂ’s so much and on so many repeated listens I think thereÂ’s hopefully something new that will engage the listener. It might be a period of reacclimatising, the re-education of ears.

You’ve always been very honest with the press about your views on other bands, giving the thumbs down to hard-fi, neu-rave, and bands that ‘sell out’. What music DO you like and what are your views on the Guardian comparing you to the Klaxons?
WeÂ’ve just been stupid or drunkÂ…

You know, IÂ’m not surprised, I think basically when the albums out these comparisons wonÂ’t be viable, not those comparisons anyway. The record doesnÂ’t sound like a punk funk record, It doesnÂ’t even really sound like a dance record.

We try not to listen to very much rock music anymore.
Why is that?

Because thereÂ’s so much amazing music from all parts of the world. To me, we grew up listening to rock music and the mainstream rock records that are coming out these days to me arenÂ’t that exciting and what is exciting is listening to African music from the 60s or dance music or hip hop or something thatÂ’s fresh to us. We listen to all sorts of music whether it be by people that are dead now or people who are trying to make music for the future but as long as it doesnÂ’t only have three chords then IÂ’m down with that.

Bands with similar sounds to your own like Battles, Youthmovies and 65daysofstatic are gaining popularity, would you say Math-rock is making a come back?
Mattthh roooccckkk. I don’t know I mean what the fuck is math rock. What I find funny is we made Foals to basically irritate all the math rock people in Oxford and make something that was just straightforward and fun and that was poppy, that was the intention behind the band. In Oxford there’s become this very high brow, self applauding, chin stroking sort of scene where you each have to have a longer band name than the last like “Meanwhile back in communist Russia meets Sunnyvale noise sub element”. I find it funny now when we get called Math Rock because all the people who actually like Math Rock don’t like our band so I really like it, its like there’s this brilliant irony. Youthmovies and Battles and stuff are awesome though.

How would you describe your sound and would you say youÂ’ve been more heavily influenced by Math-rock, Electro or Indie?
I donÂ’t know, I just think its pop music really, to be honest, or like dance. We try to make some of it more danceable with guitars. I just think its weird because its kind of slightly offbeat pop music. The album is far less electro influenced because when we were doing Hummer we were all into techno and electro and weÂ’re not so much into it now. The album was influenced by afro beat stuff and bands like Talking Heads, itÂ’s much more organic and worldly sounding. ThereÂ’s a lot of African percussion and brass on the record, thatÂ’s what weÂ’re influenced by now, more like folk music or like world music.

LetÂ’s talk about house parties. You play at them. A lot. How many house parties do you think youÂ’ve played so far and what does a Foals fan have to do to get you to play at their party?
I donÂ’t know how many weÂ’ve played at, its not that many, its just the ones we do tend to make a bigger impression because theyÂ’re pretty crazy. Maybe 15 at the most, it is quite a lot yeah. We canÂ’t really do them that much anymore whereas before if somebody myspaced us we would do it, now its just generally too much hassle and because weÂ’re playing and touring so rigorously its kind of the last thing we want to do after a gig is another show. I mean weÂ’re still going to do them for our friends and stuff and do the occasional one. It just becomes difficult when you have a tour manager and an itinerary and a hotel, the moment the organisational people come in it becomes kind of difficult to convince them that itÂ’s a good idea to go and trash somebodyÂ’s house.

Speaking of myspace, have you ever got any creepy messages/stalkers?
There are some people that are a little bit keen, a little bit worryingly into our band. We’ve had hate mail and stuff, we did this one show in Brighton at Loop festival and then got this message from this 35 year old man just slagging us off, he just hated us. You get stuff like that occasionally. I tell you what is weird, this Japanese girl messaged us the other day saying ‘take a look at my photos’, so I went onto her my photos section and there wasn’t any photos of her and there were 4 photos of Hard-Fi and 7 photos of us and they were photos of us that I had never seen, like never ever seen.

DonÂ’t you guys hate Hard-Fi?
Yeah exactly that was pretty funny, I was like oh my god she likes Hard-Fi and she likes us. Flattering. Yeah and there were these photos of us IÂ’d never seen. They werenÂ’t photos of us playing live, they were like us just hanging out and I was like where the fuck have you got this stuff from! It was pretty weird.

You did a guest appearance on Skins recently, some of your older fans have complained that this has led to a flux in crazy scene teen fans that are spoiling gigs for them, what with their manic moshing and accident prone ways. WhatÂ’s your response to this phenomena? Are you concerned your older fans might be put off seeing you live?
Well I think, the only thing I read is I went on our forums the other day and there were these kids that had been to an all ages show and didnÂ’t like it because the kids were too bouncey or whatever but like, just go to an over 18s show! I donÂ’t think its something we have to think about or whateverÂ…I mean the skins thing is kind of weird because it definitely has opened us up to a much younger and a much moreÂ…I wouldnÂ’t say mainstream but they got to hear about us quicker than they would have otherwise perhaps so its been good in that respect.

What lies in the future of Foals?
Got the rest of these shows, then a little break for Christmas, then IÂ’m producing this band for like a week, The Great Eskimo Hoax, if you like Youthmovies you should check them out. Then weÂ’re back in Barcelona on the 18th January and then thatÂ’s when all the touring starts again and then thereÂ’s another single coming out after Balloons and then the album release in March.

So its basically like constant touring
Getting bigger and bigger and biggerÂ…

Yeah and more and more tiredÂ…

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