Foals gambled their university education for a career in music. It seems to have paid off; they have since signed two major record deals, and released debut album ‘Antidotes’ earlier this year. Impact’s Elise Laker and James Ballard caught up with 22 year old front man Yannis to find out how the band is doing, and what the future holds.
J: The bonus disc on your album was recorded in Nottingham, what do you think of the place?
I like it, my brother went to university here. He used to take us out to Liars Club. I like the other side of it too; Gringo records and bands like Wolves of Grease when they were around. I’ve got an innate respect for Nottingham, and it’s also got Sherwood Forest and DH Lawrence as well.
J: I read somewhere that you didn’t like Late of the Pier. Is that right?
Where did you hear that? I like them a lot more since reading their interviews. Have you seen the feud they have got going with [TV presenter] George Lamb? That’s pretty funny. It’s really important to have a band as courageous as them. I just don’t listen to many new bands out of choice, because we play so much in a contemporary environment.
E: Most of Foals are from Oxford, do you think Radiohead are one of the main inspirations for the music scene there?
No, Radiohead don’t really belong to Oxford anymore, they kind of belong to the world. The Oxford music scene is small and self-satisfied. People smoke a lot of pot, so they seem to get on and just make experimental music. I really like being in a pop band surrounded by much weirder bands in Oxford.
E: Who do you cite as your influences?
At the moment I’m listening to a lot of surf rock like Dick Dale, The Ventures, and The Shadows. I’ve been getting into Krautrock, particularly Can, Harmonia, and Neu! We were listening to some Alan Lomax last night too. I like music that has its own sphere that is different to the one that we are in.
E: Do you think that the current music scene isn’t being progressive enough?
There is some really good stuff; I just need some time away from it. I really like Panda Bear, Deerhunter, Atlas, and TV on the Radio. That’s the sort of modern guitar music that we find exciting. To be honest I don’t find the bands that are currently on the cover of NME to be genuinely that exciting.
E: You mentioned TV on the Radio and you produced your album with Dave Sitek. I heard a rumour that you fired him?
He mixed ‘Antidotes’. We didn’t like the mix so we remixed it. He still produced the record. We have no regrets. He is an outsider genius, he thinks of music in a totally different way. He thinks if you listen to Górecki’s Third symphony, then your molecular structure changes forever.
J: You’ve been touring a while now, are you working on new material? Are you going to be moving on from the sound of ‘Antidotes’?
We try and do loops, but it’s quite difficult for us on tour as we can’t really sit down with an acoustic guitar. After our tours we are going to write together. I’m assuming there is always going to be a distinctive quality that will be recognisably Foals. I don’t want to scramble the chemistry between us too much, but I don’t want people to put on the new album and feel instantly comfortable, I want people to put it on and feel a bit weird. All we have been thinking about is the new record.
E: Have you got any collaborations on the horizon? Any side projects?
We’ve got side projects and stuff Jimmy and Walter have this band called Infinity Penis which is like this weird thing they do and then me and Andrew from Youthmovies have this band called Bins are for Bombs. As for collaborations, we’re going to try and do something with Cornelius, it’ll tie in with how we do the next record.
J: The incident with John Lydon has been put down to drunkenness, do you have any last words?
It wasn’t just a bit of a drunken misunderstanding. I think the way they behaved was pretty disgusting. It was more Lydon’s company, but I got arrested by Spanish police.
E: Mathrock or krautrock?
J: Best or most memorable show?
Last night, it’s the only one I remember. All the shows on this tour have been great; they have all been super violent.
J: How is the hair growing pact going? Who’s winning?
Pretty Badly. Is there any winner? How can someone win? I’m definitely not winning!