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Foals on how a losing band member pushed them out of their comfort zone but made them tighter than ever

Foals on how a losing band member pushed them out of their comfort zone but made them tighter than ever

FOALS frontman Yannis Philippakis describes making album quantity five as “jumping out of an airplane without a parachute and having to figure out how to land”.

The bearded singer and guitarist with the Oxford band says: “Ten years in, when you have made a number of records, you have to find a way of keeping it vital.”

Alex Knowles

In an exclusive interview with Foals frontman Yannis Philippakis, we talk about their latest album All the things Not Saved Will Be Lost – Part 1

Every part Not Saved Will Be Misplaced – Part 1 is, as the title suggests, the first of two data, the second of which can be launched in September.

It’s a sensible album with frenetic guitars combined with electronica and spectacular lyrics reflecting the world right now.

Standout tracks are ferocious first single Exits, the hazy digital Sunday, the exhilarating On The Luna and In Degrees which Philippakis, 32, describes as “Foals going for the jugular of dance music”.

He provides: “We’ve always flirted with dance music and it was time for a no-holds-barred dance floor track.”

Alex Knowles

The Oxford band have launched their fifth album which Philippakis describes as ‘going for the jugular of dance music’

When Foals completed touring, they took a break and mid-2017 Philippakis decided to get away and go travelling.

Sitting outdoors his local in Peckham, South London, chatting over a G&T, Philippakis says: “Once we are touring we stay up late and drink and luxuriate in being on the street.

“The exhibits themselves take a lot out of us, so we really wanted to get away from one another somewhat than to return into the studio. We would have liked time to daydream and get bored and have area away from all of it.

“I went to Greece, to Karpathos near Crete, the place my dad is from. The village is up a mountain, a world away from being in a band.

“It’s very traditional and typically I’ll visit a bar there they usually’ll whack on a Foals monitor which is embarrassing.

“My younger cousins make a fuss but the older family members aren’t as sold on my band.”

 Philippakis says taking a break in 2017 proved to be a good thing as he was able to take time to write

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Philippakis says taking a break in 2017 proved to be a good thing as he was capable of take time to write down

Disappearing for a whereas proved fruitful for the singer who studied English at Oxford College, although he dropped out earlier than graduating.

During his travels he also visited the monasteries of Mount Athos and experienced sleeping in monks’ cells.

He says: “Having a while away and totally totally different experiences meant that once I came again to writing, the urge to put in writing was a genuine one.

“Getting away was good for me in a lot of ways.”

 He says he isn't writing about the dystopian future but dealing with the present day

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He says he isn’t writing concerning the dystopian future but dealing with the present day

Lyrically, the album can also be a step up, too. Philippakis says that in contrast to other data the place he needed to dig deep to get to the themes he needed to put in writing about, with this one a lot of the lyrics got here knocking.

He stated: “We were in the studio for a long time though so the ideas had time to marinate.”

Topic-wise there are darkish themes by way of Every thing Not Saved Will Be Lost — Half 1 and first single Exits deals with Brexit, with lyrics about dwelling underground.

Philippakis, a Remainer, says: “I felt like the concepts I was interested in writing about have been ones that you would be able to’t escape. With the ability to write lyrics that resonate to what is going on now was necessary.

 The album offers with subjects reminiscent of Brexit with some taking on a ‘Black Mirror vibe’

The album offers with subjects resembling Brexit with some taking on a ‘Black Mirror vibe’

“There’s a Black Mirror vibe in some of the songs and a ebook I took affect from was The Street by Cormac McCarthy, but I’m not writing about a dystopian future. I’m coping with the present day.

“There are Silicon Valley billionaires shopping for up land in New Zealand to build liveable bunkers for the longer term. Every time you open a newspaper or log on you learn concerning the bee population plummeting, or an island of plastic the dimensions of France within the Pacific.

“The level of surveillance going on . . . this stuff are occurring now. I hate the shortage of compassion of immediately.

“In Oxford, one of probably the most barbaric issues I noticed was the anti-homeless spikes which were put in.

 Philippakis says he hates the lack of compassion of today

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Philippakis says he hates the shortage of compassion of at the moment

And searching again on the lyrics there’s this repetitive theme of mazes and labyrinths. That is subconsciously tapping into the confusion.

“We are faced by these massive problems and there is no clear, right solution.”

The band was dealt a blow at the beginning of making the document when bassist Walter Gervers announced he needed to go away

“We definitely didn’t see it coming,” says Philippakis.

“But at the same time, we’d known for a long time that he had other demands in his life. He has a family and is further down the road of adulthood than we are in terms of responsibility.”

Philippakis says he did try to speak him out of quitting but knew Gervers’ thoughts was made up.

 Foals were dealt a blow last year when bassist Walter Gervers decided to leave the band

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Foals have been dealt a blow final yr when bassist Walter Gervers determined to go away the band

He says: “I tried to probe how significantly he felt and it shortly turned clear that he had made his thoughts up.

“Attending to the top of touring (2015 album) What Went Down, I feel he felt like Foals has taken over his life in a method that continues to make that sort of commitment. We’ve been doing this for a decade and there’s no indicators of it stopping. So he left and we carried on as a 4.

“We didn’t need to exchange him, as that might feel flawed. What it did do, though, is change the best way we labored. Edwin and I played bass and so the primary factor then was considering how greatest to put in writing the report.

“There was never any question about whether we would do it, just about how to do it.”

 Gervers chose to go away because of the other calls for in his life - Philippakis says ‘he’s additional down the street of adulthood’

2017 Gaelle Beri

Gervers chose to go away because of the other demands in his life – Philippakis says ‘he’s additional down the street of adulthood’

With Gervers leaving, Philippakis says Foals — guitarist Jimmy Smith, drummer Jack Bevan and Edwin Congreave on keyboards — “were pushed out of their comfort zone”.

He explains: “We’d needed to bear some change before we began and so we sacked off the Oxford studio. That meant we just labored within the [London] recording studio, listening to the speakers slightly than being in a room making a ruckus.

“And losing a member has made us tighter.

“It makes you assume how necessary the remaining members are. And I never thought that going from an odd number to an even-number band would matter but there’s one thing concerning the dynamic, the discussions and the casting vote.

 After Gervers left the band, they were forced to work with their new dynamic and were 'pushed out of their comfort zone'

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After Gervers left the band, they have been pressured to work with their new dynamic and have been ‘pushed out of their comfort zone’

There has undoubtedly been some modifications within the feelings inside the group — even the pictures look better now there’s the 4 of us.”

Philippakis also produced ENSWBL — Half 1 though he admits he was reluctant at first.

He says: “It was a fear. It wasn’t my concept. It was Jack who was fairly insistent about us making an attempt to work without anyone outdoors. We have now benefited a lot from working with a producer up to now but we’re 5 albums in — it was time.

“I’m really thankful that Jack pushed me to do it, even though it was double the work for me, because it has made for a better record.”

Last monitor I’m Accomplished With The World (And It’s Carried out With Me) is what Philippakis describes as “getting p***ed off with the news”.

He explains: “There’s a sense of confrontation in the lyrics and an power to the music that is us blowing off steam. I would like it to be like, I am truly simply exhausted by it.

 Philippakis actually produced ENSWBL despite initially being reluctant but says he was thankful he was pushed to do it

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Philippakis truly produced ENSWBL regardless of initially being reluctant but says he was thankful he was pushed to do it

“And that track leads into the second album, which is a response to that track. It kicks off with a lot of energy and a lot of urgency but it flips around. There is a sense of perseverance in the songs at the start of album two.”

After a few low-key fan exhibits the band heads out on tour throughout the US in two weeks and returns to Europe in Might together with a massive UK tour in June.

Philippakis says the exhibits are going to be something special.

“We are working with lighting designer Tobias Rylander [who worked with The 1975 on their latest tour]. We are designing a whole new type of stage to go with the album artwork, which is about red. While we are on tour, the second album drops so the colour scheme changes.”

 Philippakis says Foals' latest album was inspired by a 'responsibility to grapple with the here and now at a political and social level'

Alex Knowles

Philippakis says Foals’ latest album was inspired by a ‘duty to grapple with the here and now at a political and social degree’

Heading back inside the pub, Philippakis says: “Taking a break and getting away meant we now have returned hungrier than ever to a totally different world than it was making the final album. It’s been an essential, productive time making these two albums and exhibits why music is essential in these occasions.

“I feel songwriters and artists have a duty usually to grapple with the right here and now at a political and social degree as a result of s**t is f***ed up.

“It’s important for creativity to step up to that level and engage with it.”

FOALS Every thing Not Saved Will Be Lost – Part 1

★★★★★

  1. Moonlight
  2. Exits
  3. White Onions
  4. In Degrees
  5. Syrups
  6. On The Luna
  7. Cafe d’Athens
  8. Surf, Part 1
  9. Sunday
  10. I’m Achieved With The World (And It’s Finished With Me)
  • The whole lot Not Saved Will Be Misplaced – Half 1 is out at present, adopted by Part 2 in the autumn. 
Biz Session: Foals – My Quantity

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