1.When I first heard Foals music, it instantly stopped me
in my tracks. Who was the last band that had that effect on you?
Ill tell you what, I went home the other day and I listened
to a Smashing Pumpkins record called Mellon Collie and the Infinite
Sadness, which I used to listen to when I was like 14. For the last
few years, Ive been really uninterested by anything that has been
really rock-orientated like that, but then I listened to that and particularly
one track called, Through The Eyes Of Ruby. I think thats probably
the most recent band or song, that has made me take heed!
2.In Uncuts album review for Antidotes they wrote, A
desire to do things differently galvanises Foals, which I thought
summed up your manifesto perfectly. But what has been the most inaccurate
piece of information ever reported about you?
(laughing) I think its probably partly of our own doing,
but with some people, there seems to be a misconception that were
kind of quite genteel like calculating geeks or something. And
I think thats because of the whole idea of math-rock or whatever.
But, I think if anyone actually sees us live, then I think theyd
realise pretty quickly that its kind of the opposite and its
quite chaotic were not afraid to get hurt! So I think thats
probably the most inaccurate thing.
3.For you personally, what makes a good group and do you hope that
Foals will always be seen as an anomaly?
What makes a good band? Um (long pause + thinking), well, I like
bands that have courage and are clearly not pandering any sort of (pausing),
you know, the whole reason why I wanted to be in a band and the bands
that I look up to, are the ones where it feels like its a group
of friends who have formed an enclave against the rest of the world!
Theyre not at the mercy of external forces like Peter Pan
or The Lost Boys and thats what a band has always been
for me, its like an escape route. So if a band has that quality
intact, then I think its doing the right thing!
4.Do you think the Internet has taken away some of the mystery surrounding
I think it has yeah, but I think that its a much bigger
issue than just the Internet, and I think its more to do with
the idea of instant gratification. Thats basically become the
central driving force of all youth culture now or at least in
The West. I think everything is about satisfying appetites instantly!
So say if you have an appetite for a band or a musician or an artist
who isnt in direct contact with you, its easier and it seems
a normal thing now, to try and capture an element of that and have it
instantly you know? To discover everything instantly. So yeah, I totally
agree and I think the Internet is definitely a massive part of it
it triggered it! But now, I think its actually within human behaviour.
Im the same as well I feel like if I meet someone in a
band, the whole way the relationship works, its almost like the
artist in some way owes you something and if they dont (pausing),
you know, like this idea of doing photos with people. Im sure
that did happen in the past, but I think the fact that now everybody
has a camera on their phone, people want to instantly capture everything!
5.What was the first instrument that you ever owned and is there an
instrument that you would still like to own?
I started playing guitar because my Mum had a classical guitar
lying around the house, so that was the first instrument that I played.
I would like to buy a musical saw, because I really like the sound of
it (pausing), I really like the film Delicatessen and a guy in that
plays the musical saw and does duets with the woman on cello
I like that (smiling)!
6.If you could be magically blessed with any skill, what would you
like to be able to do?
Um (thinking), Id like to be able to tap-dance like Fred
Astaire! Or do you know Cab Calloway? We were watching him (pausing),
hes more of a singer, but in those old Betty Boop cartoons, he
sings a lot of the songs and theres one episode where he does
like a dance at the beginning before it becomes animated. So,
Id like to be able to dance like Cab Calloway (smiling)!
7.Are there any musicians that you admire, who have told you that
theyre fans of your music?
Yeah, there are some people. Im meant to be playing guitar
for Steve Reich obviously I dont think he puts Foals records
on at home or anything, but hes aware of us and he seems to like
us, so thats cool! Working with Dave Sitek in itself, because
we were massive fans of TV On The Radio and stuff, so that was cool,
and I met Mani from Primal Scream who was complimentary. So yeah, there
8.Is there anybody that you would love to have a drink with?
Not really, no (laughing) just my friends at home. Theyll
appreciate that Ive said that
9.And is your outlook on life that the glass is half-full or half-empty?
I think it goes up-and-down you know? Im probably more pessimistic
than optimistic though.
10.What are your memories of the day that you signed your record
We went out for a meal (smiling), we went to a restaurant called
Youcha, which is in London. I remember that there was definitely a celebratory
feeling we just got drunk basically (laughing), we got really,
really drunk on the labels money, so it was perfect (smiling)!
11.Is there a particular record label that you admire?
There are a few. I mean obviously I grew up listening to Sub Pop
and Dischord Records which is Fugazis label in Washington
and I also like the idea of classic labels like Motown. But there
arent really any labels at the moment that Im that into.
12.What have been some of your personal highlights so far?
Getting to make a record, getting to play music everyday, getting
to go to Japan and America and playing there. Playing Jools Holland,
because its a show that I used to watch, so I guess getting on
it was strange, and the fact that were going to make another record.
I just think the fact that were still doing this (pausing), weve
exceeded our expectations!
13.You once said, I used to be very obsessed with bands. For
ages, Id read everything about a band, check out all the bands
they were friends with and find out who took their photographs. It makes
your position as a musician more fulfilling if theres a greater
architecture to it. If theres an aesthetic. Do you hope
that Foals will been seen as a group with a rich musical / visual tapestry?
I would hope that were seen like that, but I dont
know whether we are or not?
*I mention to Yannis that Ive always thought of Foals like that*
Oh cool! We definitely want to create a world thats more
3D we dont really want to be a band that just plays instruments
and sings songs. I like that Public Image Ltd. (PiL) idea of making
a band this enormous, structureless thing, that can do whatever it wants
basically. I think the aesthetic will change, but it will always have
some thought going into it definitely!
14.A number of music critics have stated that rock n
roll didnt become interesting until the British got hold of it.
Would you say thats true?
What, originally in terms of the history of rock n
roll? I dont think so, no. I think theres an incredible
self-mythologizing around the British music scene. I think theres
an incredible tradition of good music coming out of Britain, but right
now and it has been for a while its in danger of
turning into self-parody and its fuelling itself on this idea
of the great legacy of British bands. I think its incredibly imperialistic
and I really dont feel that much of an affinity to that idea,
like British bands and stuff I mainly listen to American bands
anyway. I think I would have much more time for the idea of the British
music press blowing its own trumpet, if they actually did something
to kind of ease musical progression, and help bands who are doing something
interesting and moving things forward. Rather than championing bands
that are replicating an exact image and a whole set of facets to their
sound and their look. You get rewarded for repeating history at the
moment in Britain, and I dont think thats anything to be
proud of at all.
15.Which artist / band could you not imagine music without?
Prince (without any hesitation)!
16.In reference to your debut album title, what would you like there
to be Antidotes for?
Um (long pause + thinking), I dont know? Ive got cuts
on my hands at the moment, so Im actually going to go and ask
for some plasters, so an antidote for that would be good (laughing)!
17.Which LP in your collection is the coolest / most cutting-edge,
and which LP is the most embarrassing / a guilty pleasure?
(laughing) Sinead OConnor is probably my guilty pleasure,
Nothing Compares 2 U Ive got that on 7. I do have
worse stuff than that (smiling), Ive got like old Haddaway records
and a lot of old early 90s cheesy dancefloor stuff (laughing).
I dont know about the most cutting-edge thing, but I find rare
vinyl and buy it, so Ive got some collectors stuff like
Arthur Russell 12s and things.
18.Whats the best book about music that youve ever read?
Probably the Nirvana Biography by Michael Azerrad, which is called
Come As You Are. Its all about the Sub Pop scene and Nirvana.
19.If you were to text an Ask Us Anything number,
what question would you ask
is there anything that youve
always wanted to know?
Is there really such a thing?
*I say yes and that you can either send serious or joke questions to
I didnt know about those do they work? Id probably
ask them if it would be advisable to get spoons on the next record (laughing)!
Its something that were debating at the moment.
20.A recent report on musical genres, discussed how different parts
of the UK like them in different measures but where have you
found audiences to be the most receptive to your music?
I dont know? I think there probably is an element of the
North / South divide in Britain at least. Its only something that
weve recently become aware of, like this summer doing Festivals,
where youd see certain bands go down quite well in Reading and
then not perhaps do quite as well in Leeds you know? I havent
really felt that as much (pausing), Im sure were more popular
at home in and around Oxford. And we have a massive fanbase in Greece
weve never played there, but Greeks can become quite patriotic
of anything thats going well about Greece. I just like playing,
so I dont really know?
21.When asked about Foals live shows, I once remember reading
that you said, It's like we're all battling for supremacy on stage.
But what is it ideally, that you would like people to get
from your songs, either when they listen to them played live or on record?
Id just like them to be, Wow, this bands great
(laughing)! No, I dont know? We make music to communicate
and wed like people to like it and realise that anything is possible
really. Hopefully, that will become more apparent on the next record,
the idea that you can form a band and still get signed by a major label
and take it for a ride and do whatever you want!
22.What are the best and worst things about being on the road together?
The best thing is (pausing), weve been on tour for so long
now, that we dont even really need to talk to each other anymore,
theres this kind of innate understanding. I think the worst thing
is just being away from home its not like you necessarily
get homesick, but things just change while youre away, even in
terms of friends and social situations. Its very nomadic and youre
very much on your own on tour at least I am I find it
difficult to remain grounded, so thats probably the worst thing.
23.I know the idea of stretching yourselves, experimenting and the
evolution of Foals sound is incredibly important to you all, with
you yourself adding, What people often dont realise, is
that for a band to get to that point, theyve probably been through
a dozen evolutions. But do you think a lot of artists / bands
conform to musics formal structures?
I think there are just as many bands who would never dream of
writing conventional pop songs (pausing), there are some bands who write
music to become mainstream and to become popular, even subconsciously.
So I dont know? Its just different horses for different
courses really. But I definitely have a lot more time for bands that
dont try and tow the party line, if you know what I mean? I dont
think the pillars like pop song structuring need to be
reinforced anymore. Theres enough radio music out there I think.
24.Do you think its a good thing how musicians such as Alex Turner
and Jack White, can cross between bands and still be successful?
Yeah, its good for them I guess, theyre just super-famous
arent they (laughing)? And thats why! I think its
cool and I think its important if youre in a band, not to
let it become your sole creative outlet, so I think its admirable
that they do that. Its not like, Good job Jack White, youre
in another really high-profile band, because hes already
famous, but I think its cool!
*I ask Yannis about his musical collaboration with Andrew from Youthmovies*
Its called Bins Are For Bombs, but we havent really
started doing it. I mean mine and Andrews relationship, was getting
stoned and playing guitar and thats what weve always done
(laughing)! So, thats just the name for what we do basically,
we dont want to be careerist about it (smiling).
25.Can you reveal any details about new Foals material musical
direction, song titles etc.?
I think we just want to make a really great record, and I think
it will have some influences that werent on the first record.
Weve been listening to more Krautrock kind of stuff, Can and a
lot of instrumental American bands like The Ventures, and some British
stuff like The Tornados older music. Ive been going backwards
in terms of musical listening, rather than listening to current stuff,
so it will have that and I think it will be a stranger record as well.
Were writing at the moment, so we have fragments of songs, but
song titles come last usually, and after weve finished touring
at the end of this year, we just want to disappear for ages.
*I remark that I feel lucky to have interviewed Yannis before this happens*
Well, thank you for doing the interview (laughing)!
26.Lastly, chips or cream buns?
Id go with chips definitely (smiling)!
A very special thanks to Yannis, to Foals Tour
Manager Nick and to Ursula @ Pomona, for all of their time and help.
Bristol Set List
The French Open
Red Socks Pugie
Two Steps Twice
We fly balloons on this fuel called love