FOALS – Interview

Frankfurt – Sonntag, der 28.Februar. Ich stehe vor den Backstagetüren der Batschkapp und warte mit nobler Über-Pünktlichkeit darauf, hereingelassen zu werden – Juhu, die Foals spielen heute Abend. Und einer von Ihnen ist obendrein bereit, sich mit mir ein wenig über das aktuelle Album und die fast vollendete Tour zu unterhalten – Gitarrist und Keyboarder Jimmy Smith erwartet mich mit sympathischem Grinsen.

You have been on tour for a few weeks now, how is that working out for you?
Good! It’s nearly the end of this tour and it feels good to be ending. Feels like it’s been a long tour – but it’s being great!

By now the tours are getting bigger and longer… is that ever gonna be exhausting?
Is it the ultimate goal for you playing live shows or are you glad to be home again?
It’s got to be in balance – a good balance between the two otherwise – if you stay on tour for too long you lose all your friends!

…but it’s never gonna be boring being on tour?
It does get boring… but only like once in a month! (lacht) I mean there is always one boring show.

Is there like a special routine in your daily tour life?
I guess so. We are like waking up, trying to figure out where we are, which is always interesting and than if we can try to go out and see a bit of the town. If it’s a nice town. Like for example today, we can’t go anywhere because we are in the middle of nowhere.

Yeah, it’s not in the very center of Frankfurt…
(lacht) No! But yeah, get ready for the show, trying to safe as much energy as possible.

‘What went down’ is a very dynamic and rocky album, are you planning on staying on that course or is it always a new kind of theme you keep in mind?
It’s just changing, i mean the sound is changing naturally… by doing the things we wanna do, like the heavier stuff.
I think maybe we will do something different in the next one. We have done two albums now where it’s getting heavier, more rocky… so we are interested in doing something else. But we don’t know yet.

Your last album was recorded in a very special place of music history: Studios la Fabrique. Has this area become a big influence on ‘What went down’?
I’ve got good memories – Nice memories of being there. I think it’s impossible to answer how it influenced the sound of the album but it must have, because recording and playing in this really old rooms, where like so much happened, that’s gonna put you in a whole other frame of mind when you’re recording. It’s better to record in a nice, old room rather than in a room like this (wir sitzen in der Kantine), which is like a box or something. But yeah, it was just great – a beautiful place.

Are you planning on returning?
Yeah, this is a good question. I would love to! Just for selfish reasons – they got a dog there, called Paula…

Ah, the Morrissey Dog?
Yeah, the Morrissey Dog – she is on the album cover! Paula, the chocolat Labrador – I’d like to go back and see her. She is kind of my favorite dog of all time. But yeah maybe we will return…

Or do you need a new environment of inspiration?
Yeah, on the otherside if you go back, you would be haunted by the last album.

Apart from your musical work, you seem to be very aware of your visual presence, for instance the video to ‘Mountain At my Gates’ seems you invested a lot of thoughts, are you leave that to an artist or do you take the step to be involved in this production?
It depends really. Like Mountain At My Gates was done by Nabil, who has done a couple of other videos and that was kind of all him. Everyone runs the ideas by us, like Yannis is a big involvement and in a dialog with the directors to make sure it’s not gonne be a disaster…

So he has his own ideas about the videos?
Yeah, it’s always good trying to get your own ideas in it but Mountain At My Gates was all Nabil. He did it with Go-Pros – and it was a difficult production, but it was worth it. When we were doing it, we were like “What the hell is that gonna look like?” It’s only a bowl of Go-Pros and it was like 10-15 takes and we moved all the time… kind of clever. But all in all it was horrible because it was the hottest day of the year with about 40 degrees.

Are you already writing new stuff? What are your plans for the next album?
No. I mean yeah but only tiny bits. But we will do another one eventually! We just enjoy touring at the moment, kind of leave and see what happens naturally like maybe it will come quickly but I think we will take a little bit longer on this one. Because otherwise we get tired.

I know its very difficult question but which are your 3 top albums of all the time?
Oh – thats a good one. I would say:
Ok Computer – Radiohead, including Kid A
Sgt Pepper Lonely Hearts Club Band – The Beatles
Freewheeling – Bob Dylan

and any favorite albums in the last 12 months?
I really like the Father John Misty record ‘I Love You, Honeybear’. This is really good. Or the Floating Points album… and the Bill Ryder Jones, it’s kind of sad but it’s really great.

How would your Bedroomdisco look like?
(lacht) There would just be a bar. There wouldn’t be like a dancefloor.. and there would be lots of ice and lasers and like me and a couple of my friends

…and Paula?
Yeah and Paula! And drinking… no dancing! Listening to some very slamming german techno and just drinking (lacht).

So you’re into this electronic, techno scene?
Yeah, I love Minimal and Techno. There is something so weird about it, it should be boring but it isn’t at all. So I really like house and stuff like that. I used to love trance music when I was a kid!

Do you know Moderat? This is my kind of favorite electronic music!
Yes it’s Apparat and Modeselektor, right? Yeah, they are pretty awesome!

Thank you very much!