New Music
02.04.2007, Words by Paul Benney

Foals "We're a bit like the Manson family."

The first thing that you notice about Yannis Philippakis is his pallid complexion. He’s got quite a studio tan.
“Yeah, it’s ridiculous,” says the 20-year-old vocalist/guitarist with disco-rock four-piece Foals. “We live in Brighton, but I haven’t seen the sea in weeks. We’ve been practising hard for our tour, and when we’re not doing that, we get high and watch Devo videos.”
Foals’ line-up is completed by Jimmy Smith (22, guitar), Edwin Congreve (22, keyboards), Walter Gervers (23, bass) and Jack Bevan (21, drums). Sat in the office of their PR company in London, they explain how they’ve been working non-stop since they formed in Oxford last summer. They variously dropped out of University and art foundation courses to perfect a sound that references punk funk, disco icon Arthur Russell and glitchy German techno – driving percussion high in the mix, guitars played above the 12th fret, no chords, abstract lyrics and splashes of synth colour.
“We don’t like the standard rock format,” says Yannis. “It’s why, when we play live, we play in a circle. I guess we’re a bit like the Manson Family, minus the murder.”
Despite having just formed, their non-standard brand of dance rock won over the crowd at the Truck festival last summer. They recorded Balloon, Hummer, Two Steps Twice and The French Open at Truck Studios (read: a plush Portakbin) immediately afterwards.
Now everyone from Steve Lamacq to Peaches Geldof wants to indulge in a spot of horseplay. Somewhat perversely, for the moment, they prefer playing gigs at fan’s houses.
“We ask people to invite us to play at their house parties,” says bassist Walter. “We did this terrible one where it was basically us playing to him, his Mum, these two other kids and this huge bowl of tuna pasta. But luckily most of them kick off. That’s what we’re after: a good connection with our audience.”

Foals’ debut single, Hummer, is released on Transgressive on 2 April.

Written for the spring edition of Dummy.

You might like