Gloucester Guildhall Presents
Foals formed in Oxford in 2005. The lead singer of another Oxford outfit Youthmovies, Andrew Mears, originally formed the band, playing as guitarist and lead vocalist. He was present on the debut 7” single “Try This on Your Piano/Look at My Furrows of Worry”, but left shortly afterwards to concentrate on Youthmovies’ debut album Good Nature.
Jack Bevan, Lina Simon and Yannis Philippakis were originally in cult math rock band The Edmund Fitzgerald, which did not gain much media interest. The group disbanded, claiming that things had become “too serious” and that they wanted to have more “fun making their music”.
Walter Gervers and Jimmy Smith were part of another small Oxford band called Face Meets Grill. They met at and formed the band from members of Abingdon Boys School. After playing Truck Festival in 2004 they separated to follow different paths and careers. Guitarist Jimmy Smith is the only one of the band members to have completed his degree, at Hull University: each of the band members quit their respective universities when the band signed to Transgressive Records.
Foals like to be self-sufficient, so the music videos & the photography is done by their friend Dave Ma and all of the artwork (excluding cover art of Total Life Forever) is also done by their friend Tinhead.
The band’s musical influences are varied, with members citing minimal techno, Arthur Russell, the Irish based math rock band The Redneck Manifesto, Krautrock bands such as Harmonia, and Talking Heads as their main sources of inspiration. Their musical style, however, can be more directly linked to various genres such as math rock, indie Rock or New rave.
In early 2007, the band released the limited edition 7” singles Hummer and Mathletics, both produced by Gareth Parton. “Hummer” later featured on the Channel Four teen drama ‘Skins’.
In the summer of 2007 Foals began working on their debut album in New York. It was produced by Dave Sitek of TV On The Radio. However, the band decided to mix the album themselves, stating that Sitek made the first master copy of the album sound like “it was recorded in the Grand Canyon”. Yannis has stated multiple times during various interviews that Foals and Dave Sitek are on good terms, even though the copy by Sitek was rejected by the band. Foals released their debut album, entitled Antidotes, on 24 March 2008 in the UK and 8 April 2008 in the US. The album was a commercial success in the United Kingdom, debuting at No. 3 in the UK Albums Charts. The album was a minor success in other countries, charting in Japan, France and the Netherlands.
In August 2009, Foals started recording their second album at Svenska Grammofon Studion in Gothenburg, Sweden. The album, ‘Total Life Forever’, has been described by the band members as sounding like “tropical prog” and “like the dream of an eagle dying”. The band have described the album as being “a lot less funk” than they had originally planned. The album was produced by Luke Smith, formerly of Clor. The album’s title is named after an element of Ray Kurzweil’s theory of singularity. The band’s frontman Yannis Philippakis has professed a long time interest in futurology, with it informing numerous songs on Total Life Forever.
On 1 March 2010, the promotional single “Spanish Sahara” was first played on Zane Lowe’s show Radio 1. Foals’ new website was updated that night with the release of a video for the track directed by longtime collaborator Dave Ma. On 6 March, the Total Life Forever site was officially launched. Puzzles revealed images, lyrics and sound clips of songs from the album. The last clip appeared on 12 March, and resulted with a password entry for the Foals’ new website. The site was opened on 13 March and presented the whole new art concept and media including samples of songs, photos and videos. Lead single “This Orient” was released on 3 May 2010. The album was finally released on 10 May 2010.
“Spanish Sahara” was featured in trailers for Entourage ‘s seventh season, season four of Skins, and BBC One ‘s Outcasts. It was also used in the soundtrack of the second season of the E4 drama Misfits. It was released as a full physical single in September 2010, featuring an edited remix starring the strings of London Contemporary Orchestra.
The album was nominated for the 2010 Mercury Prize. In an interview with online magazine Coup De Main, Jimmy Smith said how the band members live together on and off the road – heading to Australia to record demos for their next album together. “It’s just like touring with your family, it’s nice.
Two years on, the band are now back and ready to road-test material from their eagerly awaited third album on an intimate tour that takes in a visit to Gloucester Guildhall.
Tuesday 4th December // Tickets £15// Doors 7.30pm // Over 14s