Foals: ‘We found a small room, and then within that we acted upon this urge to make a dance record’

Yannis from Foals spoke to Matt Wilkinson in Brighton for Apple Music 1 to discuss their new album Life Is Yours, due out this Friday. Yannis tells Matt about recording the new record, playing the new tracks live, how Brighton influenced their track 2001 and driverless cars.

Yannis on the new record – Yeah, I think there was two events that occurred. One was as a reaction to the album we’d made before, Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost, which was sprawling and indulging in all of the different facets of our songwriting as a band. Before writing this record, we imagined what it would be like to make the next steps. And what we wanted to do was to pare everything down and reconnect with the rhythmic core of the band. So that was the primary event, which explains the dance emphasis of the record. And then obviously COVID happened. Our tours were canceled. We were in lockdown. We didn’t write at the start of it. But then after a while, we really started to feel quite restless and frustrated and wanted to create something positive out of the dark time. And so we found a small room, and then within that we acted upon this urge to make a dance record. But it was in that confine. And I think that the only way of making it into something that would be long-term worthwhile and the way that we felt about it would be to write a record that was joyful and imaginative and combated what was going on outside.

Yannis on playing live again – I think it’s precisely because of the lack of live music and the lack of particularly people being able to congregate and come together during the last few years that our desire was to inhabit those spaces that were absent. So when we were writing, it was like imagine how good it would be to leave the rehearsal room right now and go out to a club or to a pub or to listen to loud music with our friends. All of those things that we were denied, we wanted to revel in and capture in song form, and then have this document from that era that then would be ready to be released now, which is exactly what’s happening. As the world is reemerging and people are feeling comfortable coming back into rooms together and expressing themselves, these songs are there waiting for them.

Yannis on new track 2001 and the band’s early days in Brighton – It’s called 2001. We moved to Brighton as a band, and we had a lot of formative experiences here. We played lots of our early house parties and houses off the Lewes Road. I had friends that were studying here. Jack’s girlfriend at the time was studying here. So it was a place where coming from Oxford, you would come here at that age when you’re like 18, 19. You’re starting to find your feet as an adult. We were partying a lot. There was an exuberant, hedonistic, hip vibe in Brighton at the time, particularly with music cultures. Lots of good bands. It was a good scene, basically. 2001 for me, it’s a song that is set in that era. It’s a song of being transported back into being that age, and it takes place here. When I was writing the lyrics, I was literally, I mean, I was basically imagining this promenade up there. That was it.

Yannis on driverless cars -Yeah. I mean, I do still think about that line, actually, quite a lot. Because basically I like the idea of opening the album with Now That I’m Less Hungover, because I just thought that was like it’s taking place after the after party. But yeah, I mean, I guess it’s symbolic of as much as technology and as much knowledge as you think you may have and still, and actually, often the more of that thing you have, it can lead to your downfall. It’s like Icarus flying too close to the sun. He had the best technology at the time, which is wings, but it dropped him in the ocean. So the driverless car…

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