Foals

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This article is about the musical group. For young equines, see foal.
Foals
Foals - Roskilde Festival 2011 - Arena Stage.jpg
Foals performing at Roskilde Festival 2011.
Background information
Origin Oxford, England
Genres
Years active 2005–present
Labels
Associated acts
Website http://www.foals.co.uk
Members Yannis Philippakis
Jack Bevan
Jimmy Smith
Walter Gervers
Edwin Congreave
Past members Andrew Mears

Foals are an English indie rock band from Oxford, England. They are currently signed to Warner Bros. Records.[1] They released their debut album, Antidotes, on 24 March 2008 in the United Kingdom and on 8 April 2008 in the United States.[2] The band's second album, Total Life Forever, was released on 10 May 2010. The band's first mixtape, Tapes, was released on 3 July 2012 as part of the !K7 series. Their third album, Holy Fire, was released on 11 February 2013.

History[edit]

Early history[edit]

The lead singer of the band Youthmovies, Andrew Mears, originally formed the band Foals. He was present on the band's 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. The group disbanded, claiming that things had become "too serious" and that they wanted to have more "fun making their music".[3]

Walter Gervers and Jimmy Smith were part of a small Oxford band called Face Meets Grill.[4] They met at and formed the band from members of Abingdon School, the same school that Radiohead attended. They played gigs in and around Oxford, and recorded an EP in Hull. 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:[5] each of the other band members quit their respective universities when the band signed to Transgressive Records.

The band's musical influences are varied, with the band members citing minimal techno, Arthur Russell, the Irish based math rock band The Redneck Manifesto, Krautrock bands such as Harmonia, Talking Heads, as well For London (previously known as The Jester People) as their main sources of inspiration.[6]

In early 2007, the band released the limited edition 7" singles "Hummer" and "Mathletics", both produced by Gareth Parton.[7] "Hummer" later featured on the Channel Four teen drama Skins, and "Spanish Sahara" featured in one of their adverts on E4.

Antidotes[edit]

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".[8] Yannis Philippakis 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, titled Antidotes, on 24 March 2008 in the UK and on 8 April 2008 in the US. The album was a commercial success in the UK, debuting at number 3 on the UK Albums Charts.[9] The album was a minor success in other countries, charting in Japan, France and the Netherlands. Non-UK versions of the album include the early Parton-produced singles.[10]

Total Life Forever[edit]

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".[11] The band have described the album as being "a lot less funk" than they had originally planned.[12] 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 longtime interest in futurology, with it informing numerous songs on Total Life Forever.[13]

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 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.[14] The album was finally released on 10 May 2010.

"Spanish Sahara" was featured in trailers for season seven of Entourage, season four of Skins and 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.[15] 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".[16]

Holy Fire[edit]

Foals being interviewed live on-air by Phantom 105.2 at 2013 Longitude Festival in Dublin.

On 19 October 2012, Foals announced on their Facebook page that the title of their upcoming third album would be Holy Fire.[17] They announced on 26 October 2012 that Holy Fire would be released in England on 11 February 2013. The album's lead single, "Inhaler", received its first radio play on 5 November 2012. They played the song "My Number" for the first time on Later... with Jools Holland. The album was released in both the UK and the US on 11 February 2013.

Holy Fire was produced by Flood (producer) and Alan Moulder, who have worked with many artists, including Nine Inch Nails, The Smashing Pumpkins and My Bloody Valentine. The album was recorded at Assault & Battery studios in London.

Yannis Philippakis stated that the recording process had some unconventional moments: "At one point we even made these poor studio interns collect bones. We were inspired by voodoo, these Haitian rhythms. We collected some ourselves, from butchers in Willesden High Road. Mainly cows, I think ­ often they had gristle and cartilage on them, mainly cow and occasionally sheep. We had to order these big pots because one of the shoulder blades was too big! We boiled the flesh away so we could use them as percussion! We wanted to get primitive!"

According to The Guardian: "Their producers, Flood and Alan Moulder, even tricked them by recording their rehearsal in order to capture a more uninhibited sound."[18]

In late November to mid-December, Foals toured the UK for an album preview. The tour was supported by Petite Noir (a close friend of Philippakis'). In summer 2013, they attended a number of festivals and headlined Latitude Festival in Suffolk in July. The band have recently played a World and UK tour, which ended with two sell out shows at Alexandra Palace in February. The two shows were in stark contrast compared to playing the same venue 7 years earlier to an almost empty room while supporting Bloc Party, a sentiment which lead singer Philippakis did not fail to mention during the live shows. Holy Fire was nominated for the Mercury Prize in 2013. Q awarded Foals with the Best Live Act award the same year while "Inhaler" received the Best Track award from NME. Not only this, but in a reader-nominated "Best Album of 2013" poll, Holy Fire topped the list; as did single "My Number" in a "Best Song of 2013" poll, beating NME favourites Arctic Monkeys, amongst other acclaimed bands.

Forthcoming Album[edit]

On 2 April 2014, in an interview with NME, Yannis Philippakis said "Over the next month I think we're going to start writing tentatively. We've already got some bits and bobs around some riffs and some vocal melodies. I think until May we're gonna go back to Oxford and write in the 'stinkbox' and see what happens." Also, due to the lack of tour dates on their website for the end of 2014, some have speculated that the band is using this time to work on their next album. No date or title for the next Foals album have been confirmed.

Live[edit]

Foals are recognised as one of the top UK live acts, having won the 2013 Q Award for Best Live Act [19] and twice being nominated for the NME Award for Best Live Act (2011 and 2013).

The band have released several live EPs (Live At Liars Club, iTunes Live: London Festival '08 and iTunes Festival: London 2010), in addition to the full length concert film Live At The Royal Albert Hall, which was directed by Dave Ma.

Frontman Yannis Philippakis is known for jumping off balconies and crowd surfing during the extended interlude of "Electric Bloom." In October 2013, Philippakis got into a confrontation with a security guard at the Auckland Town Hall in New Zealand, as the security guard attempted to prevent him jumping into the crowd. At the end of the show, Philippakis told the crowd: "I want to say a massive thank you to you and f*** that security guy." [20]

Collaborators[edit]

Throughout their career, Foals have continuously worked with David Ma,[21] Leif Podhajsky [22] and Neil Krug [23] for the band's artistic direction.

Controversies[edit]

Echoing the sentiment of artists like David Byrne [24] and Thom Yorke,[25] Yannis Philippakis has stated his disapproval of the streaming service Spotify: "I'd rather somebody stole the record on vinyl than bought it or streamed it on Spotify. Because I think you should listen to music on vinyl, and I think basically anything's better than that (Spotify)." Philippakis contends that the royalties earned from streaming services are an "insulting pittance" and that "It's like going to a restaurant when the chef and all the waiting staff have worked their asses off, and you leave coppers as a tip, and you don't even pay the bill. That's basically what Spotify's like, I think." [26]

While accepting the 2013 Q Award for Best Live Band, Yannis Philippakis seemingly took a jab at Alex Turner of the Arctic Monkeys: "It shows you don't need a backing track, you don't need affectation, you don't need Elvis Presley impersonations." [27]

During the 2013 NME Awards, Rou Reynolds of Enter Shikari tweeted that Foals' performance had put him in a "deep sleep," to which Yannis Philippakis replied: "Enter Shikari can go f*** themselves, trampoline jumping twats." [28]

In January 2013, Yannis Philippakis asserted his disapproval of David Guetta: "David Guetta is basically... it's not even something that really makes my blood boil because it is just bullshit. It is an abomination." [29]

Members[edit]

Current members
  • Yannis Philippakis – lead vocals, lead guitar, drums (2005–present)
  • Jack Bevan – drums, percussion (2005–present)
  • Jimmy Smith – rhythm guitar, rhodes, synthesizer, backing vocals (2005–present)
  • Walter Gervers – bass, sampler, percussion, backing vocals (2005–present)
  • Edwin Congreave – keyboards, synthesizer, backing vocals (2005–present)
Former members
  • Andrew Mears – lead vocals, guitar (2005–2006)

Discography[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

Title Album details Peak chart positions Certifications
(sales thresholds)
UK
[30]
AUS
[31]
AUT
[32]
BEL
[33]
FRA
[34]
GER
[35]
IRE
[36]
NL
[37]
NZ
[38]
SPA
[39]
SWI
[40]
US
[41]
US Heat.
[42]
Antidotes 3 84 20 99 28
Total Life Forever 8 68 72 38 48 25 62 30
Holy Fire 2 1 39 25 22 31 7 41 15 72 15 86
"—" denotes album that did not chart or was not released

Video[edit]

Title Album details
Live at the Royal Albert Hall
  • Released: 28 October 2013
  • Studiol: Warner Bros.
  • Format: DVD & Blu-Ray, LP

Extended plays[edit]

Title Album details
Live at Liars Club
iTunes Live: London Festival '08
Gold Gold Gold
  • Released: 9 September 2008
  • Label: Sub Pop Records
  • Format: Digital download
UK B-sides
iTunes Festival: London 2010
Metropolis Session

Singles[edit]

Year Title Peak chart positions Album
UK
[30]
BEL
[33]
FRA
[34]
IRE
[36]
NL
[37]
SCT
[44]
US Alt.
[45]
2006 "Try This on Your Piano/Look at My Furrows of Worry" Non-album single
2007 "Hummer"[A] 167
"Mathletics"[A] 109
"Balloons" 39 Antidotes
2008 "Cassius" 26
"Red Socks Pugie" 89
"Olympic Airways" 160
2010 "Spanish Sahara" 123 Total Life Forever
"This Orient" 97
"Miami" 127
"Blue Blood"
2012 "Inhaler" 90 20 Holy Fire
"My Number" 23 45 38 51 83 25 20
2013 "Late Night" 146
"Bad Habit" 139
"Out of the Woods" 73
"—" denotes single that did not chart or was not released
Notes
  • A – The singles were originally released without an album, but were later added as bonus tracks on the album Antidotes.

Recognition[edit]

Total Life Forever was nominated for the Mercury Prize in July 2010, losing to The xx's xx on 7 September that year.[15] The album was tested again the following year for Best Album in addition to a nomination for Best Cover Artwork at the NME Awards. The single "Spanish Sahara" was nominated by the same group for Best Track on top of being named all-around Best Band and Best Live Act.[46] In July, the MOJO honour awards also nominated Foals alongside Canadian band Arcade Fire for the calibre of their live performances.[47]

Mercury Prize
Year Recipient Award Result
2010 Total Life Forever Best Album Nominated
2013 Holy Fire Best Album Nominated
Ivor Novello Awards
Year Recipient Award Result
2010 "Spanish Sahara" Best Song Musically and Lyrically Nominated
NME Awards
Year Recipient Award Result
2011 Foals Best British Band Nominated
Foals Best Live Act Nominated
Total Life Forever Best British Album Nominated
Total Life Forever Best Artwork Nominated
"Spanish Sahara" Best Track Won
2013 Foals Best Live Band Nominated
"Inhaler" Best Track Won
2014 Foals Best British Band Nominated
Q Awards
Year Recipient Award Result
2013 Holy Fire Best Album Nominated
Foals Best Act in the World Today Nominated
Foals Best Live Act Won

References[edit]

  1. ^ "WBR Artists". Warner Music Group. 
  2. ^ Lindsay, Cam."Foals’ Sound of Music ", Exclaim!, May 2008.
  3. ^ "Foals". Botanique. Retrieved 15 November 2013. 
  4. ^ "NEXT UP, SOME PUREBRED INDIE-ROCK WITH FOALS!". Ameba Production. Retrieved 15 November 2013. 
  5. ^ Luquesi, Andrea. "Freedom comes to Hull!". University of Hull. 
  6. ^ "Foals Total Life Forever Review". BBC. Retrieved 15 November 2013. 
  7. ^ Foals Discography. Discogs. Retrieved on 2 April 2012.
  8. ^ NME Album Reviews – Foals. Nme.Com (12 March 2008). Retrieved on 2 April 2012.
  9. ^ [1][dead link]
  10. ^ Foals – Antidotes (CD, Album. )Discogs (8 April 2008). Retrieved on 2 April 2012.
  11. ^ "Foals: 'New album will sound like the dream of an eagle dying'". NME. 30 July 2008. Archived from the original on 15 December 2010. Retrieved 15 December 2010. 
  12. ^ "Foals – Total Life Forever (2010) (Record Club)". Split Inc. Retrieved 15 November 2013. 
  13. ^ Bennett, Matthew (3 June 2010). "Blood, Sweat And Fears: Foals Interview". Clash. Archived from the original on 15 December 2010. Retrieved 15 December 2010. 
  14. ^ de beste bron van informatie over angryape. Deze website is te koop!. angryape.com. Retrieved on 2 April 2012.
  15. ^ a b "Foals 'tricked' into attending Mercury Prize nominations ceremony". NME. 20 July 2010. Retrieved 18 July 2011. 
  16. ^ FOALS talk 'Total Life Forever' and their third/next album. Coupdemainmagazine.com (27 February 2011). Retrieved on 2 April 2012.
  17. ^ "word up.". 19 October 2012. Retrieved 19 October 2012. 
  18. ^ "Foals on Holy Fire: 'We were inspired by voodoo'". Guardian. 25 April 2013. 
  19. ^ "Foals Win Q Award". 
  20. ^ "Foals scuffle makes show unforgettable". Stuff. 6 October 2013. 
  21. ^ "David Ma". 
  22. ^ "Leif Podhajsky". 
  23. ^ "Neil Krug". 
  24. ^ "David Byrne: 'The internet will suck all creative content out of the world'". Guardian. 11 October 2013. 
  25. ^ "Thom Yorke calls Spotify 'the last desperate fart of a dying corpse'". Guardian. 7 October 2013. 
  26. ^ "Foals frontman slams Spotify ahead of Mercury awards'". Channel 4. 28 October 2013. 
  27. ^ "David Bowie misses out on Q Awards'". BBC. 21 October 2013. 
  28. ^ "Foals: 'Enter Shikari can go f*** themselves'". NME. 1 March 2013. 
  29. ^ "Yannis Philippakis calls David Guetta 'an abomination'". NME. 14 January 2013. 
  30. ^ a b Peak positions in the United Kingdom:
  31. ^ Steffen Hung. "Discography Foals". australian-charts.com. Retrieved 23 February 2013. 
  32. ^ Steffen Hung. "Discographie Foals". austriancharts.at. Retrieved 23 February 2013. 
  33. ^ a b "Discografie Foals". ultratop.be/nl/ Hung Medien. 
  34. ^ a b "Discographie Foals". lescharts.com/ Hung Medien. 
  35. ^ "Die ganze Musik im Internet: Charts, Neuerscheinungen, Tickets, Genres, Genresuche, Genrelexikon, Künstler-Suche, Musik-Suche, Track-Suche, Ticket-Suche". musicline.de. Retrieved 23 February 2013. 
  36. ^ a b "Discography Foals". irish-charts.com/ Hung Medien. 
  37. ^ a b "Discografie Foals". dutchcharts.nl/ Hung Medien. 
  38. ^ Steffen Hung. "Discography Foals". charts.org.nz. Retrieved 23 February 2013. 
  39. ^ Steffen Hung. "Discography Foals". spanishcharts.com. Retrieved 23 February 2013. 
  40. ^ Steffen Hung. "Discography Foals". swisscharts.com. Retrieved 23 February 2013. 
  41. ^ "Foals - Billboard". 
  42. ^ "Foals - Chart History - Heatseekers Albums". Billboard. 
  43. ^ a b c "British certificates: searchable database". bpi.co.uk. Retrieved 16 May 2011. 
  44. ^ "2013-02-23 Top 40 Scottish Singles Archive". Official Charts. Retrieved 23 February 2013. 
  45. ^ "Billboard - News - Chart Highlights: Phillip Phillips Finds His 'Home' Atop AC Chart". Webcache.googleusercontent.com. 21 January 2013. Retrieved 12 February 2013. 
  46. ^ "Foals lead field at NME music award nominations". Reuters News. 25 January 2011. Retrieved 18 July 2011. 
  47. ^ "Arctic Monkeys nominated for two Mojo honours awards". BBC News. 1 July 2011. Retrieved 18 July 2011. 

External links[edit]