Yannis Philippakis

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Yannis Philippakis
Yannis Philippakis performing at Roskilde Festival 2011 with Foals.
Yannis Philippakis performing at Roskilde Festival 2011 with Foals.
Background information
Birth nameYannis Barnabas Emanuel Philippakis
Born (1986-04-23) 23 April 1986 (age 35)
Olympos, Karpathos, Greece
OriginOxford, England
Associated acts

Yannis Philippakis (Greek: Ιωάννης "Γιάννης" Φιλιππάκης) (born 23 April 1986) is the lead singer and guitarist of the British indie rock band Foals.

Early life[edit]

Born to a Greek father and a South African-born Ukrainian Jewish[1] mother (Renee Hirschon),[2] Philippakis lived in Greece until he was 4 years old when his family moved to South Africa. After living there for a year, his parents divorced.[3] Every summer Philippakis would visit his father in Olympos on the Greek island Karpathos. His father played a significant role in his life regarding music, teaching him traditional Greek songs.[4] Philippakis was raised in the Greek Orthodox religion.[5]


Philippakis was educated at Magdalen College School. There he had met all of the requirements for an assisted place at Magdalen, where he had taken classes on French, literature, and art. While attending school, Philippakis faced many difficulties due to his father's absence; he would get into trouble with the teachers and was ill-tempered. This led to his being suspended twice. Philippakis then went on to study English literature at St John's College, Oxford; he dropped out before completing his degree to focus on the band.[6]




Philippakis formed FOALS in 2005 with friend and former Youthmovies frontman Andrew Mears after the break-up of his former band The Edmund Fitzgerald, which also featured his Foals bandmate, drummer Jack Bevan.

Other musical projects[edit]

In a BBC 6 hub session interview, Philippakis expressed his desire to write a 'ballet with beats'.[7]

In 2010, Philippakis appeared and was interviewed in Anyone Can Play Guitar.[8]

Philippakis produced the track "Wolf" on Trophy Wife's 2011 EP Bruxism.[9]

In January 2018, Philippakis began a monthly club night in south London called MILK. Special guests are kept secret until the night of the performance, making each night different. Every night at MILK is recorded and made available in limited numbers on vinyl for purchase at the following month's event. Philippakis said, "I want to make a club night that me & my friends would want to go to. Where the night acts like a sort of dream collider of different musicians in the hope of the surprising, the life affirming & the downright dirty."[10]

In 2020, Grammy-nominated producer duo, CamelPhat, released "Hypercolour" featuring Philippakis. The Liverpool duo had stated they were "longtime fans of Foals" and "have always been on [their] list to collaborate with" in an interview with Forbes[11]

A month after the initial release of "Hypercolour", CamelPhat released the official visualizer on their YouTube channel. The video itself is directed by Philippakis alongside Kit Moneith and features Philippakis himself against a backdrop of colourful psychedelic imagery and kaleidoscopic scenes[12]


He performed as an actor in an adaptation of Marguerite Duras' Moderato Cantabile, directed by Alexander Zeldin.

TV appearances[edit]


With Foals[edit]



  1. ^ "We're brainy - and proud". thejc.com.
  2. ^ Dave Simpson. "Foals: 'I built an enamel around myself'". The Guardian.
  3. ^ Lewis, Tim (26 June 2016). "Yannis Philippakis of Foals: 'There's something feral in me'". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  4. ^ "From Karpathos to the charts, By Yiouli Eptakili - Kathimerini | Kathimerini". Retrieved 7 May 2018.
  5. ^ "Religion informs the Foals new album - The West Australian". yahoo.com.
  6. ^ Simpson, Dave (6 May 2010). "Foals: 'I built an enamel around myself'". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 May 2018.
  7. ^ Denney, Alex. "BBC - Music - Review of Foals - Total Life Forever". Retrieved 7 May 2018.
  8. ^ "Yannis Philippakis". IMDb. Retrieved 7 May 2018.
  9. ^ "Watch: Trophy Wife & Yannis Foals in the Studio With 'Wolf'". This is Fake DIY. 29 September 2011. Retrieved 12 August 2012.
  10. ^ "Foals' Yannis launches "hedonistic", vinyl-friendly club night with surprise guests - NME". NME. 8 January 2018. Retrieved 2 May 2018.
  11. ^ "Watch: Listen to Foals' Yannis Philippakis join Camelphat on hypnotic new song 'Hypercolour'". NME. 26 July 2020. Retrieved 25 April 2021.

External links[edit]