A bottle of Held Vodka with Foals

von Amy Binding

If there is one band that we knew were going to appreciate the Held Vodka that was coming their way, it was Foals. The British band who were nominated for a Mercury Prize after the success of their new album, “Total Life Forever”, are coming to the end of an epic 3 month tour.

After their spectacular show in Berlin we met up with Yannis, lead singer and guitarist, and with fellow band mate Edwin, Keyboards. We filled them full of vodka and got them to spill the beans on being tour, the new album and shooting squid with a harpoon gun!

Let’s start drinking the vodka then yeah?

Yannis: Yes! I don’t want to be 70 by the time I finish this bottle!

The new album came out in May, have you been touring solidly since?

Yannis: Yeah the longest tour was in the states. It was a long tour.

Edwin: it was 6 weeks? Yannis:5 and half weeks? Yeah 5 and a half weeks.

What have been the best and worst bits of tour so far?

Yannis: That bit. That bit was a good bit. You can as a British post ironic hype band, you can go there and you can, you find you can play all over, but all the shows are really busy and it felt like we dispelled the curse of our initial legacy, so it was fun.

Edwin: Every single show we were sur- prised. All of the so called “shit towns” in America are really exciting as well. If it’s bad it’s funny and it’s good it’s awesome, so it’s a win win situation.

What’s it been like going from playing house shows a few years ago to playing Glastonbury and other huge festivals? What’s that jump been like?

Edwin: It hasn’t really been a jump but a sort of a steady increase. I mean we did house parties and then we did tours we booked by ourselves, then we did a really small tour and then we did a medium tour and then a bigger tour…

Yannis: It’s a linear thing. Edwin:There has been no point where we have been out of our depths.

Do you ever get up on stage and think “woah, how did I get here?”

Edwin: Not really. Yannis: Maybe we did at the beginning. I remember the first show we did af- ter we got signed, and looking back at it wasn’t that big of a show, but at the time…


Edwin: It’s so smooth! Yannis: But yeah at the start there was a jump but everything since then has been quite linear. We feel like we work hard so it’s not like we’re not serious about what we do, so we feel like we kind of deserve to be where we are and not in a conceited way. We’re not playing arenas out of no where, it’s not like God gave us the golden ticket. I mean this is the reward from being in a band for 5 years.

Do you know what day it is?

Yannis: I know its Tuesday actually. Usually I don’t, but I know its Tuesday today. I know we’re not in December yet and I know that we have ten shows left and I know that I can’t remember what my mother looks like anymore.

Are you serious?

Yannis: Yeah. I know she is little and jewish looking with a big nose. She is like a shaved me. I know that she loves me but I just can’t remember what the feel of her love is.

How long have you been on the road?

Yannis: We have always been on the road. And when we go home in between records touring we live together so it was an extension of the road. The touring lifestyle was just put in a stationary place.

So you don’t live with your mum right now?

Yannis: No no, we lived together when writing this record and yeah it was like a stationary version of being on tour. We had our own rooms rather than being in bunks on a bus, but the drinking and the partying and the obsession was the same.

Did you guys ever attend Oxford University?

Yannis: I did and he did for a year..

For many people being accepted into Oxford is the ultimate dream, what made you realise you didn’t want to be there? That takes a lot of courage…

Yannis: Not if you don’t want to be there it doesn’t! We both stopped willingly and both for different reasons. Edwin: After one week in Oxford I wanted to drop out.

We heard a rumour that you never play a show sober?

Edwin: I have played 3 shows sober and they were all terrible in my head. Because generally the band plays better together drunk.

Yannis: Well we don’t play drunk. I don’t play drunk, we just don’t play sober! If we were too drunk you would know, we just have some Dutch courage.

Edwin: In America we played an afternoon Secret Show and we were all sober. It was kind of amazing. We came off thinking “wow we should do this more often!” We sang well, we played well and then later that night we played a show drunk….

Yannis: …and it was better!

The album has been out since May, how do you as a band see the record now and how do  you think it’s holding up?

Yannis: Yeah I think it’s holding up. There are certain songs that I would like to think would become  cult songs over time.

How do you think the fans are taking to new record? Do you think it’s going down well?

Yannis: Yeah it’s been great. I mean put it this way, if you are a British guitar band that had some  hype you are essentially dodging a bullet for the rest of your career and that bullet has got your name  on it that’s headed for your skull. The fact we are playing bigger venues than we were the first time  around is rare and we feel fortunate and relieved.

When I listen to “Total Life Forever” I feel like you have opened up more as a band. It feels like you are being more experimental and have way more freedom, what do you guys think?

Yannis: Well I found God. It just made making the record a bit easier.

How did you find God?

Yannis: There is a bishop and he converted to Greek Orthodoxy. He just took me to one side and said that it isn’t right to do ketamine or to shoot squid with a harpoon gun. So I turned my back on the devious ways I had been following until then.

Are you striving for wisdom?

Yannis: No I just want to escape the binary cycle. I mean i’m in contact with a girl in Vancouver, but none of that’s actually happening. It’s 101010010 and I think all of us are trapped in that and that’s a shame. So I am going to start brewing my own sort of cheese.

Edwin: Do you brew cheese?!

So you’re saying you could live without computers,iPhone etc?

Yannis: I could lose 4 fingers and still play guitar so I don’t see why I couldn’t live without a computer or a phone.

Have you ever tried to go without a phone or a computer for 2 weeks?

Yannis: Where’s my motivation?

What was it like being back in the studio? Did you enjoy it?

Edwin: After the first album there was a huge build up, every band thinks about their second album as soon as they finish their first. We went into the studio with a lot of ambition and enthusiasm and then it started to manifest.

How long did it take recording this album?

Edwin: 2 months. It took 1 month for the first album so those numbers speak for themselves.

Where did you record both albums?

Yannis: First one in Oxford and the second one in Sweden.

What were the inspirations behind “Total Life Forever”?

Yannis: There were a lot, but I’m not sure how many are present in the album. We were listening to a lot of surf rock and watching Mike Tyson fights. We wanted to create more space and make a more disco record.

For me the new record seems much more complete and coherent than “Antidote.” What are your opinions on that?

Edwin: See that’s weird. I think it’s more diverse. I think it has a more distinct identity. But that could be simply because we spent more time on it. I don’t think coherent is the right word. Yannis: I think production wise it’s more coherent.

Edwin: Yeah we spent a lot more time on the songs.

Were you scared to change your sound slightly?

Yannis: At the time we were yeah, of course. When you come out as a band you want to have an identity, a signature sound, so the way to do that is to have 12 songs which stamp your individuality on the listeners mind. Then the second album should destroy it and you should move out.

What is your favourite song off the new album?

Yannis: Black Gold. I think black gold is the most ambitious song we have done. It works in two parts and it’s 7 minutes long and I think it holds your attention. Which can be a hard thing to do.

Edwin: Spanish Sahara. Cheers!

What did you think of the Berlin show tonight?

Yannis: What, do you think there was a problem?

Not at all! I meant just in terms of the crowd and how you performed?

Yannis: No I think it was fine. The only problem today was ourselves and that we are tired and we have been on tour for a long time now. we didn’t get an early night last night, well some of us didn’t. But I think we still played well and I really enjoyed it.

Do you feel that even if a crowd is loving the performance but if you play badly it can ruin a show for you?

Edwin: It has done many, many times. It’s a psychological thing within ourselves and sometimes it escapes our head and effects other people.

Even if the crowd don’t even notice you are having a bad time?

Edwin: Of course. Those things translate musically and in terms of energy there is a difference between a show where we all think is great and a show which some of us weren’t so into. There is good and then there is real good.

Was tonight’s show good or real good?

Edwin: i thought it got real good.

What are your Christmas plans?

Edwin: Go home to Glasgow to see my sister and her kids.

Yannis: I’m going to hang out with my brother. I’m not meant to eat turkey but goat. I got tricked into eating goat’s testicles by my father one year. One Christmas he brought half a frozen goat over in his suitcase which had been butchered in the village he is from. When we were eating it there were a few suspect pieces of meat and there was this one weird bit that I ate, with the whole family watching, and as I put this piece in my mouth and swallowed they all started laughing. It was then that they enlightened me it was goat’s testicle.

Do you believe in Father Xmas?

Yannis & Edwin: No.

Last question! Where do you see Foals in 5 years time?

Yannis: On the fucking moon. GOODNIGHT.

So that’s it! The interview came to an end and so the partying began. We hope you enjoyed this exclusive show interview with the mighty Foals and that you check them out next time they are in town!

Go and buy their new album “Total Life Forever” now!

You can check out up coming tours and the latest updates on what they are doing on their website: foals.co.uk

Interview Amy Binding

Assistance Jascha Herr

Images Moritz Stellmacher

Foals – Black Gold by TNastee

Foals – Spanish Sahara by subpop


Amy Binding

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