The Edmund Fitzgerald, along with their peers Youthmovie Soundtrack Strategies, have been the one of the most impressive, forward-thinking bands Oxford has had to offer over the last few years. After a small break, due to the loss of a band member, they’re back with a new name, three new members and an adaptation of their previously irregular time signatures, angular guitar interplay and dissonance, to try and create the ‘future of pop music’.
Boring necessities – names, ages and instruments
Andrew – Guitar / Vox, 22 yrs
Yannis – Guitar / Vox, 19 yrs
Jimmy – Guitar / Korg, 21 yrs
Walty – Bass, 21 yrs
Jack – Drums, 19 yrs.
Where did the name come from?
Foals was an idea in Andrew’s head which was unanimously agreed upon by the boys to be the most fitting name for a band of sensitive geek-core rejects who just want to write songs for girls.
New musical direction? What elements of The Edmund Fitzgerald still exist?
Umm… guitars that interlock. Hopefully Foals will be appreciated in an entirely new way. The Ed Fitz had a specific aim which in some ways was attained. Foals is deceptive simplicity. Foals is not about confusing people, it’s about the future of pop music. It’s beautiful dance guitars that are fun to play.
You have previously supported the likes of Hella and more recently Oxes. What were they like – how messed up are the most famous members of the Baltimore rowdy crew?
Oxes are lovely, really… they get naked a lot, and know how to party as any worthy rockstars should. We’ve gotten to know them pretty well as Andrew toured with them in his other band Youthmovie Soundtrack Strategies, and at some point they may mix some unreleased Ed Fitz tracks. I think they’ve been tagged over a small number of incidents perhaps to their advantage.
The Edmund Fitzgerald developed on influences such as Don Cabellero, Sonic Youth and Sweep the Leg Johnny, but seemed to draw just as much from pure ideas and emotions. Will this continue with Foals?
Foals draws on: Cycles. Laughter. Rum. The idea of discipline. Tennis. A willingness to play the fool. Indie kids who dance. Clean guitars that sound like transparent sunshine. Techno. Girls who wear beige and black. Unemployment. Perfectionism. Being gutless. A mutual love of swimming.
Does the retro, over-hyped mundanity of a lot of mainstream British bands irritate you, when there is evidence of great musical diversity in young/underground/DIY scenes?
Yeah, we’ve all seen amazing bands with talent and desire who deserve the attention which is tragically squandered elsewhere. However, this is the music industry. We are doubtful of any change. The retro kids with mullets are ugly goons and the bands they love are terrible and crude. At least you know that.
Are your ambitions strictly independent or would you ever consider a major?
Our goal is to make music and party. Indie or major is irrelevant for us. We don’t really give a fuck.
Best bands in the UK?
Charlottefield. Tired Irie.
Best bands/acts in the world?
The Advantage. Earth. Battles. Polmo Polpo. Gwen Stefani. Owls. Mice Parade. Kate Bush. American Football.
Best band/act ever?
Steve Reich, late ’60s.
Any ideas about Lina’s [ex-Edmund Fitzgerald] musical future?
As far as we’re aware, Lina is not planning to pursue a musical future.
Recommended media, and last albums bought?
Minus the Bear Menos el Oso
Short Cuts by R. Altman
You have previously been involved in soundtracking live dance and visuals. Historically, when art and rock scenes collide there is an increased focus on experimenting and pushing boundaries (Warhol, Velvet Underground, no wave). Is it important for bands such as Foals to stay open to future collaborations?
Foals is the ideal soundtrack to a ballet. We’re willing to consider anything.
Your songs have always been epic, taking the listener on a journey of contrasting elements. What kind of writing process does the band adopt?
There is nothing really very ‘post’ or ‘epic’ in our sound. Ed Fitz was a whale. Foals is a hummingbird. We write to create something bright with heart. We take two or three ideas and carve, and work something that we’re all satisfied. It’s not choppy or willingly difficult. This is the pop music we have always dreamed of.
What’s the first step for Foals?
We’re releasing a 7″ on the fantastic Try Harder Records, it’ll be out by the new year. The label is also due to release some other great stuff, and a collected double CD of Ed Fitz stuff. A website, shows and our clothing range.