Foals are a band from Oxford, England formed in 2005. Combining poly-rhythmic tapping guitars, pulsing analogue synth, vocal melodies and chopping drum-lines, Foals create organic agitated dance-pop. The band are signed with Transgressive Records in Europe and Sub Pop in the USA. A full length album—entitled Antidotes—was released on 24 March 2008 in the UK, and 8 April in the USA.
Childhood friends Jack and Yannis were previously in a cult math rock band named The Edmund Fitzgerald but this was disbanded after they claimed that things had become “too serious” and they wanted to have more “fun making their music.” Try Harder Records are set to release a double CD retrospective of all previously released and unreleased Edmund Fitzgerald material around September 2008. Foals was started as a reaction against the self-applauding high brow math pack in Oxford.
Smith is the only member of the band to have completed his degree—the other four members all quit their respective universities (including Yannis and Edwin leaving their courses in English language and literature at the University of Oxford) when the band signed to Transgressive.
Lead singer of Youthmovie Soundtrack Strategies (now Youthmovies), Andrew Mears, originally formed the band, playing as a guitarist and the lead singer. He was around for their first single release on Try Harder Records, “Try This on Your Piano/Look at My Furrows of Worry”, but left after several months so he could concentrate on Youthmovies’ forthcoming album Good Nature. With the addition of Edwin who plays keyboards, and who Yannis met while working at a cocktail bar in Oxford, the current line up was complete.
The band’s influences are varied: they cite minimal techno, Kraut rock bands such as Can and Harmonia and marijuana as major sources of inspiration whilst it is also noted that certain members of Foals believe that influential minimalist composer Steve Reich is “the best musical act of all time”. In addition, Yannis has stated “we’re definitely fans of the Talking Heads”, a band whose influences can be heard in Foals’ recordings. However, the band has said in an interview that they “would never describe [themselves] as indie.” They’ve said in an interview that they’re style of music is “just different.”
The Foals album Antidotes was voted by writers of the New Musical Express the 5th best of 2008 in their end-of-year list of their Top 50 Albums, which placement appeared in the December 8th, 2008, edition of that magazine. Antidotes was produced by Dave Sitek of TV on the Radio though the band chose to mix the record themselves.
They have recently said they have started work on their next album. They have also released a new single, “Olympic Airways”, which was released on 6 October 2008. In 2007 a fruitful collaboration with Four Tet’s Keiren Hebden lead to the reworking of three tracks of which only Balloons and Cassius has been released.
Guitarist and vocalist Yannis Philippakis was voted 45 in music magazine NME’s 2007 Cool List. Also, he was voted 27 in NME’s 2008 Cool List. He is an avid collector of analogue tape echoes. Despite the dance-punk sound, the band is heavily-influenced by math rock, techno and minimalism.