Foals: ‘In the past we’ve wanted to satisfy all the elements…that could feel a little disjointed’

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Foals: ‘In the past we’ve wanted to satisfy all the elements…that could feel a little disjointed’

Words By Jess Zanoni

It’s the evening before the arrival of Foals’ seventh LP, 'Life Is Yours', and drummer Jack Bevan is taking a moment to let it sink in.

“It’s really exciting—it’s sort of snuck up on us because we’ve been so busy. I’ve joined all the dots and I haven’t gone home for like, three weeks, so it sort of doesn’t feel real at the moment,” he says.

Formerly a band of five friends who played frenetic, blood-and-guts math rock in the basement scene of Oxford in the early 2000s, the now-three piece have become one of the most iconic names in indie rock. Their live shows are renowned for embodying an unparalleled energy and intensity. Life Is Yours reflects Foals moving beyond their underground roots and exploring euphoric dance music, designed to transport listeners to the pleasure of summer nightlife and community—things that Foals, and the rest of the world, have pined for over the last few years.

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Their lively, technicolor single ‘2001’ was written as a sonic portal to Foals’ elated youth in Brighton. There are many fond memories for Bevan and his bandmates from this time, but it’s the feeling contained within this period that they were looking to capture within the song.

“There was this excitement for the future and experiencing things for the first time. That was the kind of energy that we were tapping into when we were writing— all the possibilities that happen around live music. I remember when Yannis used to be at university, we would go and listen to records and drink wine, and then we’d go on this night out. Everyone goes off and has their different adventures, and you all meet back up at the end to trade stories.”

Across their career, there is a strong sense that Foals are always moving forward. Each album stands alone as its own unique statement. For Bevan, Life Is Yours sits in a specific place within the band’s discography.

“One of the things we talked about when we started writing was how we really wanted to make a very cohesive album. In the past we’ve wanted to satisfy all the different elements of the band, and at times that could feel a little disjointed. So there was this mutual desire to make it do one thing really well, like a lot of our favorite records—Weezer’s Blue Album, Queens of the Stone Age: Rated R or The English Riviera by Metronomy. For me, the new record is up there as one of my favorites.”

Bevan channels a new rhythmic energy on Life Is Yours, experimenting with funk-oriented beats and drum sounds fundamental to the nature of a dance record, while still preserving his own inimitable style.

“It’s some of the most fun music to play as a drummer. I just love it, but I guess there’s a responsibility on me to make it have a groove, without overplaying or underplaying it. A lot of the time when we write, I’ll spend 20 minutes playing exactly the same thing over and over, while Yannis and Jimmy try different things over the top. That kind of hypnotic groove, I find really satisfying. It’s one of those things where I think as I’ve gotten older, I appreciate drumbeats that keep the beat, and can do all the frilly stuff, but choose not to because it’s not what the songs requires.”

At the time of talking to Bevan, Foals had just wrapped up their EU/UK tour, and were days away from headlining Glastonbury, before embarking on a huge North American tour. Having not left the UK in over two years, Bevan is relishing the high of traveling and playing live again, releasing singles on the road at the same time as performing them, as well as giving fans sneak previews of songs reserved for the album’s release.

“We’ve got this totally new stage show with video screens and a proper set. I think that’s been one of the biggest evolutions for us— that step up with the live show. I think we’re just lucky that we’ve got so much material now, we can really tailor a set to do all the things that we want it to, and for it to have a nice flow. The new album was kind of written as a live record so it’s really exciting to see how that’s translating.”

Find the new album here.