With ‘Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost - Part 1’ becoming a staple part of our 2019 soundtrack and already established as being chock-a-block full of bangers, Foals’ highly anticipated ‘Part 2’ is approaching faster and faster and, holy shit, are we excited.
Giving us a taster of what’s to come with recently released tracks ‘Black Bull’ and ‘The Runner’, we’re quite frankly dying for even more Foals goodness, so we grabbed Yannis on the phone to give us an exclusive track-by-track glimpse into ‘Part 2’.
There’s something about ‘Red Desert’ that sets up the landscape to come. Jimmy wrote it and it’s an excerpt from a longer piece. I remember hearing it and thinking it would be perfect for a film score. With these records, we felt it was nice to have [instrumental] spaces built in, with more segues and transitions. If you listen from the start of ‘Moonlight’ to the end of ‘Neptune’, there’s a complete thread all the way through.
It hits right out of the gate. ‘Sunday’ and ‘I’m Done With The World…’ [from the first record] end in lots of imagery of fire and the world being devastated, and this record exists in the wreckage of everything that came from that. There’s an element that’s abstract, but all the lyrics should feel like they’re in the here and now. There are lyrics about running through the embers and the roads, and finding a sense of purpose. And it has a big riff straight from the off.
‘Wash Off’ is a bit more wild, and there’s a lust for life in it; it’s about trying to find selfish reasons to keep on going and enjoy your life. There are echoes between it and ‘The Runner’, and we felt that they fit musically together. They’re buddies.
I wanted it to be like a conflicted diary of masculine confusion and negative tendencies - to write whatever I wanted and be this spiteful character. I’m a step removed, but there are definitely resonances with more of the grandiose, crazy feelings you can get from playing a show. I feel like there’s a character I morph into sometimes on stage which has got this over-the-top arrogance to it, and I wanted to can some of that and put it into a song.
It came from a riff that had been hanging around for a couple of years and we were really excited by how knuckle-dragging it was in a way, and the physical pleasure of playing that groove. That’s something we wanted to tap into more on these albums – going with the heart over the head sometimes and not overworking the music. I wanted ‘Like Lightning’ to have this sense of paranoia. It’s got some of the cockiness of ‘Black Bull’ in it, and a survival instinct, but it’s on the run now. It’s tweakier. We’re super excited to play this one live; it’s gonna be a banger.
We wanted it to have the same spiky energy as some of our favourite Pixies tracks; it started off as a pop track, and then it got weirder. There’s a sense of regret in this song, of tapping into a small-town feeling of trying to escape. For me, it’s set in Oxford and I don’t know where that came from but it’s a homage. I remember the feeling of us leaving the city, and any time you transition into a new place you end up dwelling on these bittersweet feelings towards a place that you have to move on from.
‘Ikaria’ is named after Icarus, and it segues into the next track. ‘Dreaming Of’ is the end of Side One and then you go into Side Two which is starting to move away from Britain and the context of [modern society] and into this departure. All these tracks have more links to Greece.
I was really inspired by a story I read of this architect from Mexico called Barragán who was cremated and there was a fight over his ashes. The compromise was to take some of them and turn them into a diamond ring. I was pretty struck with that, and this song and ‘Neptune’ are about these strange, modern forms of death – being turned into a diamond and changing states, like a modern day Icarus.
Into The Surf
There are threads that run through all these [final] songs, and on ‘Into the Surf’ there’s this shadow of death, of someone not returning from a voyage. There’s a type of Greek folk song that’s always to do with the immigration of Greek people and how dying on foreign shores is always viewed as the worst fate – to die far away from your home and your family. ‘Surf Pt I’ [from the first record] is a chop out of a part of ‘Into the Surf’ and I thought it was nice to have that link as a tease.
‘Neptune’ is about trying to escape and mortality, where going into space or dying is the only solution. It’s a kind of out of body experience where you’re leaving behind all the mess; there’s a sense of inescapable fate to it, where you’re wanting to pass on into a place thats away from all this. And then whatever happens next, whether it’s in another record or whatever, will be what happens next. It felt like a fitting way to end a long journey.
‘Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost - Part 2’ is out 18th October via Warner.
Foals have been shortlisted for the 2019 Hyundai Mercury Prize. For more information on this year’s Prize, head to mercuryprize.hyundai.co.uk.
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