I’m laying in bed, hungover (maybe still a little drunk). I finally get the confirmation email an hour before I have to be on the phone interviewing Walter Gervers, bassist for the dance/punk outfit Foals.
Foals picked up where their predecessors left off, in the vein of Gang Of Four, Bloc Party, and Minus The Bear. Their sound combined an English punk background fused with enough math rock and dance pep to move the inner angst in all of us. Their debut album, Antidotes, started us off strong to what would become a strong library of albums to follow. Still, at it 8 years later, these gentlemen are touring constantly and don’t seem to be giving up any time soon. Their latest and fourth album, What Went Down, proves the longevity and maturity they have endured as a working band that do not plan on calling it quits in the near future.
The phone call arrives, being my second band interview and my first phone interview. The hollowness in the pit of my stomach begins to swell, my connection to Walter asks if i am ready. I start rolling on the recorder and say yes. He connects me to Oxford, England. My plan of attack is more conversational than a Q&A, so I will be paraphrasing a lot. After a light introduction, Walter and myself begin conversing.
Belcher: First and foremost, how are you feeling and how are you guys preparing for your tour?
Walter Gervers: Not too bad, not too bad, We are just kind of at that mad rush, trying to pack, trying to think about what the weather is going to be like. It’s pretty cold here. It gets pretty weird over in the states, So we have to pack everything from shorts to thermals to tshirts.
So you guys are going to be on tour for almost two months or so over here, until the end of May?
Well, we have a little break in the middle until we come back and play Coachella, but it will be summer until we actually get to home.
How have your previous tours been in States?
Yea, pretty good, we have done all sorts of concerts as a band living in a Dodge Sprinter with a trailer attached, it can be quite hard sometimes. It can be quite weird being somewhere you haven’t been before, sometimes wondering if anyone will show up. We would play bigger festivals, like Lollapalooza and Coachella, all the way down to small venues. It’s a lot of hard work.
Well, you guys have been at it a while.
It can be quite hard for a British band to make an impact and hopefully we did it the right way and try to get around the whole country.
Do you guys prefer the more intimate shows or the bigger festivals?
Starting out, we got our beginning playing a lot of house parties, moving up to smaller venues. We always loved those kind of shows that end with a handshake, but there’s also something to be said for playing the large festivals and seeing a large crowd and you have one of those moments and realize that you have taken this that far.
Yea, I’m sure you look out at the crowd sometimes, taken aback, and just say to yourself “Holy Crap.”
*chuckles* Yea, exactly.
What are some of your influences growing up and maybe some of your favorite US and UK punk bands?
Well, I kind of had a weird mix. I was brought up on a lot of jazz because of my mom and dad, and when I first got into rock I was a huge Smashing Pumpkins fan and later I got into Fugazi and Nirvana. I got kind of a late start because I wasn’t immediately exposed to that scene, but once I did I was getting into a lot of Americana, Jimmy Eat World and Get Up Kids.
How would you compare the early sounds of Antidotes to your most current work?
Well, the band has definitely evolved. Nowadays we try to keep the energy, but we also try to put more thought into what we are writing and there is a lot more time for slower, more peaceful moments than there were in the early days.
Well, final question: have you been following any of the presidential race over here? What are your opinions on that?
Yea man, we caught up on all of that when we toured the US in November. It’s scary man. Trump is scary.
Yep, well I appreciate your time sir, I had fun chatting with you and looking forward to see you guys live on the 23rd. I was supposed to see you guys at Bonnaroo 2013, but ended up tripping on acid staring at the sky for several hours.
Hahaha, it was a good year.
Yes it was, thanks again for your time.
Well, I’d say that went well.
Come check out FOALS with Cage the Elephant, Silversun Pickups, and Bear Hands at the 96X Spring Fling, Wednesday March 23 at the Ted Constant Center. Show starts at 7pm and tickets run around $35. See everyone there!