British rockers embrace the Myth

Indie rock band Foals plays Myth Live Event Center with Silversun Pickups on Thursday, May 5.


Courtesy of Neil Krug

Foals is playing Myth Live Event Center with Silversun Pickups on Thursday, May 5. The British indie rockers won the 2015 Q Award for “Best Live Act Today.”

Paul Patane, A&E Editor

Foals has garnered attention across Europe for their intensity, passion and stunning live shows that have led to the band winning numerous awards, including the 2015 Q Award for being the “Best Act in the World Today.”

It’s been a steady climb reaching the A-list of British rock, and the band cemented their foothold this past year. In 2015, the rockers released their fourth and newest studio album, “What Went Down.” It debuted at number 58 on the Billboard Top 200 and won the Q Award for “Best Album.”

From prominent festivals such as Coachella to venues like Myth in Maplewood, Foals is promoting “What Went Down” while expanding their American presence, highlighting why they belong in the same discussion as Arctic Monkeys, The Killers and The Strokes—among other prominent indie rock groups.

While Foals isn’t new to playing shows in North America, they still sometimes struggle with geography and how some festivals are structured, including Coachella.

“It was kind of strange. The first weekend, we overran on our set so they pulled the sound on us, which I thought was a bit harsh. So we had to drop a song for the second weekend. Coachella’s a weird one for us. It’s a very different festival [compared] to most other festivals. The vibe is really different,” Jimmy Smith, the band’s rhythm guitarist said.

This year’s Coachella isn’t the only unique experience Foals has had on this side of the Atlantic. Smith elaborated on a trip to Minneapolis when Foals played First Avenue & 7th St Entry for the first time. He explained playing the venue that Prince immortalized was a highlight but that the group’s keyboard player, Edwin Congreave, wanted to buy a video game while the band was in town and proceeded to get the band lost in the city’s skyway system instead.

In Europe, Foals can play enormous venues at very few locations, meaning they can reach more people at fewer shows, faster. In the States, venues tend to be smaller and a group can tour for months and still not play all the larger cities.

Foals has a distinctive sound. With their gigantic, eardrum-shattering riffs and lyrical aggression, the band is uncompromising. Their new album embraces the band’s previous work, but takes the sound a couple steps further, adding an extra punch while also mixing in more restrained momentsreminding listeners that a lot of rock music isn’t anthemic or created for arena shows.

“It’s a bit heavier, this one. It’s a bit grittiera bit nastier than the one before,” Smith said. “It’s like a mixture of heavy songs and some quieter ones. We wanted to have a really good mixture of everything we had on our plate at the time.”

The band’s ability to stay true to itself is a gift not lost on Smith or his bandmates as they’ve been careful with the creation of each song they’ve written and ultimately performed.

“What Went Down” was produced by James Ford, who is no stranger to producing for top indie bands, including Arctic Monkeys.

“We’ve always tried to do what we want to do and not bend our sound for any other reason,” Smith said. “We’re always very aware of compromising too much, so we try and stop that from happening and allow the songs to be what they want to be.”

Creation isn’t just about putting out the next song or album for Foals. They’re deliberate in everything they produce and are careful to put the music first, even if that means taking a step back.

“We’ll do whatever it takes to ensure the creative process isn’t harmed. So if that means taking some time off then we’ll do thator if new ideas are coming we’ll just go ahead [and record],” Smith said.

At live shows, Foals puts on an authentic experience that avoids using lots of tech to help amplify their sound.

“We try and not cheat anyone by using backing tracks or anything like that,” Smith said.

Foals’ other studio albums are “Holy Fire” (2013), “Total Life Forever” (2010) and “Antidotes” (2008). All four of the band’s albums are certified gold in the United Kingdom. They’ve also released six EPs.

After Foals concludes their U.S. tour, they’ll return to Europe and play many festivals, including headlining at Reading and Leeds. They’ll come back to the United States in July and play at several large venues and in festivals.

Joining Foals at Myth will be California alternative rock band Silversun Pickups. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. For more information about the group or tickets, visit: