It's been four years since the release of the last album, What Went Down, from Oxford, U.K., alt-rockers Foals. Since then, they've lost bassist and original member Walter Gervers, and have prepared two new albums for release. Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost, Part 1 came out at the start of March, with Part 2 due in the fall. The band play the Shrine this month, so we chatted with frontman Yannis Philippakis.
L.A. WEEKLY: The new album, Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost, Part 1, just dropped — how do you think the band have evolved since What Went Down in 2015?
YANNIS PHILIPPAKIS: I think the record is very different. It’s much more textural — keyboards. It’s a dancier record, less aggressive, I’d say. It feels like us in our next phase. We lost a bass player, and we approached this record in the studio very differently, and I think you can hear that in the end results. It’s a record that is directly relating to the current climate. The band’s changed — the dynamic within the band is different now, going from a five-piece to a four-piece. Like I said, the approach in the studio was quite different. I feel like it’s the next step.
It's interesting that it was influenced by the current climate, but it’s less aggressive.
I’m speaking on a musical level, where overall it’s less of a heavy listen in terms of the guitars and stuff. Part 2 is heavier — it’s more of a rock record. I think the lyrics are more acerbic and pointed on this album. I don’t think, with the lyrics, it’s a mellow record. I also don’t think that what’s going on right now needs to be met with straight-up aggression. I think it doesn’t necessarily need to be that emotional response.
Part 2 is due in October — why did you opt for this two-pronged approach, six months apart?
So once we had the idea of putting two records out, we knew we didn’t want to put them out together, partly because I always felt that double albums can be overbearing in a way. The scale of them overshadows a lot of the actual moments on those records. So we like the idea of having time to become familiar and enjoy and lose yourself in something that had proportion to it. I think a record of about 40 minutes is a nice amount of time.
And then for selfish reasons, with touring it just keeps it fresh. The consumption of music has changed so much in the last few years, I’m really feeling that particularly this week with the release, it’s just a totally different landscape out there. So the idea to put them apart is in response to that. Like I say, the idea of getting to tour for a year and a half, probably two years, and having this second phase, and a second body of work, is fun for us and it keeps the show fresh.
At one point do you start introducing Part 2 songs into the set?
I think that we’re touring solidly until the end of August and we won’t play anything off Part 2, and then Part 2 will drop in October and we start playing tracks off Part 1 and Part 2, and obviously tracks off the old records, too.
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What can we expect from the L.A. set?
I think that we have a reputation for playing intense, frenetic, powerful shows. Hopefully it’ll be that. At the moment, the set list is a healthy amount of the new album, and then a couple of deeper cuts and then some of our classics from the last four records. It’s just gonna be a great show. We’re at the top of our game as a live band, and it’s a proper rock show. We’re excited about it.
Do you enjoy coming to L.A.?
Love it. We’ve always had great crowds in L.A.. We haven’t played the Shrine before, so we’re excited to be there. We’ve got a lot of friends in L.A. and we’ve had a great time there. We’re super excited to come, and I think that it’s gonna be one of the highlights of the U.S. tour. We go to Mexico first and then Canada, and then L.A. is quite soon after that. So we’ll be fresh and in fine fettle.
Foals play with Bear Hands and Kiev at 8 p.m. on Sunday, March 24, at the Shrine Auditorium.