Yorkshire Evening Post | Title track from Foals’ new album, Total Life Forever, inspired by futurist Ray Kurzweil
April 29, 2010
Yorkshire Evening Post — April 29, 2010 | Duncan Seaman
“I don’t think it was a conscious decision to change any of our sounds, more that we have progressed as a band,” explains bass player Walter Gervers of Foals’ new album Total Life Forever. “Our tastes have changed. What we were trying to create was a record with more space and more freedom than the first time.”
The album’s title track was inspired by Raymond Kurzweil, the American inventor and futurist writer. “Yannis had read The Singularity is Near (Kurzweil’s book about artificial intelligence) — that struck chords in him. We all therefore became involved.”
“Artificial Intelligence is terrifying but fascinating — the idea that the future is at a point where we can almost see it. I think in the past people thought, ‘Yes, eventually things will be like this.’ Now, terrifying intelligence is becoming a reachable point.”
The first taste fans got of the sea-change in the band’s music came last month, with the release of Spanish Sahara as a freedownload on Foals’ website. At the time keyboardist Edwin Congreave described it as a “provocative gesture” but Walter Gervers hopes “our audience, as it were, would enjoy seeing us making something like that.”
“So far the response has been really good,” he adds. “It was a chance to give people a flavour of the record. It was not like the centrepiece of the album, it was just a message to say, ‘This is a segment of what’s coming.’ I think everyone thought it was a single. It got a few radio plays, but it was supposed to be like a viral.” For a band like Foals, that pride themselves on constructing albums as a coherent whole, how frustrating is it that, in the pick’n'mix era of iTunes, listeners are likely to dip into Total Life Forever rather than hearing it in its entirety?
“We were worried about that,” admits Walter. “We really did set out to make a whole piece with this record. But what can you do? It’s impossible. You can try to get the message across as much as possible but if people use shuffle on their iPods you can’t stop them. People listen to snippets of single songs now. I find myself doing it. Attention spans have become shorter.
“It reflects in a lot of pop music. Big chart songs at the top of radio playlists — all the hooks in the song are immediately there in the first few seconds so it can be used as a ringtone.” The real money-earner for any band these days is touring. Needless to say, Foals will be spending much of the coming months on the road. They visit Leeds on Monday.
Foals official website