You know that song “Mountain At My Gates,” right? Even if you think you don’t, you do. Foals’ new album What Went Down has lots of great songs, but that one in particular is finally getting this decade-old English band some radio airplay. I was lucky enough to get on the phone with Foals bass player Walter Gervers this week before their upcoming concert at the Ogden Theatre.
Interview with Walter Gervers from the band Foals
I have heard Foals described in many ways… what style of music do you call it?
That is the hardest question we get asked, because we scavenge so many things from different styles. We’re definitely a rock band. But we can have heavy punk, and do a ballad, and we are all influenced by dance music too. I guess you could say we are a musical hamper (laughs).
I have to tell you, I have liked each Foals album better than the last. How has the process changed for you?
Fundamentally, we start out the same way each time. We still have the same tiny studio basecamp back in Oxford, England. I am the only one who still lives there now, but it’s a comfort thing for all of us to come together there in the beginning of an album. Then each one has been different because we record it in a different country, with a different producer. It forms its individual character that way. Starts with five guys in a room and 30-40 ideas, then whittles down to 11-12 songs.
“Mountain At My Gates” is pretty omnipresent on Denver radio. Do you hate that song by now?
(Laughs) No, it’s a really fun one to play. And as our first “radio hit” per se, it’s a good one for that to happen to because it really represents all the parts of Foals as a band. We have been working and touring for a long time and working on that side of the band, and never really having any radio play. American radio is much different than in England, and we just never understood how different it can be here when you are played on the radio. So, we really appreciate it.
Do you prefer recording or touring?
In the long run, I really enjoy the studio because as you accomplish things, you can tick them off the list. You are working on a song all day and then – yes! It’s done! When you are on tour, it’s continual and it’s harder as we get older. We used to be able to go out for months at a time and never think about it, but now, I have a kid and start to pine for home. But, of course, the fans are great and we get to see all these places. You will get a day off in some special city and it’s amazing. In Denver, I love the Botanic Gardens. Plus, in truth, touring has always been the bread and butter. If we don’t tour, there is no band.
I haven’t seen you live yet, but I hear it’s a really fun show. What can fans expect?
It’s really energetic. The best is when the crowds are engaged and give back. We have just been on tour with Cage The Elephant, who are incredible live, but much of the audience was only there for them so that was hard. We are looking forward to our own shows.
What’s the most bizarre thing to happen while you were onstage?
Bizarre? I wouldn’t say this is bizarre – but in Mexico a young man asked us if he could propose before the encore. Luckily the lady said yes. All five of us were holding our collective breath. It was very sweet.
Looks like you are touring way into the fall. What happens after that?
We have a really, really busy summer – including some dates with Silversun Pickups, and at Coachella, Lollapalooza, Outside Lands. In the fall, we hope to go back and hit some other cities that we were not able to visit. After that? REST! It would be nice to spend Christmas with our families. No new music right now, but it will come.
We can’t wait. Many thanks to Walter for the chat!
Be sure the check out Foals at the Ogden on April 26th.
(Pssst, that is the day before my birthday, so it will be a doubly fun night for me!)