Foals on playing Reading & Leeds 2023: “It’s going to be the perfect headline show”

Yannis teases "surprises" for R+L, as well as other 2023 plans, new music and their upcoming US tour with Paramore

Foals have spoken to NME about what to expect from their performance at Reading & Leeds 2023, promising surprises and “the perfect headline show”.

Today (Friday, December 9) saw the announcement that the legendary twin-site festival will welcome Foals back to headline for a second time after their 2016 appearance, with The Killers, Sam Fender, Billie Eilish, Imagine Dragons and Lewis Capaldi also topping the bill among a very stacked line-up. Check out the full line-up announcement here.

“It feels amazing,” Foals frontman Yannis Philippakis told NME. “We didn’t necessarily expect to do it a second time. To be asked back is awesome. We’ve had a connection to the festival ever since we started and it’s going to be ripping. It’s definitely one of the wildest festivals so for us it’s going to be the perfect headline show. The energy is going to be to the max.”


The six headliners and first big names on the line-up have been revealed for Reading & Leeds 2023. Credit: Press
The six headliners and first big names on the line-up have been revealed for Reading & Leeds 2023. Credit: Press

Off the back of their acclaimed and rave-heavy 2022 album ‘Life Is Yours‘ – as well as well-received UK headline gigs and their slot headlining The Other Stage at Glastonbury – Philippakis promised that the band would be delivering “a maximum Foals show” with some other tricks up their sleeve.

“Plus we’ve got a couple of little surprises that we’re working on that I can’t really tell you about now. We put on one of the best live shows in the world so it’s going to be sick.”

Looking to the rest of the line-up, the frontman said: “Our performance clashed with Billie’s when we headlined The Other Stage at Glasto so we couldn’t see the show, but I’m looking forward to it. The line-up is awesome. There are different generations, different vibes, and we’re in good company.”

Foals live at Glastonbury 2022. Credit: Andy Ford for NME
Foals live at Glastonbury 2022. Credit: Andy Ford for NME

Apart from some intimate record store affiliated gigs in the new year, Philippakis said that R+L would be the only chance for UK fans to see the band live in 2023.


“We probably won’t play any other UK shows, so anyone who wants to see us should come to Reading & Leeds,” he said. “Other than that, we’ve got some time off in early 2023, which will be great. We’ll probably just rest and recuperate because this tour has been awesome but quite long. We’ll probably work on some bits of music for some other projects.”

While the band are “probably not going to run into another writing period for Foals right now”, there would be a new release and other projects incoming from the band.

We’ve got a dub version of ‘Life Is Yours’ coming out called ‘Life Is Dub’ which is a Dan Carey remixed album,” he said. “I think he just loaded the album up on some decks, took some mushrooms and took the album into space!”

He continued: “We should down tools for a bit and just enjoy where we are in our lives for a minute and stretch our legs creatively.”

Philippakis said that he was looking to finish his long-mooted collaborative record with Tony Allen before May, while guitarist Jimmy Smith was also hoping to write for his solo project, and perhaps drummer Jack Bevan might come out with a “cook book or an aggressive Gabba album.”

Yannis Philippakis of Foals
Yannis Philippakis of Foals. Credit: Tom Oxley

Aside from that and some non-UK festivals that are yet to be announced, Foals will also be hitting the road with Paramore for a long stretch of summer shows in the US, with Bloc Party set to support on another dates.

“We met Paramore recently in Mexico, which was cool – they were lovely,” said Philippakis. “I read that apparently us and Bloc Party influenced their new record, so it’s wicked that they’re taking both of our bands out on the road so that their fans can understand the connection.

He added: “We’re excited to spend some more time with Paramore. I’m not sure if we’re playing the same gigs as Bloc Party, but it would have been fun to hang with them too. We did our first ever support show with Bloc Party and they were one of the first bands to really rep us. Kele [Okereke] is awesome and I like spending time with him.”

Reading & Leeds Festival 2023 takes place at Little John’s Farm in Reading and Bramham Park in Leeds from 25-27 August 2023. Tickets go on general sale from 9am on Monday December 12. Visit here for tickets and more information.

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