Foals share new ‘CCTV Sessions’ and talk touring and new material

"I could see us doing a record that’s more stripped-back and has more of these textures,” frontman Yannis Philippakis tells NME

Foals have shared a new edition of performances from their CCTV Sessions, as well as revealing to NME that they’re in the early stages of writing new material.

The band have been recording the CCTV Sessions of intimate and pared-back versions of their songs since their third album ‘Holy Fire’ in 2013. They’ve now shared new performances of tracks from their recent acclaimed albums ‘Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost: Part One‘ and ‘Part Two‘. Watch and listen to the sessions here.

“In some ways we were at a loose end, and it’s a long-standing tradition to rework the songs in a stripped-down, slightly more electronic and lo-fi way using old drum machines and tape loops,” frontman Yannis Philippakis told NME.

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“It was fun because we didn’t really get to play songs like ‘Neptune’ and some of the ones of ‘Part Two’ more than once on the road. It felt good to do, and we had to do it now because ‘Part Two’ is more than a year old now.”

Philippakis explained that Foals fans have a close affinity to the sessions as it shows a different side to the band.

“It’s just about hearing the songs unadorned by production and seeing the band in a weird, parallel universe,” he said. “It’s cool how dusty and primitive-sounding some of them are when we flip the aesthetic of the songs on their head. Often they’re a more tender, laid-back, stoner-y version of the track. People have just connected with them.

“There’s also something in the fact that they’re captured by CCTV cameras. We forget that we’re being filmed which makes it all feel very rough, ready and unadorned.”

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As well as recording the sessions, Philippakis told NME that the band were “definitely working on new material”.

“I wouldn’t say that the oven has reached its proper temperature yet, but the ingredients are being gathered in the kitchen,” he said. “We’ll start making a record this year, but I don’t know when it will be ready. We’re going to start putting our heads together and there are lots of exciting and promising starts.”

Asked if the new album could follow in the stripped-down direction of the CCTV Sessions, Philippakis replied: “I think we could, but what would be really fun would be to do a small tour of small, intimate venues, old chapels and factories and just do a CCTV live set.

“I’m not sure where we’re at with it informing the next record, but I could see us doing a record that’s more stripped-back and has more of these textures.”

The band are currently scheduled to play some huge UK shows in May through to July. With the possibility of touring in 2021 still uncertain due to the coronavirus pandemic, Philippakis explained how the idea of playing live had taken on a new meaning. Rather than promoting their latest album, Philippakis explained that the shows would be more about “being thankful that we can make music, play it and connect with everyone”.

“We’re ready to play shows. We’re really missing it,” he told NME. “If we can, we will jump at the chance to play as soon as possible – I’m just not sure how realistic that would be. We want to be prudent about it and make sure that the shows can go ahead in the best way and be safe as well as raucous and fun.

“I don’t know how practical it would be for us to do a socially distanced show. A lot of what’s great about the Foals shows is people coming together en masse and it being something that feels unimaginable right now, which is just a big, sweaty congregation. We’ll just have to see how that goes. We’re really missing it and we can’t wait to hit the road, but we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.”

He added: “It’s going to be a celebration of the things that we once took for granted,” he said. “We’re really going to cherish those moments.”

The last time the Foals frontman spoke to NME he revealed a newfound desire to make his own soap during lockdown. Fans might be glad to hear that this is now available to buy in the band’s official store.

“We made a few bars,” he said. “I didn’t make them myself in the end, which I’m a bit embarrassed about, but we made some that were pretty good – very jasmine-y. I think you can some in our official store.

“We only did a ‘limited pressing’, but there are a few left so it’s not too late to get that Valentine’s Day gift in. I’ve heard that soap goes down really well as a Valentines’ gift.”

Foals recently released a series of remix compilations dubbed ‘Collected Reworks’. Philippakis also appeared on Camelphat’s debut album ‘Dark Matter‘.

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