Foals’ Yannis Philippakis recalls drunken encounter with Robert Smith at NME Awards

Yannis confirms that he "saw and apologised to" The Cure's frontman recently

Foals‘ Yannis Philippakis has recalled a drunken encounter between himself and The Cure‘s Robert Smith at the NME Awards in 2020.

At the awards, which took place just before the first COVID lockdown, Foals won Best Live Act while The Cure picked up Best Festival Headliner.

As he recounted to Shaun Keaveny on his podcast The Line-Up, Philippakis encountered Smith backstage at the Brixton Academy event.


“We were at the NME Awards, which is famously sloppy,” he began. “And I think that I’d quit smoking, and I was drinking quickly, you know. I was really putting them away. And I get kind of nervous that those things anyway, like I think probably most people do. But, you know, I don’t feel at ease.

Philippakis continued: “I got battered, basically got super drunk, and then we did win something. We went up there and I gave an interview that I think has been sort of scorched like it’s been taken out. There was video, but and I didn’t remember this until the next day, but I was like I was dancing in it and saying all sorts of stuff, but the thing I remember was looking at like some of my bandmates faces and like, you know, I was performing for the for the interview and for the interview and for the camera and then looking over and just kind of getting these mortified looks. But it was mid flow, you know.

“No one could stop me… I was just charged and I was going, and then we had to do a photo right after. So we’re backstage there where they were doing all the stuff, and Robert Smith’s there and he’s doing photos, and I’m refusing to leave the room in order to get a photo of Robert Smith. And I just remember one point, Edwin [Congreave, ex-Foals keyboardist], who has now left the band, being like, ‘please don’t embarrass me in front of Robert Smith. Please don’t embarrass me.’ I’m like, ‘I’m gonna get us a photo. Robert Smith!’”

He concluded: “So we did manage to get a photo with Robert Smith, but it wasn’t good. And then the next day I woke up and did not remember the interview at all – or the photo! And somebody in the band had to be like, ‘Oh, yeah, I remember. You were showing off and dancing around’. So yeah, it was all in all pretty bad. And I saw and apologised to Robert Smith recently.”

Foals at the NME Awards 2020. Credit: Dean Chalkley


At the 2022 BandLab NME Awards, held at the O2 Academy Brixton on March 2, and co-hosted by Daisy May Cooper and Lady Leshurr, the evening kicked off with a performance from Sam Fender and was followed by Griff and Sigrid’s joint performance of their NME Award-winning collaboration ‘Head On Fire’.

Robert Smith also returned alongside CHVRCHES to perform their song ‘How Not To Drown’, while BERWYN and Rina Sawayama also took to the stage. The night was closed with a five-song set by Bring Me The Horizon.


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