‘Four In A Bed’ and Boards Of Canada: Foals’ Yannis Philippakis’ guide to battling boredom in lockdown

The frontman plans to spend his time off reading about cavemen and getting into soap. Sure, why not?

Lockdown – week five. How are you coping? It’s tough, eh? We’re all struggling a little for ways to distract ourselves from the endless scrolling doom of the news and really make the most of this time trapped inside.

Fear not, dear reader. To save your brain from turning to mush, Foals frontman Yannis Philippakis is here with some of his own top tips to stave off boredom, find inner-peace and keep the grey matter in shape while self-isolating – from sweet synth sounds to a soapy fetish. Enjoy…

Spend a night with Four In A Bed

“It’s wholesome, it’s nerdy and it’s specifically British. There’s a passive aggressiveness to it that I really enjoy. People are forced into confrontation with each other in the final episode. I love it. There are some great fall-outs in there. I love it when you get a couple who are overly negative of another person’s place but openly big up about how great their establishment is and how it’s the pinnacle of taste, then you get there and it’s full of crocheted doilies and little gnomes. People’s perceptions and reality come crashing to a head – and that’s where all the juicy stuff is.”

“I’m going to be spending a lot of time with this record. He’s somebody I’ve got to know over the last few years and is one of the few people who I feel that I could turn to for advice on a number of different levels – not just musical but deeper themes. We were well into the ‘What Went Down’ tour and I was full of booze and drugs and I get bumping into him and I said, ‘I really want to get myself to Mount Athos in Greece for a total change and to replenish myself’. He was one of the few people that understood that. I ended up going and that formed this kind of connection where he encourages me spiritually to be that person. He also met my mum after we played Ally Pally and she was impressed by him.”

Know your place with Werner Herzog

“I’m intending to binge on a lot of Werner Herzog documentaries in the next few weeks. I read this quote from him the other day where he was talking about how utterly indifferent nature is to us. Our existence isn’t guaranteed, and in some ways it hasn’t been earned. There’s a lesson in this: we need to reappraise our place.”


Drift away with Boards Of Canada

“I’ve been going back through their archive. There’s something that’s both futuristic and primitive about their music at the same time. They conjure up this imagined past. Right now we’re technologically advanced and are the pinnacle of evolution in some ways, but we’ve been taken out by something as ancient as a virus. They really suit the mood right now.”

Get into gardening

“I don’t have big garden; it’s just a yard and mostly concrete but I’ve got some raised vegetable beds. I’m growing veg and I find it super therapeutic. It’s good to feel anchored to the earth. It’s much easier and more rewarding than people think. I’ve got some foxes in my back garden and they’ve been getting quite cocky lately, but I like that. I want the streets to be reclaimed by foxes so that I can be proven right with my lyrics on ‘Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost’.

Read about cave men

“There are a lot of books on my shelves that I’ve only ever pretended to read but am actually going to now before I get caught out. I was reading this book last night called Before The Dawn which is about the history of humankind. Homo habilis were one of our early ancestors. They made very crude stone tools and there was no modification of that for 800,000 years before the next step of toolmaking and evolution. It’s good to have something like that to put into perspective how much change there has been in recent times and how unnatural that is. That idea of constant growth is actually at odds with the way that nature has worked for millennia. I’d like to give a shout out to homo habilis for banging that same tool for almost a million years.”

Make your own soap. Sure, why not?

“I guess you could say I have a soap fetish. Well, not a fetish, but I’m into soap in quite a big way. I collect it on tour. I was thinking about trying to make my own soap or to try and review some soap. My soap addiction has been vindicated by the current cleanliness vibe.”