Freeman made his live debut with the group last night (February 17) as they played an intimate Brits Week show at O2 Shepherds Bush Empire.
He replaces Everything Everything’s Jeremy Pritchard, who stepped in as a touring musician for the band in February 2019 when Walter Gervers called it quits after 12 years in 2018.
Discussing the decision to appoint Freeman, drummer Jack Bevan explained how their strong relationship with Jagwar Ma helped Freeman to fit into the group.
Speaking at the BRIT Awards 2020, he said: “When Walter told us he was leaving, with a lot of aspects of the band we’ve tried to keep it in-house and in the family of all the people we know and work with and I think with Everything Everything, who we’ve toured with, Jez was a natural choice.
“And Jagwar Ma are a band we’ve toured with for years, we’ve worked with Jono [Ma, guitarist] and he’s done some production stuff for us, and Jack is just a great guy. He just slotted in really nicely.”
It came ahead of the band’s triumph at the ceremony, where they picked up the award for Best British Band.
Describing his past experiences of the BRITS, frontman Yannis Philippakis said: “It’s gonna get messy. We’ve only been once before, but I remember we were on a table with [producer] James Ford and he was on great form. We went to a big old party, and it was just an awesome night. The best nights are the ones you can’t remember, right? Supposedly.”
Accepting their first ever BRIT Award, Philippakis used their speech to call for more female nominees.
— FOALS (@foals) February 18, 2020
The band, who last week picked up the NME Award for Best Live Act, took to the stage at The O2 in London to claim Best Group – when they echoed the widespread criticism at the BRITs lack of gender diversity among the acts nominated.
After thanking their management, team and fans, he said: “Hopefully next year we’ll see some more women in this category.”