Foals’ thrillingly visceral return with ‘What Went Down’earned a flurry of Radio 1 support (Hottest Record in the World, Tune of the Week and Track of the Day) as it accelerated past the million views mark at YouTube. As the August 28th release of their eagerly anticipated new album of the same name approaches, Foals can now unveil the ground-breaking video for their next track ‘Mountain At My Gates’, which is impacting now.
Again supported by the likes of NME, Pitchfork, Stereogum and Drowned in Sound following the release of the track’s audio and also selected by Annie Mac’s Hottest Record in the World, the brand new video for ‘Mountain At My Gates’ was directed by Nabil who is best known for his work with Kanye West, Arctic Monkeys, Frank Ocean and Alt-J.
Foals and Nabil partnered with GoPro for the innovative video which was shot entirely on GoPro’s spherical Virtual Reality technology. This marks the first use of GoPro’s new VR technology on a music video production. Throughout the video’s spectacular visuals, Foals interact with and perform to the viewer in a fully immersive way in which we’re able to experience their performance through multiple perspectives. Click HERE to watch a behind-the-scenes clip on the making of the video.
“We are at the beginning of what we can really do with this technology,” says Nabil. “It has the power to transport you.“
Produced by James Ford (Arctic Monkeys, Florence + the Machine), ‘Mountain At My Gates’ builds from the leftfield grooves and angular art-rock that characterized previous Foals’ anthems such as ‘My Number’ and ‘Miami’. This time, however, the quintet subverts expectations by twisting the track into a frenzied finale with a cacophony of sound.
“I’d recorded the beginning riff on my phone ages ago,” explained vocalist/guitarist Yannis Philippakis in a track-by-track interview with NME. “At the beginning it had a baggy feel, but became less so with more work. The central image – “I see a mountain at my gates” was from me getting more interested in seeing what would come out lyrically where there wasn’t a pre-conceived idea. Normally I write voraciously in books and journals, then harvest a lot of that for the record. This, though, came out instantaneously in the room.“
As with the rest of the ‘What Went Down’ album, Foals – completed by Jimmy Smith (guitar/keys), Walter Gervers (bass), Jack Bevan (drums) and Edwin Congreave (keys) – recorded ‘Mountain At My Gates’ at the desolate Studios La Fabrique which is located in the same village in the south of France in which Van Gogh was hospitalised after savaging his own ear.
‘What Went Down’ is an album that grapples with questions that are a world away from the bland bleatings of homogenised pop: permanence and impermanence; life and death; solitude; vulnerability; intimacy; passion; rage; humanity – weighty issues that make demands of the people creating that music, and of all those who listen to it, too.
Sonically, it’s an album that precariously seesaws between primal aggression and naked vulnerability. It’s an approach that delivers a contrast of muscular shocks with the fiery central riff of ‘Snake Oil’ and the menacing percussive march of ‘Albatross’ set against some of the band’s most openly experimentally moments to date such as cocktail of afrobeat and drum machines that underpins ‘Night Swimmers’ and the stripped-back, vocal-led ‘Give It All’.
The album closes on an astonishingly beautiful note with ‘A Knife in the Ocean’, akin to both the calm before the storm, but also the stillness and silence after it has passed.
‘What Went Down’ will represent Foals’ fourth album after ‘Antidotes’ (2007, #3), ‘Total Life Forever’ (2010, #8) and ‘Holy Fire’ (2013, #2). After an almost unprecedented double-bill of shows in a day at the prestigious Royal Albert Hall, the summer of 2013 saw Foals present a teaser of their future as they headlined their first major festivals at Bestival, Latitude and Parklife with the biggest and most reactive crowds of the weekend. Next summer’s festival circuit, it seems, will see Foals ascend to new heights.