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Stench intervista i londinesi Foe, interpreti di un particolare rock strumentale..

1) Let's start with a brief introduction on the origins of the band

Jason: Previous to Foe, we all played together in a band called Geiger Counter that had an extra guitarist. We played with some nice bands and put out a few vinyl releases, but generally everything moved very slowly for that band.
Foe is like a breath of fresh air because we have achieved more in the last year in this incarnation than we ever did in that band.

2) At a first listen I didn't get into the total lack of vocals, how did you come to this choice?

Crawford: I would rather think of Foe as an instrumental band than a band lacking a vocalist. I don't personally have any kind of philosophical axe to grind, and I suspect Paul & Jason don't either, so I don't reckon there is any real point in having someone singing/screaming over the music about how alienated they feel or highlighting their own twisted personal politic.
Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against vocalists, but at the moment it's not really something we want to pursue. I know it would make things easier for us, but heck, there has been instrumental bands since the dawn of popular music so what is the difference?

Paul: Indeed a lot of classical music is instrumental, whether programmatic or otherwise, and nobody complains.

Jason: Instrumental music is like reading a book. I find that you tend to use your imagination more when listening to it as opposed to having the pictures painted for you by a vocalist or singer. There is nothing wrong with that either, and I enjoy a lot of vocal-led music too, it's just that apart from some amazing contemporary classical pieces, good instrumental stuff that is both truly heavy and intricate is virtually non-existent.

3) How is your local scene?

Crawford: London is fantastically transient and there is no real scene, it's very hard to describe. It's like a collection of small scenes all jumbled together, some are written about in the music papers, but most aren't and they rely on fanzines, internet and word of mouth. But, if your looking for a sense of community then forget it, it doesn't exist. This is probably a
good thing too.

Jason: Yeah, there are only a small number of bands that we play with in London. The most prominent being Art of Burning Water, Guapo, Nought and Stars In Battledress. All great bands doing something unique. Check them out if you can.

4) What are the subjects of your lyrics?

Crawford: Well, as you know we have none so I'll take it that you mean song titles. There is no real meaning behind them, they are mostly just phrases that we've picked up and carry around with us, they might originate from books, film or television.

Jason: The title of our album 'Arm Yourself with Clairvoyance' is from a piano score by Erik Satie. He used to include funny performance directions in his scores, and I thought this one was quite apt for us. It is quite hard remembering the song structures when first playing or listening to this stuff, and a little clairvoyance would come in very handy.

5) Your sound clearly derives from rock, but there are also some metal riffs. What are your influences?

Crawford: Personally, the bands that influence my playing in Foe might be Coalesce, Dazzling Killmen, American Heritage and stuff like that. Also, Rob Wright from No Means No is pretty inspiring.

Jason: Some of Robert Fripp's guitar playing in King Crimson and The League of Gentlemen is pretty incredible. I also love American Heritage, Breadwinner, Loincloth and Meshuggah a great deal. Whenever I write a piece of music, I always have the idea of a giant sprawling symphony by Shostakovich in the back of my mind. The darker side of his music has been
a major influence on my writing style since I first heard him when I was sixteen.

6) Where did you find the inspiration to compose such an introspective jobby?

Crawford: Someone once said that they had rarely seen a band be so single-minded in it's pursuit of a kind of linear post-Breadwinner style, and the phrase 'single-minded' resonates within the writing style and intentions of this band. I'm not saying we're hitting the nail on the head every time, but we're on the case.

7) Speaking of your live sets, what was it like to play with bands like The Dillinger Escape Plan and Prong?

Paul: Playing with Prong was wonderful as I was a big fan many moons ago, but being support to Dillinger was more than exhilirating; would love to do it again.

Crawford: I didn't see Prong, except at sound check without the backing tapes/sequencers, so I can't really comment. The Dillinger Escape Plan were both exciting and terrifying to play with. Really nice guys. I was surprised, but delighted at the musical taste they seemed to have - The Cure, Radiohead, Depeche Mode, not Gorguts and Botch etc. I guess they know
a lot of these bands anyway.

8) Did you receive good responses from the audience?

Crawford: Yes, really encouraging for our first gigs. We played with them in Liverpool and Leeds.

Jason: The audiences were very supportive. I was genuinely surprised by how well we went down with them. It was nice that they were prepared to be quiet and listen rather than heckle us for being unknown.

Paul: Responses generally are very good. I think when someone sees us for the first time they get quite excited about the unpredictable and forceful character of the music, but people who go to our shows regularly have grown through that and
are now understanding and enjoying the themes and forms within the music.

9) Any plans for the future?

Jason: We are touring the UK with American Heritage and Art of Burning Water in October. All three bands have also contributed tracks for a split record to celebrate the tour. That's going to be pretty amazing if you like having your ears battered into submission. We hope to play some shows in Europe next year, maybe with Tantrum or Cheval De Frise. Musically, we are working on an EP called 'When You Carry A Hammer, Everything Looks Like A Nail', which will be released early next year on House of Stairs. After that, we will start writing our next album. This will probably be one huge
track that we are hoping will be a collaboration with a company called Inlightentertainment. They make beautiful art performances and installations mainly by using interesting lighting and shadow techniques.
There will be a film to accompany the piece, which I think will evoke new ideas and ways of working for us as a band.

10) Any final comments?

Foe: Thanks very much for taking an interest.