Interview with Foley Artist

In my new role of Music Editor I will aim to showcase new and emerging acts as well as the established. I wholeheartedly encourage Culture Compass readers to let me know your opinions on my discoveries and will look to cover any artists you think deserve a mention . For one of my first interviews I wanted to introduce you to Surrey based trio Foley Artist. If you like what you see and hear be sure to head down to the The Bull and Gate for the launch of Cardinal Jacks debut album on Thurs 3rd Nov, where you will be able to enjoy a reliably energetic and sweaty live FA experience.

You formed about a year and a half ago, so you are relatively early on in your journey as a band… Have you all been in bands previous to Foley Artist?

Olly – Yeah music is something we have all been involved with since we were kids. For example Jimmy used to play in a band called Bad Day and I used to play in a band called Roadside Ruin. The first time I met Jimmy was at Bad Day’s first ever show in Guildford. I think we were playing too. I cant remember now haha!
James – Music is a massive part of all of our lives so yeah, we’ve all been in bands before. Me and Matt were in a band called HYKYA before and had been jamming together for a while before we decided to get Olly in, who we both knew from college and school. The two of us also play in a ska/reggae band called Tree.House.Fire! although Matt plays bass for that.
Matt – Death Metal to pop punk to jazz funk, reggae. Lot’s of mucking about in different scenes.

Did you all share the same tastes in music therefore making it clear what band you wanted to become or was it case of jamming and letting it be an organic?
Matt – We’ve all got similar influences, but in differing amounts. For instance where James’ll be jamming some Mars Volta or Blink 182, Olly will be listening to a bunch of Four Year Strong and Laura Marling and i’ll be hooked on some old Fall of Troy or Shy Child. We all like all of these things but there’s a nice push and pull and about what blend comes to the surface.
Did it click instantly or has it taken a while to find your ‘sound’?
James – It’s all a case of jamming really – at first me and Matt would basically try and out-do each other in terms of technical difficulty and basically just rocking out until we passed out! But now there’s a lot more melody in what we are writing and it’s becoming slightly easier to dance to. I don’t think we’ve ever thought “what style do we want to play?” it’s just been a case of playing whatever feels right, if we’re having fun playing it then hopefully people will have fun listening to it!

I hate to ask such a generic question, but why Foley Artist?
Matt – I saw the job title when watching the credits of a film, and when I found out what the job was (the bloke behind screen that puts the noises to the action on a film) I thought it’d make a good band name. Also my previous band was a five word name so two words felt better.

You have said that the music you make is mainly a bunch of noise to get sweaty to…. are you generally the guys that get in the thick of things, getting right in the heart of the moshpits?
Olly – Definitely when I was a teenager. I’m a bit lazy now and care too much about spilling my pint! Its such buzz though to see people enjoying your music.
Matt – Yea, although the band has to earn it! They’ve got to put that party energy in you. It’s no good when a band has to tell the audience what to do, you know?

Does this mean most of the music you make is aggro and ferocious, or are there some lighter sounds in there too?
James – To be honest, I don’t think you could call it angry – it’s very difficult to get angry to a 7/8 beat! I prefer the term “energetic”! But yeah, there are plenty of lighter sounds in there, we like dynamics.

In a band each member brings something to the table. Apart from your musical contributions what do you all offer?
Matt – I reckon we all bring some mischief to the table! And alcoholism.
James – Haha! I don’t know what the others would say about me but I guess Olly is the rowdy one – being a rugby lad he can out-drink any of us! Matt can also be quite rowdy but only in short bursts which is handy because he does most of the “business” side of things. We’re basically a rowdy, drunken, funny, energetic bunch of lovely guys and are the best of friends!
Olly – Great question. Jimmy is definitely the more chilled one of three of us. Matt and I can get grumpy with each other at times but mainlywhen a bottle of jack is involved haha! I would probably say Matt is the brains behind the outfit but I guess that comes with age…
Matt – Easy with the age bit Man-Mountain.

There thousands of bands trying to make their way in the UK, what do you think is your USP or thing that will make it happen for you?
Olly – Its technical music but with a pop sing along vibe as well. More than anything I think its great fun at our shows.
James – You know what, we have fun doing what we do. If someone likes what we’re doing enough to come to one of our shows, buy a cd or offer us a deal that would be great, but we’re gonna have fun either way. Maybe that’s our USP….not enough bands have fun these days!

You are from Weybridge, a town known for being the homeplace of UK success story YMA6. Has their rise to fame served as inspiration?
Olly – Those guys are great. I used to go to school with Josh and remember him as a little kid, and went to ACM in guildford with Chris. It just shows that it is achievable. There’s a few local bands that are really getting somewhere now too, the likes of fIN and Arcane Roots for example.
Matt – James once picked up Nick Oliveri (former QOTSA and Mondo Generator bassist) from Surbiton station and drove him into Twickenham or somewhere. My inspiration is to give James that level of fame, that he can just request lift’s places and people are stoked to help him!

Who would be your dream collaboration?
James – Normally, this is a really easy question but for some reason I can’t think of any! I’d love to get a keys player into the band so maybe Ikey Owens from the Mars Volta would be a great addition.
Matt – I’d like to write some music for Luc Besson, or should the Wachowski’s ever do anything good again for them. Otherwise some musician that shouldn’t work well with our style, and get em to gel without cliche’s. Like Ludicris, or Jools Holland. Something interesting.
Olly – Always a tough one but I think somebody like Dave Grohl. He’s done it all. He’s a great musician but mostly because I reckon he’d be fun to go out on the smash with!

If you could tour with anyone?
James – Oh man that would be a long list! Definitely Mars Volta, just to be able to enjoy their sheer musicianship night after night on tour would be such an honour. If you really mean “anyone” then Led Zeppelin for exactly the same reasons!
Matt – Yea there’s a few local bands like Trails or Cardinal Jack that i reckon would be a fun tour. But The Mars Volta, RHCP, Foo Fighters. Any of the monster touring bands would be awesome.

Dream festival to play?
Olly – Personally. Reading and Leeds. Great British rock festivals. You’d have a good home crowd along with some great bands. But overseas probably the Warped Tour. I grew up listening to bands of that tour. Shame I never got to go however!
Matt – Yea Reading too, for my youth. I’d love to get involved with SXSW or Coachella too.

You are currently working on a mini album… Can you give us a clue as to some of the topic your lyrics may cover?
James – Think this one is for Matt!
Matt – Some of the usual suspects like love, kinship and such, but also dealing with debilitating or degenerative syndromes and those that suffer from them. A bit of a spectrum really. Although it’ll all be buried in misdirection, gibberish and singalong hooks, so answers on a postcard.
Which do you find more pleasure/therapy in, writing lyrics or composing the music?

James – I always find it ridiculously difficult to write lyrics so I leave them to Matt! For me, it’s all about composing the music, structuring and thinking of new sounds – I could do it for hours!
Olly – For me when you come up with that riff that just fits or that Bassline that blends really well with what Matt and Jimmy are doing. That’s awesome. Cant beat that for me.
Matt – I find both to be an extension of mood or situation, so they both work well in working the emotions out. Anything that hangs the soul over the washing line and thrashes the dust off of it is fine by me.

Can you paint the picture of your writing/recording processes?
Matt – We all present idea’s whether in the room or not, or they’ll be born out of jamming. More often i’ll take such ideas away and get some base melody/chord/riff relationship going and then we’ll all go from there.
James – Yea sometimes a whole song will just come out of a 10 minute jam but most of the time Matt or Olly will come up with a riff or two and then I will add a beat and we’ll start playing with other riffs until we’re happy with a structure – then we’ll rock it out!

You released a video earlier in the year, do you guys feel comfortable in front of the camera?
Olly – It was a first for all of us I think. Personally it felt weird to start with but you soon ease into it. Its actually quite good fun to
James – I was actually a bit apprehensive about the video shoot but Alan Harford who directed it was so professional and in the end I had an amazing day. In previous bands I’ve been the one nominated to do interviews and things so I guess I feel quite comfortable in front of the camera.

Will the video be another area that you will want control over creatively?
Matt – Not complete control. It’s healthy to share these things around a bit with people you trust, and also having other folks input can help change a view point and help an artist be more objective.
James – If someone has an amazing idea and we all like it then we’ll go for it. None of us are directors so it’s always wise to listen to the person with the experience!

What have you got planned for the coming months?
Matt – Work! Play as many shows as possible, get this album done and ready; share ourselves with as many ears and eyes as possible! It’d be nice to be described one day as ‘a hardworking band done good’. “

If you want to hear more check out ‘The Gorgeous Dog’ EP that they put out for free at the beginning of the year or view the live performance video for ‘Loretta D Brown’
Loretta D Brown –
Main image courtsey of Alan Harford

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