The Courier-Mail

FOALS RUSH IN AT THE GALLOP

- MIKEY CAHILL NATIONAL MUSIC WRITER

There are two Yannis Philippaki­ses.

The 29-year-old Greek-born vocalist, lead guitarist and ringleader for Oxford art rock heavyweigh­ts Foals is mellow yellow when his band are off tour, right into ... gardening.

“I don’t have a garden at the moment, I’m in the process of moving house south of London where there’s newer energy. I’m gardenless,” he says.

Then there’s the Philippaki­s who rips across internatio­nal stages from Romania to Rio de Janeiro, stagedives from tall balconies in a single bound and always tears off and does a lap of the venue — midset — with his Gibson ES-347 guitar attached.

On the title track of their fourth album What Went Down there’s a lyric about falling in love with a girl with a port wine stain. “That’s a guy that’s skulking, brawling but wounded. He’s a dangerous menace in some strange dystopian city. An unpredicta­ble force with arrowheads embedded in him,” he says of his Mr Hyde.

The quintet put out Antidotes (2008), Total Life Forever (2010) and Holy Fire (2012): the latter two were both nominated for the prestigiou­s Mercury Prize. After a touring schedule that would make most bands tambourine in their boots, they went off to France with James Ford to record in an old mill.

Fuelled by red wine (“We were plied with it the moment we got there, it led to droopy eyelids”), valium and the local psilocybin products, at the end of a long day Yannis slipped under the sheets atop a famous mattress. “I stayed in the same bed as Morrissey and Nick Cave for two months,” he says.

Did they kick much? “No, they were respectful, there was room for three, no egos,” he sniggers again. As for slipping into Falls Festival, “I feel like it’ll be similar to Laneway Festival, travelling with bands and all the debauchery backstage … which I’m very excited about.”

HEAR WHAT WENT DOWN (WARNER) OUT TOMORROW

SEE FOALS, BYRON BAY, DEC 31JAN3. FALLSFESTI­VAL.COM.AU

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