Foals’ Yannis Philippakis: “By the time this chapter of life is over, I don’t think anyone will want to hear about it in song”

The Foals frontman discusses quarantine creativity.

Foals' Yannis Philippakis

Image: Jim Dyson / Getty

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Foals’ Yannis Philippakis has discussed the difficult creative situation everyone finds themselves in right now, speaking out about the “pressure to be productive.”

In an interview with NME, the frontman said that, despite the time inside, musicians shouldn’t feel obligated to write: “The moment that it became evident that there was going to be a sustained lockdown, everybody I spoke to was like, ‘Oh, it’s going to be a great time to write some music eh?’ I was like, ‘I don’t tell you when to do your job! I’ve got nothing inside right now’.”

He expanded on his comments, saying that songs directly inspired by lockdown might have a short half-life: “There’s no prize for being the first person to write a song about COVID. By the time that this chapter of life is over, I don’t think anyone is going to want to hear about it in song form.”

He’s not the only musician to speak out about this pressure, with David Crosby similarly noting the difficulty of responding to this pressure: “You don’t know how the stress will affect people. But a lot of us see it as a challenge, to surf it, to get on top of it, and control our destiny. But it’s difficult, man, these are hard times for everybody.”

Philippakis summed his approach up: “I don’t subscribe to the belief that you should be made to feel guilty if you’re not productive. It’s perfectly fine to just sit around and do fuck all for as long as you need to.”

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