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Interview:
Britain's Foals are hitting their stride
 

By GARY GRAFF
21st Century Media/Digital First Media, @GraffonMu

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Britain's Foals have good reason to have a little extra energy in their stride these days.

The group's third album, "Holy Fire," hit a career-high No. 2 in its homeland in February, was nominated for the prestigious Mercury Music Prize and has been certified gold. The single "Inhaler" won an NME Award for Best Track, while the group was named Best Live Act at the Q Awards.

"Holy Fire" also got Foals -- which played at Metallica's Orion Music + More festival during June on Detroit's Belle Isle -- onto the Billboard 200 in the U.S. for the first time ever, and guitarist-keyboardist Jimmy Smith says the quintet wants to make more good things happen on this side of the pond in the future.

"We've toured the States a lot, even on this record, and we're going back to some places that we played years ago when no one was there," says Smith, 29. "There's a place in Madison, Wisc., where four people watched us the first time and we went back this year and sold it out, like 500 people.

"We like to go to places a lot of bands don't bother to go, not just New York or big places on the coasts. We're fighting to get a bit of a reputation all over, which is great. It's been drummed into us by our management that in the States you have to tour, tour, tour and tour again, which we're totally willing to do. We love touring in America and we're always stoked to come back."

"Holy Fire" does represent a different, somewhat lusher and more intricate approach than its two predecessors, incorporating funkier rhythms and more loops, samples and technology. Smith explains that the group "just wanted to have a bit of freedom and not limit ourselves too much," but he acknowledges he and his bandmates were a little apprehensive in bringing the album out.

"Yeah, yeah, of course, but that's another story," he explains. "We always just assume people won't like it, whatever we do. That way if one person likes it, then it's a victory. And I think we're harder on ourselves than anyone else could be; any bad comments we hear, from fans or the critics or whatever, we've said far worse to each other."

Foals performs with Cage The Elephant, IAMDYNAMITE and Blue October at the Night 89X Stole Christmas on Tuesday, Dec. 17, at the Fillmore Detroit, 2115 Woodward Ave. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $25-$45. Call 313-961-5450 or visit www.livenation.com.

Web Site: www.livenation.com

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