Last time I caught up with LA's Foot Village it was via a way futuristic conference call (I was in my sunroom; they were in their respective corners of the universe). We talked about the rules and politics and quirks of their Friendship Nation but this time it's about all Anti-Magic, the new sexed up sci-fi/fantasy novel-style record built again only with drums and vocals. There's still no electricity in Foot Village but it's not like any of the citizens (Brian Miller, Grace Lee, Dan Rowan and Josh Taylor) need it to for these wild and ridiculously energetic jams.
At times Friendship Nation's drums came out almost like guitars; it was weird almost hearing melodies in each one respectively. Did you guys tried to further these dynamics on Anti-Magic?
GRACE: I think my guitar would look like a big elephant foot with horse hair strings and elephants would be playing it. Oh no, that's really sad...no it would be a giant human (like Andre) with elephantitis of the digits playing my guitar. Digital HARDCORE!
Has anyone ever really "not got" what you guys do at live shows?
BRIAN: Poor them :( I've been in lots of bands over the past decade, trying to find a way to show the world that rock music isn't locked to the classic rock trio. Foot Village is the one letting me live that dream. It is really great to hear so many people say, "I thought I would hate it, but you guys are my new favorite band."
DAN: We'd like to think that what we do is pretty easy to understand, if not enjoy. Sometimes on tour we'll play to a crowd that has no idea if it's okay to like us. Nobody will want to be the first one to start getting into it, so we'll play to a bunch of zombies. I guess that's what most bands feel like when they play LA though. Tip to all non-LA bands: the 20 minute set is king! Nobody wants to hear you for an hour! Ever!
JOSH: For me I would have to say no. Some shows have way less energy but we are lucky to have a set-up where we all have to face each other, not the audience, so the main focus of energy is in the middle of the drums. And that it is never a drag because we can pretty much only look at each other having an amazing time playing the drums and that makes it easy to give our everything everytime. And then the audience can feel free to do what they want and take from us what they will. It's real easy to get 'into the zone'! But not the bone-zone; that comes after!
Sounds like there's more singing than shouting on this new one, too, or, just more melodic shouting, but also plenty of silly noises and screams that make me feel a bit ridiculous but totally human. What do you think?
DAN: On our 10th LP, Foot Village Ten: A Tribute to Pearl Jam we'll finally hire a vocal coach and learn what harmonies are.
GRACE: Just speaking for me, I've been trying to sing more so I'm not just a one trick screamo pony, but it always sounds boring and like bad acting when I try to sing. So, that's really nice that you noticed. But I sound the most human (at least what I think a human should sound like and it feels the best) when I scream, so I may have to stick with that. I think it's so great that you think it sounds human! A really great compliment.
JOSH: I think we are just more comfortable with what we are doing? I don't know. I try to get these guys to sing way more because we just can't sing very well and I like that sound.
I've always found a split between humour and anger in your stuff; do you find one is outweighing the other more now than previously?
DAN: Anti-Magic is the documentation of our first war, hence a lot of anger, death and bloodshed. Future releases might include (but are not limited to): wacky summer camp escapades, flights through space & time, battling fire-breathing unicorns and/or evil dwarves, and the aforementioned Tribute to Pearl Jam. Lots of emotions left to explore.
JOSH: Humor and anger always seem to be in perfect balance in the world of Foot Village. I don't think the scales will tip to one side for too long. We always seem to pull it back in somehow. Maybe it's because playing drums brings out the goofy ding-dong in us all.
BRIAN: We're terrible comedian but our anger is hilarious, so you add it up. Although my goal is to reach the same balance as The Trashmen's "Surfer Bird".
There's a big element of cultural and political response with your music; do you feel increasingly inspired to work his way?
GRACE: I don't really have much to say about politics and I feel silly trying to. I just like shouting because it gives me power. And shouting phrases that are meaningful makes me shout louder. I guess I could shout about turkey sandwhiches, but I don't really like turkey....it's like old wrinkled chicken and chicken is gross enough. No really, I like your point about the simplicity of it and I really am glad you pointed that out. It's simple, but it's also a narrative if you really listen.
How do you find the DIY scene in Los Angeles these days now that its a bit more well-known?
GRACE: DIY will always be DIY becuase there will always be people without means. Expression is a nice and cheap accessory to life. It's risky like with any accessory, but at least it's honest.
DAN: Exactly the same except that some kids get super excited when someone from HEALTH comes to see us.
[Foot Village MySpace]
[Buy Anti-Magic from Upset The Rhythm]