Glasgow’s music scene, especially on the heavier end of the spectrum, is thriving and it continues to get bigger and better with each passing week. Liverpool based four-piece FOES are regulars to Glasgow and we had the chance to sit with frontman Chris Mackrill to speak about their fantastic debut album The Summit Lies Skywards and the supporting tour that kicks off in The Old Hairdressers in Glasgow.
Do you feel any pressure on your shoulders from being a four-piece from Liverpool?
Our bass player, Josh, and I moved to Liverpool around six years ago because we’d played there in old bands and every time we’d been there we fell in love with the city a little bit more. When we moved there we met Joe and James.
Was it purely a musical decision to uproot and land in Liverpool?
Yeah, we were playing in another band and decided we wanted a change and to play in a different band. We shortlisted a few cities and Liverpool was the cheapest and most viable option so we moved there and it’s great.
Is there a decent music scene there?
There is, but it’s not great for heavy music. The heavy side of it, there isn’t a great scene, there’s a lot of indie and pop stuff but when it comes down to heavier music there’s not a massive scene but hopefully that’ll change. There is a really good, thriving scene there but it just happens to be a style we don’t really fit into.
Is that one of the reasons you like to come up to Glasgow, because of the heavier music scene?
The first tour we did, we came up here and met the guys from Atlas : Empire and we’re really good friends with them now (Steven Gillies in attendance this evening). From that very first time we came here, we sorted out a tour with them and now every time we tour we come to Glasgow. It’s brilliant, like Liverpool, the people are great and it’s become the first place we want to play on a tour. There’s the stock places you kinda have to play down South but when we have a choice we always want to come back to Glasgow.
Will you be debuting anything new tonight?
We’ve got two which we’ve never played before and the rest of the set is songs from the album which we’ll be doing for the whole tour, mostly new album stuff. The two new ones, we’ll see how they go tonight as it’s the first time anyone will have heard them.
Are you happy with how the new album – The Summit Lies Skywards – has been received?
It’s been received well and beyond expectation. There’s been a wider range of people listening to it. We’ve had messages from people in America, Italy and places that we didn’t realise people would listen to it and it’s really encouraging as none of us have ever been part of an album before. There was a lot of nerves beforehand as we were putting it out there.
Was recording the album a completely different beast compared to the process for an EP release?
With the EPs we had written four or five songs then just said “let’s put out an EP, let’s go and record it”. This was different as we intended on writing a full album. It’s different, but great. It has both our heaviest and most delicate moments but we’ve always been that band. We’re not a one hundred per cent full throttle band and we’re not a quiet band. With our musical tastes being quite broad I think that’s maybe shown in the album.
Where did you record The Summit Lies Skyward?
The bulk of it was recorded in Liverpool. A couple of tracks in Cambridge, one in Ireland. One of those songs was on a previous EP so we recorded some different parts and re-recorded the drums. The other two, were from before we agreed with BASICK RECORDS to put out the album, that we had put together as a little teaser so went down to Cambridge to record them. From there we just decided to do the rest of the album in Liverpool.
Was it tough to select the singles to release from the album with it being so diverse in sound?
We’re not a great singles band, and have always thought that. The only song that we thought was going to be a single was ‘Young Sovereign’. When we were writing that we thought this could be a single so maybe let’s not go completely nuts on it and attempt to write it in a structure that’s suited to a single. With the others we just listened back to them and picked from the bunch.
Now for a random question – What do you really think of tonight’s promoter, Harris Douglas?
Well, the smell…
Seriously, we’ve worked with so many promoters in the past who have not been interested and Harris is the total opposite. He cares about music and the whole scene in Glasgow. Harris is brilliant, I wouldn’t have a bad word to say about him.
Photos courtesy of Alan K. Gray