New Zealand has always been an excellent place to find incredible singers and bands. Today’s interviewees are not an exception to the rule, as Foley is starting the year with the release of their second EP Vacation.
The 5-track EP is an extraordinary follow up to their first EP, On My Conscience (2020), and serves as a new beginning for the group to keep growing after this troubled year and a half.
I hope you enjoy both the interview with Foley and their fantastic EP Vacation as much as I did. You can find both below:
1. Thank you so much, Foley, for answering our questions and congratulations on the release of your new EP, Vacation (March 12th, 2021). First of all, who are Foley?
We’re best friends Ash & Gabe and we’re a pop/funk duo from New Zealand! We write songs about our lives and hope to share our experiences of love, loss and learning with the world. We’re super honest and open with each other and try and balance some serious topics with a bit of light heartedness and fun 🙂
2. Your debut EP On My Conscience (2020) was released last year at the beginning of the pandemic, but that didn’t stop you from reaching the top 10 at the NZ Album Charts. What memories do you have from that release week and the news of that Top 10 achievement? Did it surpass your expectations?
Ash: It definitely did! It was absolute madness going into lockdown and not knowing what the heck was going to happen, but I think in a way people just needed groovy and uplifting music during that time to get them off the couch. It was pretty cool to be able to give people some happiness during such a scary time. I remember Gabe and I doing all these phone interviews that were supposed to be in real life and I was on the down low a little bit stoked because I could just stay in my pajamas instead of glamming up!!
3. Before the end of the year, you released two new tracks. The groovy “Rendezvous” and the infectious “So Personal,”. Both powerful tracks that served as an introduction for your new EP Vacation. What can you tell us about the creation of these two tracks? How was the shooting for the “So Personal” video?
We actually started “Rendezvous” over Zoom with Ambian & Sleo, who produced a couple of songs off our last EP. It was the first time we’d written anything like that and the first demos are super different to what the final song is. Once we were all able to get into a room together, we started bouncing off each other and getting the energy up!
For “So Personal” it really only took one session to get the idea for the song down, and we knew it was something special. We spent a bit of time getting the guitar line right and then it just wrote itself! Shooting the video was an epic experience as well, we had an awesome crew who – for the first time – we handed almost all of the create control over to, so they really took the song and ran with the summery, vibrant concept that you now see. We love it!
4. On February 5th you released the latest single from your Vacation EP, “Better Than Love”. In my opinion, the EP’s best track and certainly one of the most beautiful songs released this 2021. What’s the history behind this gorgeous mellow track? Any plans for a video or maybe a stripped performance of it?
Ash: Aw that means so much to us! That song is really close to my heart and it’s a really vulnerable one for me but I’m so glad its out there in the world. It was written with two really amazing friends and collaborators of ours, Jono Boyle and Josh Naley, and we kind of just fell into this awesome flow of honesty and rawness that felt really good to get out of our systems. Jono played that genius piano part and it all happened from there! At its core, that song is really about self sabotage. I had been let down so many times in the dating scene and never met the right person, so when I finally came across someone I felt a connection with I was too scared to fully let myself go and just be myself. I think that’s a pretty common feeling! Hmmm.. TBC on an acoustic performance… it’s crying out for one though…
5. Now let’s focus on the whole Vacation EP and the last two unreleased tracks included on it. The energetically funky “Keep Me On My Toes” and the swaggery “Anything Before You”. When did you have the idea to release a new EP? How was recording it during the crazy 2020?
“Rendezvous” was written in lockdown over Zoom and then we were able to do an in-person session for the song once lockdown restrictions had been lifted in New Zealand… and BOY did that change the vibe of the whole song! It was super interesting to see how being in a room with someone changes the energy of the track versus trying to do it over a video call. We found that getting the groove right was really tricky initially but got it done once we were all in person together. As far as when and how the EP came about… we’re always writing so it was kind of inevitable that we’d follow up our first EP with another one! The songs all fell into place around the middle of 2020 and the overall theme just presented itself to us, but it took a lot of demos to get there!
6. If you could highlight a lyric from any of the five tracks included on the EP Vacation, which would be? Which song was the most difficult to write?
Ash: I love all the lyrics from “Keep Me On Your Toes” because they’re so playful and fun! I love the lyric “I just keep on drifting out, I’m still on last nights conversations” because it just totally sums up that airheaded floating out of a conversation that we all do when we’re stuck on something that happened in the past.
7. Now that we left behind the shocking 2020, one of the most complicated years in decades for the music industry and artists in general. What can be expected from Foley for this 2021? How are you going to approach this year to promote your music? But most importantly, how have you handled this situation both on a personal/professional level?
Gabe: It’s almost impossible to plan anything nowadays, so we’re really just going to keep on doing what we love, which is writing music and playing live where we can! We’re super excited to follow up this EP with some new music which we’ve been working on, and getting out and playing shows in NZ and hopefully Australia this year. There’s no point waiting to release things anymore and it’s quite refreshing not knowing what “the best thing to do” is anymore. I think personally it’s obviously been really hard on everyone, and professionally it was quite stressful as we’d just put out our first EP when the pandemic hit. I think over time we got to a stage where we were happy to go with the flow and counted ourselves grateful to be happy and healthy!
8. One dream collaboration? And one song that you would have loved to write?
Ash: SZA 10000000 times over. I wish I wrote “Supermodel.”
9. If you could only listen to one album for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Ash: SZA- Ctrl.I probably listen to it every day anyway!
10. And the last question. What’s the most important thing that you’d like to tell people about yourself and your music?
Ash: I guess the whole purpose of our music is just to make people feel less alone. Particularly at the moment when things are so bloody out of control, we all want to know that we’re on the same page and that we have allies. We write music about shit that is scary and weird in your 20s, and all the zillion questions that we ask ourselves each day. Hopefully we’re all asking the same questions and we might find some comfort in that.