Last month, Foals' Edwin Congreave confused his indie fans by putting out "Heal", an unashamedly great house tune, on his, Jack Savidge from Friendly Fires and their mate Adam's new label, Deep Shit. So, I caught up with him on the Saturday night at Oya festival in Oslo, where he was about to DJ, to probe him about it.
I was pretty pissed, but thankfully he held the conversation together and I’ve done us all a favor, by editing out frequent sideways lurches towards topics such as: Polish people, McDonalds and The X-Files’ effects on Catholic pre-pubescents.
Noisey: Hi Edwin. Have you played in Norway before?
Edwin: We played Hove festival and Slottsfjell. Both shows weren’t particularly great from our perspective. Well, Slottsfjell was in the top three worst shows we’ve ever done. The stage was so small and there were no monitors. It was bizarre. It made us very insecure. It felt like people were watching us in horror and it became like one of those anxiety dreams. Nice of them to have me DJ here though!
Ouch. Apart from DJing what else are you doing right now?
I’ve been working on music of my own, which I’m supposed to say we’re releasing, but we’re kind of just putting it on the internet. I started this label called Deep Shit with Jack from Friendly Fires and a friend of mine called Adam. It’s a little difficult because Foals have a contract with a major label as does Friendly Fires, so technically all the music that you make has to go through them.
Can you not do anything on the side at all?
It’s being done on the side as they’re not interested in it. Hopefully the music I make is irrelevant to that world.
So really you have to put stuff out that you know won’t make any money.
And you need a friendly accountant on board so if they ask for a report he can say, “This release actually lost £8000.”
Yeah! And we distribute the music ourselves, we publish ourselves, we put on our own club nights. Jack’s going to start releasing music soon as well.
Are you really going to call the label Deep Shit?
Yes. We’ve already done a couple of parties as Deep Shit. It was originally just me and Jack DJing together. We discovered accidentally we both had the same type of bad taste in music and we’re obviously both from very similar backgrounds and I think we both had a similarly bad time DJing under the band names. It invariably doesn’t really work.
I don’t think our music tastes are as closely linked with the band’s identity as they could be. Often the crowds don’t really feel it.
They can’t expect you to play your own records though?
I know, but we sort of decided to be a bit more proactive about it to make our lives a little bit more enjoyable. I think it makes a lot of sense for people to release their own music, it’s so easy, and then all you need to do is like sell a couple records and you’ve made money.
So you’re going to release some 12”s, keep it underground, and then?
I don’t really want to do anymore than that. If the music’s good enough it will become proper on its own merit, but the music I’m making is not going to have a particularly broad appeal.
I think it does. Not Foals broad, but house seems to be growing in popularity again. How involved were you with track selection on the Foals’ mixtape?
I did it. I did the whole thing but with reference to the band’s music taste. If I was going to sit down and make my own mix with just music I love, it would've been very different. Which isn’t to say that I don’t like everything I put on it, but I was attempting to represent the band.
It had a really nice spread of genres, apart from a brief prog moment which is innately boring.
There’s so much music from that world which is incredibly dull.
Ha, so who do you respect most in electronic music?
Carl Craig of all individuals, but in the UK at the moment, Bicep. They run a blog and they’ve just come out of nowhere and started producing music that’s absolutely amazing. It’s a very small empire, only for themselves and not with reference to anything else. In terms of setting up a label or making music that’s the kind of thing I would aspire to. It’s similar to what Foals tried to do originally. As for musicians there are some guys from Oxford called Casino Times, I think their music is fantastic. Do you know them?
Nope. This is all deep house stuff right? So, what’s the plan after your and Jack's initial releases?
There isn’t really a plan, but we want to turn there not being a plan into a positive force where we can be spontaneous about things. If people come to us with good tunes we’ll just put them out there. If not it’s just going to be a vehicle for me and Jack.
Is there not a Foals record coming out quite soon?
There is, yes, of course.
How are you going to do both?
I can’t, but it’s not like the Foals thing is going to get in the way, just both things will happen at the same time. Obviously the Foals thing is so much more demanding, so much bigger.
Bigger sounding too? It’s not going to be an EDM record is it?
No! Definitely not. I meant, just because it’s so involving it allows me to be so relaxed about this on the side. This record we’re putting out, I don’t have to stake myself on it entirely.
In ten years would you rather be a label manager and putting out your own records on Deep Shit or still in Foals?
That’s a very leading question.
I certainly wouldn’t want to be a label manager, I want to be a DJ, but I don’t have any plans to be running a label day to day.
OK, but would you rather be in a band or DJing?
I’d really like to be able to do both.
Media trained response.
I’d love to do both because playing with Foals is much more challenging.
Are the keyboard parts much more intricate on this record?
Yes. Well not more than last record. It’s very much a guitar band still.
They’re not just a guitar band.
Well, I mean, not just playing live with them, but all their music is much more challenging. Simply because it’s at a much higher standard than I would do by myself.
Not because you feel house music can never be that intelligent?
No, I feel it’s because house music and DJing is something I’m very comfortable with. If I’m DJing I’m in my element, whereas with the band I’m in someone else’s element but I can do both. I don’t see why not.
I’m just repeating myself now. Just saying how the band is an exciting opportunity. Sounds like media training. I wish I had been media trained.
It’s OK. I should be more professional.
Are you quite drunk?
A little bit.
I sort of slowly realised. I feel incredibly sober.
On that note, I pass Edwin some rum, which he gratefully drinks to the refrain of “Down it! Down it!” from Noisey staff. What a lad.
DEEP SHIT play XOYO’s re-launch party this Friday night, for details go here.