Though I may be keen to keep the focus of We Close Tonight strictly on UK artists, every now and again I’ll be sent something from across the Atlantic that I just won’t be able to say no to. That was certainly the case the very first time I heard French Girls, their music is utterly brilliant and I’m absolutely delighted to be the proud owner of the exclusive stream of their track ‘Fifty Miles‘ ahead of the release of their Table Manners EP on 1st October.
Because the band are indeed so wonderful, I asked them some questions to help give you a deeper insight into the world of French Girls, here’s what fontman Charlie Foltz had to say for himself;
Please introduce yourself: Who are you, where are you and what do you do?
My name is Charlie Foltz. I am from a small town in northern California called Willits and I am the singer/guitarist/producer/engineer of French Girls.
How did the band get together?
I had started writing and playing music with bass player Kalan Gillespie when we were in 7th grade and we became really close friends. Cody Page had been a childhood friend of us and hadn’t started to play any sort of instrument until later on in high school. Randy Oshea had played drums with Kalan and I in a death metal band we had started called Legion of Plague (“bleh”, I know) and became really close with Kalan and myself by the end of our high school days. After Kalan, Cody and myself had graduated in 2009, Cody ran off down to San Diego for about a year and sat in on a lot of practices with the local musicians and cultivated his guitar skills. Kalan and I had gotten into producing and engineering music and came up with a cool idea for a rock band. Running with the idea, I put together about 3 songs and posted them on Facebook. After hearing the music, Cody called me and said “Just heard the music, I’m moving back up north and I better have a spot in your band”. Not actually having a real band yet, I took the only logical next step and forced Kalan to play bass and Randy to take over for the programmed drums so we could officially call ourselves a band.
How would you best describe your music? Who are your greatest musical influences?
Our vision for French Girls has always been one of finding the best way to create an sonic experience that is ever-evolving around a set of principles that are core to our style. Our style is fiercely loyal to the roots of rocknroll that we were raised listening to and our sound is dynamic, aggressive, and psychedelic. I would say our biggest musical influences are The Strokes, Black Sabbath, The Vines, Lou Reed, The Stooges, The Doors, Led Zeppelin and just about every Guy Ritchie movie soundtrack.
How do you go about the song writing process? Is one of you the ‘song-writer’ or is it more of a team effort?
Kalan, Cody and I all share a house together, making writing really easy and fun to do. Cody and I will bounce ideas off of each other and if we both like the idea enough, we’ll piece together a rough demo and send it over to Kalan and Randy. If they end up liking the song, we’ll usually put it together in the garage at practice. We end up stalling out on so many songs that if the song isn’t fully written in two days, we usually never finish writing it.
Who should we be listening to? Are there any artists you think aren’t getting the credit they deserve?
I don’t know about you folks in the UK, but not nearly enough people in the US are listening to a band out of Leeds called Eagulls. Their new album is one of my favorites of the year and I look forward, with big eyes and boyish glee, to everything they put out.
Why French Girls? Are you big Titanic fans?
On top of being the biggest Celine Dion fans in the US, Cody and I came to the name French Girls riding in my car on our way to go get Mexican food. I don’t know why that part is important, but I stand by it nonetheless. Cody threw the name out as an insult originally, saying “None of these f***ing hipsters will listen to our music unless we’re called something stupid like French Girls”. Little did he know that this slip up would continue to haunt him to this day.
Tell me about Table Manners, why did you decide to release the EP and what’s the message it gives?
We decided to do Table Manners a week after we released our first album “Superstar Destroyer”. In the time that we started writing the songs for it, our career became very up and down. Ups including traveling to Toronto to play the North by Northeast Music Festival and downs including, most notably, the loss of our organist Touran Nawim who, at the time, was a huge part of our sound. This put us in the weird position of having to figure out an entirely new sound without alienating our fans. Table Manners is a collection of six of the best songs that we came up with during this transitional period and the subject matter dealt with all the things we had been going through in the wake of our first album. The content is noticeably more mature and shows the markings of a much more experienced band than the one who wrote “Superstar Destroyer”.
Fifty Miles is a brilliant track – how did it come into life? Do you have a personal favourite track on the EP?
Thank you! Fifty Miles is a song that sprang from thick dew of tension that had permeated the social climate in American society this year and the song was trying to pay homage to the history of activism in this country. As far as a favorite track goes, considering how simple the song is, In The Meantime was the most challenging song to write on the album. It took me about a month and I went through playing several rhythmic variations of the same three chords before landing one that I liked, but once that clicked, the song fell together in less than an hour.
What drives you to make music?
My band-mates drive me to make music. They are really the only people whose opinions matter to me and we share such similar tastes in everything. When I am able to impress them with stuff that I write, it makes me want to write something even more impressive.
Who is your least favourite cartoon character?
I hate that old curmudgeon Squidward from Spongebob Squarepants. His house sucks, his hobbies suck, and hes always trying to bring people down. That guy is a horse’s ass.
We’re talking about writing a full length album to have for you guys by next year. I have no idea how it will sound yet.
Anything you’d like to add?