Foot Village, for those not in the know, are a 4 piece all drum noise band from LA, which will tell you instantly how cool they are. On top of all their indie cred, they’re actually pretty (very) good at what they do and make some of the most interesting sound out there at the moment. We sat down to chat to Brian Miller of the band about DIY ethics, Geoff Barrow and trying to appease angry labels.

The 405: You're sound comes across as a real DIY sound - is this a statement of art or just because it's more fun like that?

Brian Miller: Look at us, we're true products of the 90s. Since I was teen I've just wanted to make music like Huggy Bear. I know right now there is this whole 90s retro thing going on, but that seems to be among beautiful and young that didn't live through it. This is actually the first time anyone has thrown the word DIY at us... and I don't feel like I see it used that much compared to revisionist terms like Chillwave. It is a real compliment to me though. We just kinda stumbled upon this all-drums approach and held on when we saw how wide eyed the response was. As a teen, DIY was the word of choice and embodied the idea that music still had limitless possibilities. It is not as much an intentional statement for me, as it is in the blood. Every band I love (Rollerskate Skinny, rRope, Captain Ahab, etc) sounds like no other and I'm not happy with any band I'm in unless it sounds like the unique voice that can only come from us. If that is DIY, I'm in it.

What was it like performing at the ICA?

BM: Dinos Chapman told us that, after years of hating all music, he had his mind blown by our performance. This happens. People mistake what we do for art. But really, we're just entertainers. Regardless, he and his brother are my favourite artists alive. Hopefully we can collaborate one day.

You've been chosen by FatCat for their latest split series 12", which must be quite an honour. How did that come about?

BM: FatCat actually wanted to put out the band I used to be in, Gang Wizard. They forked over all this dough to fly GW to one of their fests years ago. A true display of faith in our band. What FatCat didn't know is that Gang Wizard was just a bunch of misfits and we disbanded pretty much as soon as we got home. So Foot Village is just their 2nd choice. A way to make back the money from those plane tickets. Hopefully one day Foot Village will actually win over FatCat's love and seize that honour. Until then, just doing everything we can to keep FatCat from breaking our legs. Don't forget, FatCat has been in the game for a long time. These are real gangsters we're talking about here. For the sake of my family, I just do whatever they say.

What's the reasoning behind tracks like Erecting The Wall Of Separation? Why separate yourself from the drumming so much?

BM: This is our best song. Probably because it has such a large a cappella section. As self-taught drummers, we are okay. You know, we make it work. But as trained singers, we really shine. So sometimes we like to show off what we can do when just singing. Getting all the odd dissonant arrangements for that song worked out was tricky. The voice tends to slip into traditional harmonies if you don't stay super focused. But I think we succeeded into putting together a song that sounds unlike anything else. More so, it is an arrangement perfect for the message of the lyrics. There is some dark philosophy being dropped on that track.

What's the reasoning behind just having drummers?

BM: The first time I became interested in beats was when I heard Aphex Twin. Before that, I just through the drums were some kind of unfortunately necessary backdrop to a song. I spent about decade lo-fi experimental rock with glitched electronic beats before even trying to play drums myself. This was all in a band most Foot Village members once were in called Rose For Bohdan. In about 2006 or 7 I fell in love with an LA band called Rainbow Blanket. Essentially, they were harsh noise with minimal, hyper-direct drumming. It opened up my mind to actually playing drums myself. The first Foot Village lineup came from just wanting to jam on drums with the guys from Rainbow Blanket. We ended up writing songs that day and the rest is Foot Village.

How did coming to play at the Portishead curated ATP I'll be Your Mirror come about?

BM: Geoff saw us in LA when we played with Beak>. He told us that night he wanted us to play ATP. I figured it was just pillow talk. I mean, 3 or 4 other people had claimed the same thing to us in the past, but it never went further than the excitement at our show. When we got the offer to play ATP months later, I was shocked. Geoff is one of the most honest people we've met doing music. A true sweetheart.

A lot of people find your recordings difficult - is this deliberate or is it more down to you being a primarily live band?

BM: Now, that's not really fair, is it? Just giving us these two choices. Some people just don't want to rock out at home as hard as they would at a venue. Personally, I rarely listen to anything too hardcore at home. I listen to a lot of new age and doo wop. But Foot Village can only be who we are, and we bring it just as hard on the recordings as we do when we play live. If anyone is concerned that we rock too hard for listening at home, I recommend turning the volume down. We sound very good at a whisper volume. I promise!

Foot Village have a split 12" coming out with Super Khoumeissa on FatCat on the 1st August. More information can be found here!

http://footvillage.org/