Oxford quintet Foals make 2013’s most anticipated comeback with their third full-length record, Holy Fire, which got its long-awaited release this week and is on track to crack the charts. Wonderland meets the boys just as they sell out several Royal Albert Hall shows.

FOALS:  Feeding the Holy Fire

It’s been 2 years since the last album. What’s been happening in-between records?

Walter: We stopped touring in 2011 and we were gonna take 2012 off but we toured with the Red Hot Chili Peppers throughout Europe just to keep us in touch with playing live. We also did have a little bit of time off, Yanis went home to Greece and we all spent time with our families.

Jack: We started to get itchy feet, so we got back together in our little studio in Oxford and started writing again. We’re not very good at sitting still for long periods of time.

Was it a conscious decision to write the record in Oxford and steer clear of London?

W: One of the main things is there’s less distraction in Oxford. It’s very small and even though we all have a lot of friends there, there’s not a whole lot to do. We could spend hours in our own little world and work constructively.

Do you make a conscious effort to not listen to any new music when writing and recording?

J: I think we’ve all listened to a lot of new music this year.  I do tend to stop looking for new music. Sometimes when we’re recording, something will creep in and in a subconscious way that can really influence what were writing or producing that day

5. How would you say the album differs from the previous two?

W: It’s more schizophrenic as an album. We deliberately decided that we were gonna write what came naturally and hope that at the end it would come together as a cohesive whole.

J: I hate to say this, but as a record it’s more of a ‘journey’ because it does do a lot of different things. We wanted to make sure that no two tracks covered the same ground.

What happens if one of you wants to take a certain track in one direction and the others won’t compromise?

W: We just have a big old scrap. It gets tricky when five people start to lose perspective when you’re all vying for different things. That’s why you have producers, because they have the last minute say.

You were two albums in and touring constantly, you must have found it hard to find new inspiration for the new record?

W: I think with this album we actually want new people to start hearing our music. We’ve got a bit of confidence behind us now but for every 1000 nice comments we get there could be just one that shoves us right back to the beginning.

How important is social media to a band’s longevity?

J: It’s huge to a band, but in the last five years its changed completely. Myspace was massive for music and thats over now. There used to be more mystique around bands but now everything is much more accessible. You can find out what your favourite poster is having for breakfast via Instagram.

What can we expect from the bigger live shows?

J: We’ve always relied on us drinking too much Red Bull and going out and playing our songs, but I think this time we wanna up our age and maybe introduce lasers or something.

Holy Fire is out now. www.foals.co.uk

Words: Shane Hawkins