by HAZEL REID

Local music group Foley have had a busy past year despite the multiple lockdowns and other challenges due to the pandemic. Following the release of their catchy tune, So Personal comes their new body of work in the form of their EP, Vacation. HAZEL REID caught up with the talented duo to chat about the craziness of playing festivals and creating music in these times. 

It felt a little deja vu as when we last caught up with Ash and Gabe around this time last year, they had just released their 2020 EP On My Conscience and the country had just gone into lockdown and now here we are, a few days out of Auckland’s latest lockdown talking around the release of their 2021 record! 

Foley have continued to create and write since their last record release and Gabe says that this EP has more confidence than the last, “we got into a rhythm where we were being a bit more experimental and creative – we found a stride and put it all together.” The concept behind the group of songs on Vacation is “trying to create an aspirational moment – like a dream vacation but it’s your dream self”. Ash added that the songs have a “free and liberating” vibe, a vacation you could take from everyday life.
The lead track of the EP, Anything Before You was written in Los Angeles and holds a special place for Ash, “it was such an amazing experience – we were literally on vacation and the song has a joy about it because it was the two of us, best mates, on tour having a really great time.” Being in L.A. also gave Ash and Gabe the chance to work with different writers and they were then able to bring those learnings and skills back home to utilise while creating the rest of the EP. 

Keep Me On My Toes is another fresh track that appears on the EP, created at the Red Bull Studios here in Auckland. Gabe tells that it wasn’t all smooth sailing, “we had two days booked [at the studio] and on the first day we wrote this song which had a chorus and a weird synth line but by the end of the session we thought it sucked… the next day we came in and wrote it then the whole song came into place.” It just shows sometimes it doesn’t work out initially but the end product is meant to be! 

Despite all of the lockdowns and pandemic-enforced restrictions, Foley were able to continue creating over the past 12 months and even play some live shows. Rhythm and Vines this past summer was a special highlight for both Gabe and Ash as it was the first taste of a festival anyone had managed in a while – they both mentioned how grateful they were to perform and to be able to be back at R&V with the crews and the crowd. Ash echoed what I (like many others) would have been feeling in having live shows taken away, it “showed how much they meant to everyone”.

Auckland fans can catch Foley at their headline show later this month where they are excited to get on stage and have the opportunity to showcase their catalogue of music including Better Than Love, a fresh song that hasn’t had its live debut yet. “It’s a beautiful song, it’s going to be awesome as you don’t always get the opportunity to play the slower songs at most shows,” Gabe shared. I can say Foley are incredible live (I saw them at Whammy last year) and you’ll want to be there to experience it for yourselves! (Hopefully, no runaway disco balls this time, right Ash?) 

We finished our weekday afternoon chat talking about the future, which, as you can imagine, is pretty hard to plan for due to the current circumstances. However, having to put the focus on local audiences has been positive for the duo. Ash shared that they enjoy utilising the talent here and look forward to collaborating further with both local and international artists, and more music is definitely on the horizon. Gabe is looking to spend time out of ‘EP-mode’ and focusing on new things the duo haven’t done before that would creatively challenge them, “metaphorically spreading their wings again” he dubbed it. Oh and he also mentioned a thought many of us would dream of, “let’s just go overseas as soon as we can”. Until then, we’ll be on our own Vacation with Foley’s new EP.

Foley’s new EP Vacation is available now – you can also catch Foley at their Auckland headline show at The Tuning Fork on the 25th March and hitting the stage at the Peachy Keen Festival in Wellington on April 3rd. 

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