Belfast Telegraph

Mercury Prize nominees Foals in show of support for Extinction Rebellion

The band was speaking ahead of the prize ceremony in London.

Foals during the Hyundai Mercury Prize 2019, held at the Eventim Apollo, London (Ian West/PA)
Foals during the Hyundai Mercury Prize 2019, held at the Eventim Apollo, London (Ian West/PA)

By Craig Simpson, PA

Foals have backed Extinction Rebellion and called on musicians to unite in the environmental fight.

The British band has been nominated for the Mercury Prize 2019 for their album, Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost Part 1.

Speaking ahead of the event at the Eventim Apollo in Hammersmith, London, the band wore Extinction Rebellion stickers and shared their support for the climate activists.

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Foals during the Hyundai Mercury Prize 2019, held at the Eventim Apollo (Ian West/PA)

Foals said they doubted their fans backed Brexit, but believed all music lovers could unite under an environmental banner.

They unveiled their own banner proclaiming “no music on a dead planet” ahead of the prize ceremony.

Guitarist Jimmy Smith said the band steered clear of directly addressing current affairs because “politically it can be a bit dicey, if you come out with your political views”.

But he added: “Everyone can kind of unite over the environmental issues.

“The more bands that do it, we’ll have a coming together and have more force.

“With people like Extinction Rebellion – it’s a force for good.

“It’s better than fractured, people saying random things all over the place, as it’s been in the past.”

The band has been making music since 2005, and has evolved with changing musical tastes since their indie-influenced debut.

They are up against a diverse range of artists for the £25,000 Mercury Prize, which has a number of rappers facing established rock outfits. Foals are among the 12 acts chosen this year.

They do not believe their fans’ politics are as diverse as their award competition.

Drummer Jack Bevan said: “I don’t think we have any pro-Brexit fans.

“We’re pretty liberal so it’s nice to feel that our fans might have a similar outlook on life.”

Smith added: “You’re entitled to your own opinion, as long as you don’t put it on my Instagram.”

Stormzy and Jorja Smith are among the judges who make up the panel reviewing this year’s albums.

Slowthai’s Nothing Great About Britain and The 1975’s collaboration with environmental campaigner Greta Thunberg have demonstrated a political edge to this year’s award.

The 1975 have been nominated for A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships, Fontaines DC for Dogrel, and Seed Ensemble for Driftglass.

Little Simz is in contention for his album Grey Area, Anna Calvi for Hunter, Idles for their success Joy As An Act Of Resistance, Slowthai for Nothing Great About Britain, rapper Dave for Psychodrama, and Cate Le Bon for Reward.

Nao’s Saturn and Black Midi’s release Schlagenheim are also nominated.

The Mercury Prize is an honour given to the best album released in the UK by a British or Irish act, and has run since 1992.

Rock act Wolf Alice claimed the prize in 2018 for their album Visions Of A Life.

PA

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