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  • Break It Down: Johnny Foreigner

    Fri, 22 Aug 2008 11:59:14

    Break It Down: Johnny Foreigner - Never been more poor. Never been more happy.

    Boy/girl melodies and hyperactive guitars set the pace for the noisy, indie pop swirl of Johnny Foreigner's debut album, Waited Up Til It Was Light. The band deftly blends the urgency of Bloc Party with the playfulness of Architecture in Helsinki, all beneath a Deerhoof din. Hailing from Birmingham, England the three-piece, made up of guitarist Alexie Berrow, drummer Junior Elvis Washington Laidley and bassist Kelly Southern, have been happily riding a wave of buzz since the release of their EP Arcs Across The City in 2007.

    Now with Waited Up set for a physical stateside release in September—it was released through online retailers in July—the swell of hype surrounding the band continues to grow. Adding to the throng of press, we tapped Alexie for a Break It Down where he told us about his doll house retreats, love of Chuck Taylors and fear of social networks.

    What have you been listening to lately?

    The new Fight Like Apes songs, the new Dananananaykroyd single and the new Notwist album.

    Where’s your favorite place to chill?

    Tuttlingham, in south Germany—a little dolls house village with a quiet canal. Or, more frequently, the back of our van, which is on just the right side of the snug/cramped divide...

    What’s the most dramatic thing you ever did to save money as a starving musician?

    Past tense? Were poorer at this point than we’ve ever been—ever ever (though way happier). I eat out-of-date riders, Kelly keeps old bass strings and Junior sweet-talks his landlady... none of it is dramatic in the slightest really, its mundane and sometimes slightly soul destroying.

    Tell us one of your favorite song lyrics?

    "She came over like she wanted a kiss, now she’s kissing like she already came." —"Roaming the Foam" by Lifter Puller.

    I could probably fill this page with Craig Finn quotes

    What is your most cherished musical instrument or accessory?

    A tiny home-made light-theramin that Jeff from The Mae Shi gave us when we toured. I used to take it to every show and make crazy noises through my guitar pickups, but now I leave it at home, cause I'm scared I'll break it.

    If you could change one thing about the music industry today what would it be?

    I don’t really know. There’s probably too much complaining about the state of the industry. We're in such a privileged position to have our art (just about) pay our rent, though I can see how unfair and wrong the whole thing is and why it’s collapsing. Personally, I'd just ban cocaine and sit back and cackle.

    What never goes out of style?

    Um, weed and Chuck Taylors? And feedback. And a decent curry.

    What’s the theme song to your life?

    "You Are Invited" by The Dismemberment Plan

    What movies, artists, authors or athletes inspire you the most?

    The savage, the drunks, the hopeless and the sincere ones. Stuff that gives you goose bumps when you think about it after and makes you want to hug people when they mention the same.

    What's your favorite way to stay in shape?

    Not being able to afford food!

    What non-musician would you most like to meet?

    Shigeru Miyamoto. Responsible for more happy wasted hours than most bands I listen to.

    What's your biggest guilty pleasure?


    MySpace or Facebook?

    MySpace—cause social network sites generally scare me a bit and MySpace has bands.

    —The ARTISTdirect Staff

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