Since launching onto the scene in 2017 with their infectious debut single ‘Settle,’Auckland duo Foley (Ash Wallace & Gabriel Everett) have been serving up banger after banger, amassing more than three million streams on global playlists, and further establishing themselves as one of the most exciting new acts in New Zealand’s thriving pop scene.
Following on from the release of their fizzing summer anthem, ‘Cola,’ and stripped back love letter, ‘Homesick,’ Foley’s long awaited debut EP, On My Conscience is a five-track masterpiece that presents running commentary on the endless doubts and challenges of life in your early 20s, while maintaining the fun-loving, carefree attitude that centres their friendship. Also bringing with it, an abundance of funky, pop-party grooves that the world could certainly do with right now.
I feel like this EP has been a long time in the making.. Can you talk us through your creative process and how ‘On My Conscience’ has come together?
Ash: I know! It’s definitely been a while for us! We wanted to make sure the songs on the EP had time between them so we weren’t telling the same story 5 times over, and we could always have a fresh perspective and something to say. I’m glad we waited because the EP feels connected but all the songs are really different in narrative and style.
How excited are you to be releasing your first full body of work?
Ash: SO STOKED – It feels so good to put everything together as one package instead of just stand alone singles. I can’t even pinpoint what’s different about it but it just feels damn good.
“On My Conscience” is also a lyric in your new single ‘Midnight’ – What was it about those particular lyrics that inspired you to use them for the name of the EP as well?
Ash: I think across the board, Gabe and I are both over thinkers so we constantly get things off our minds by writing about them together. This whole EP is kind of a word vomit of our over-sharing hectic brains, so it felt right.
Gabe: Those lyrics are the first ones you hear on the EP as well, so we really wanted to set up a timeline for the EP. The tracks are ordered very intentionally and are a kind of narrative, using those lyrics was our little way of telling people that.
Speaking of ‘Midnight,’ can you talk us through the inspiration behind this song?
Ash: Midnight is definitely a cheeky song where we aren’t taking ourselves too seriously. We’ve all been at a party where it gets to about midnight and you make a call as to whether to stick around and see where it takes you, or head home and call it a day. Midnight kind of came from that feeling of ‘sheesh I might make some wrong decisions right now, but who am I really hurting and who knows what’s going to happen?’
As well as teaming up with the likes of Josh Fountain, you also worked with Nate Campany who has worked with some pretty big name international artists – What did they both bring to the table?
Ash: Both of those guys are just absolute professionals. They are such amazing people to be around because they’re genuinely just so lovely and kind. I think if you start from a great friendship and good sense of humour you end up writing awesome music cause it’s so easy.
Gabe: Yeah at the end of the day they’re just amazing people. Initially I think it’s natural to feel really intimidated by the incredible songs they’ve written, but songwriting is so abstract, that once you’re writing, all of that feeling just vanishes if you click with the people in the room. From working with Nate and Josh we realised that in the session, everyone is doing the same thing – melodies, lyrics etc. – and you’re all on an equal level no matter how successful the writers are. It’s all in service of the song!
As a duo, can you talk us through your songwriting process – Do you tend to approach it more collaboratively between the two of you or do you both go away and then bring different elements to the table?
Ash: Everything is collaborative! We just love bouncing off each other and the result is always so much stronger when we just vibe together. Two heads are better than one they say!!
Gabe: Absolutely. Obviously we’re not with each other 100% of the time so we’ll each have concepts and ideas that we’ve come up with on our own, but we always bring them together first and then collaborate from there. Although, if there’s something that the other person really wants to say then we’ll work from there – we don’t always have to meet in the middle.
Your most recent offerings from the EP, ‘Cola’ & ‘Homesick’ offer two different outlooks at relationships and how to deal with them – Would you say both tracks accurately represent the theme of the EP overall?
Ash: Those two tracks are kind of the 2 ends of the spectrum for the EP. Homesick is the most reflective and introspective because that song is really honest and brutal. The feeling of being homesick is such a rough and raw emotion and you start to realize your relationships are SO much more important to you than you thought – almost to the point of rose tinted.
Gabe: Yeah, and Cola is more like a celebration than a reflection. With that one we wanted to create a really positive vibe even though we were writing about a breakup. We wanted to celebrate that feeling and all the emotions and current/past relationships that make people who they are
Did you face any challenges during the process of creating this EP, and if you need to, how do you resolve conflicts between the two of you?
Ash: Because we are such good mates we can act like a full on married couple sometimes, haha. I think creative conflict is bound to happen in a partnership, but at the end of the day we never move forward with something that we don’t both love, so there’s never a majority rules energy where someone ends up not happy. Conflict isn’t a bad thing though! Sometimes it makes you more passionate about ideas and when we butt heads you start to narrow down what you actually really believe in and what isn’t important for the song.
Gabe: Haha yeah, we’re very close so we’re definitely not afraid to butt heads. I think Ash nailed it, it’s never a bad thing to have conflict. It also doesn’t have to be resolved traditionally cause then no-one ‘wins’ so to say. If one of us isn’t happy we’ll never move forward and those disagreements most often mean that we’ll just keep trying ideas until we get one that both of us like!
On a similar note, did you have any go to people who could act as a sounding board and support during the process of making this EP?
Ash: We had a lot of collaborators for the entire EP so we were never alone in the decision making. I think playing the music to your mates who aren’t working in music is really important because they will be fully honest with you, and their reaction is easier to gauge, haha. My mum cant hide if she likes a song or not, so she’s handy!
Gabe: We’re also really lucky to have an amazing group of mates that always help out when we need it. They’re all so creative and supportive so they have all contributed to the EP in some way.
What’s your favourite track on the EP and why?
Ash: I think mine is Homesick just because its so close to my heart. But Party Shit is such a bop and I love Gabe’s basslines so much that it’s a close second.
Gabe: Aah, I’m not sure if I could pick. Cola’s my favourite to play live though!
Are there any underlying messages you hope listeners take away from ‘On My Conscience?’
Ash: At the end of the day we are just 2 mates in our early 20s trying to navigate all the carnage of this decade. The EP is pretty honest and up front with our experiences, so the aim is just to relate to people and make them feel like they aren’t alone if they’re going through something similar. Connecting to people is number one so if even 1 person feels the same way, I am a happy lady.
Gabe: Yeah, don’t take yourself too seriously and know that everyone’s in it with you. Reflect but don’t beat yourself up!
You’ve just finishing playing a run of summer shows supporting kiwi heavyweights Drax Project and Six60, what was that experience like?
Ash: Absolutely NUTS. Those guys are wildly talented and so supportive of other kiwi acts, which does not go unnoticed. I have so much respect for each and every one of them and their teams, so being able to share the stage with them was a real blessing. All their fans are hectic as well so we loved playing to those crowds!
Gabe: It was incredible and so awesome to see NZ acts with a full production like that. Awesome to see they brought out nearly 100% kiwi support acts and that just speaks volumes to their characters.
How do you mentally prepare yourself ahead of a live show of that size and how did you deal with the come-down post show?
Ash: Gin and tonic both before and after!
Gabe: Haha, I’m usually stressing about all the gear beforehand so that takes up all my mind before we go on stage. La Croix’s work wonders though!
It is a pretty and uncertain time in the world right now, do you have any hot tips on how to keep yourself entertained for those that are self-isolating or in quarantine?
Ash: LISTEN TO OUR EP ON BLAST NON STOP! And get deep in some crafts? We are doing a Bob Ross wine and painting night which I am quite pumped for.
Gabe: My hot tip is that you don’t have to do any self-improvement and it’s OK to just chill. It’s a great time to read though!
Do you have some live shows planned for when it is possible to get out there again?
Ash: Ah man, We had a few shows that have been cancelled. But in the scheme of people who have lost everything overnight, we are feeling incredible blessed. Our hearts are going out to everyone affected, because it’s life changing stuff. Hopefully, when things quiet down we can get back on the horse, but we would absolutely hate to put anyone in danger.
Gabe: Yeah we will definitely be back and hopefully we can put something together with a bunch of our artist mates and provide something for people that have lost work.
So what else is in store for Foley for the rest of 2020 at this stage?
Ash: Just more writing, collaborating and releasing! If there’s any silver lining to all this, it’s that we can stay at home and get real deep into the rabbit hole of the studio. Catch me in 3 months full on hermit, potentially beard on my face, haven’t left the studio since we last spoke.
Gabe: New tunes! Big vibes!
Lastly, any good tracks you’re loving right now that we should be adding to our playlists?
Ash: I am a massive kiwi music junkie, so anything from Navvy, Wells*, Balu Brigada, new one from Adam Snow, Reb Fountain, Tiny Ruins, the list goes on!!
Gabe: I’m loving the new SACHI track. Big love to Matthew Young as well for summing up isolation so well and just dropping a track out of nowhere.