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Photos by Gregor Forrest

Sat back-stage in a small space that started to feel more like a living room than a music venue, we caught up with the Yorkshire-based talent that is Foreign Lives. After listening to their EPs Madeleine and Conversations, I’d become intoxicated by the band’s slightly nostalgic sound that pays reference American 90s emo. I was keen to find out a little more about the thematic vision behind the production of their bodies of work.

Lead singer Josh Finn referred to Conversations as a cohesive anthology that is in many ways a follow-up to their debut EP Madeleine. It seems that there’s been a degree of growth and progression cultivated in the two years between releases. The band spoke in depth about the ocean imagery used throughout the recent EP; a metaphorical reference to feeling somewhat lost, and the pursuit of finding oneself. Lyrically, the collection of songs are intended to be relatable; a reminder that anyone of us can be implicated in a given scenario. The title track, ‘Conversations’, was described as the “darkest” song on the EP, which was written as an ode to a fallen relationship. It’s this lyrical creativity and honesty that adds a rare degree of sentiment to Foreign Lives’ work.

Curious about the bands’ foresight for the future, we delved into Foreign Lives’ vision for their coming album. In pursuit of breaking into a bigger music scene, there are plans to expand thematically; something that proved impossible on a six track EP. The five-piece have developed a style of writing that compliments both the lyrical and sonic components of each track; an instrumental composition sets the base, followed by the chosen lyrical venture. Having known each other for such a long time, song writing has become something of a second nature, a talent that’s evidenced in twenty plus songs proposed for the next album. As a component of the overall process, recording has proved to be a particular highlight for the band. A two-week time frame is used to transform their songs into harmonised records suitable for an album, and it certainly seems that there are big things in store for this project.

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For musicians trying to break through, the industry is harder than ever before to permeate, and this is just one of many reasons why we should be supporting our local artists. Foreign Lives discussed their admiration for local bands, including Bull and Parker Lee, emphasising the importance of re-connecting with such rising talents. We talked at length about the sentimentality held towards playing Yorkshire venues, namely The Crescent and all its dingy charms. Despite larger shows acting as signposts for their musical career, the band explained how acoustic sessions are always special. As more intimate events, they felt that acoustic performances allow the audience to truly connect with their songs and to get lost in the ambience that is fabricated. I’ll most certainly be looking out for their next gig of this variety.

The dualism of familiarity and distinctiveness is certainly present in Foreign Lives’ sound, and I was intrigued to explore the band’s own influences. Grammy-nominated The National were mentioned to have particularly inspired the band’s style, alongside the likes of American Football and Death Cab for Cutie. If you’re fans of any of the aforementioned talents, Foreign Lives are definitely worth a listen. I stayed around to catch the band perform some of their latest tracks, a performance that took shape as one of the most impassioned shows I have seen to date. Dedication and vision are something that Foreign Lives have in abundance, and with work and time I’m sure that they will continue to gain traction.

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