Following the release of their 2015 EP Come Alive which resulted in licensing deals with Fox Sports and TVLand, Utah quartet Foreign Figures’ popularity has only continued to rise. Such a rise looks set to continue thanks to their debut full-length album, Paradigm, and the extensive tour plans the guys have in place for the coming months. Bassist Seth kindly agreed to this interview to chat song-writing, the impact of social media and dream shows.
PW: Please introduce yourself.
Seth: Hello! This is Seth, and I play bass. I’m speaking on behalf of the rest of the band: our drummer Steve, Jonny our guitarist and Eric who performs vocals.
PW: How would you describe yourselves and your music in a few words?
S: Foreign Figures can probably best be described as fusing wide sounding, drum heavy, rock anthems with hip hop rhythms, soulful vocals, and arena inspired tones.
PW: How and when did you first discover your love of music? Was there an album you bought or concert you attended that inspired you to pursue it as a career?
S: That answer is definitely going to differ for each of us, but we all got into music in our early teenage years. Steve played in a classic rock band, Jonny had his metal group, I was in an Emo band, and Eric did a lot of singer songwriter stuff. Each of us found both a love for music, as well as a love for being in a band. I actually joined a band before I played an instrument cause it just seemed so fun. I remember seeing the video for My Chemical Romance's "I'm Not Okay, I Promise" and thinking, "I gotta be in a band.” I know Jonny was super inspired by Anberlin, Steve's favorite group is Owl City, and Eric's love of music started with Coldplay.
PW: Which bands or artists influenced you growing up and have those influences changed over the years?
S: All of us grew up in homes that listened to The Beatles, Journey, and a lot of classic rock. We all grew up loving Michael Jackson - I guess we were raised on a lot of "the hits". Even though we all have a more broad taste in music now, we still love classic artists.
PW: Is there a band or artist you might say you're similar to or do you make a determined effort to be as unique as possible?
S: I think every band that writes original music wants to come up with something new and different, and we definitely strive to develop "our sound" as much as we can. There are a few bands that we can agree on, but we haven't specifically been told we sound like them: Coldplay, OneRepublic, 21 Pilots, and Imagine Dragons.
PW: Who or what most inspires your song-writing?
S: A lot of our song-writing comes from dealing with the realities of life. We like to look at things with the glass half full, but a lot of our songs on the new album really speak to our struggles, worries, and anxieties in deciding to take this band seriously and pursue it full time. Our album Paradigm will lyrically take you through that journey. We try to write about real things so real people can connect to them.
PW: In your opinion, which is the greatest song ever written and why?
S: This is a tough one. For Eric and Jonny, it'd probably be "Paradise" by Coldplay. One of my favorite songs is "Human Nature" by MJ. Steve loves this Owl City song called "Verge".
PW: Tell me about your new album Paradigm. How did you come up with the title and how would you sum it up in a couple of sentences?
S: Paradigm, as an album, is a reflection of what we went through in deciding to make Foreign Figures our full-time job. Through putting career aspirations and educational opportunities aside, we had this kind of paradigm shift. We are still at a point where we gotta get up in the morning and hustle to allow this to be our job, but we love it and wouldn't have it any other way. Thus, Paradigm.
PW: Could you pick a favorite track on the collection?
S: My favorite track from the album is "Fire". Favorite to play live would probably be "Stay".
PW: The video for the title track is stunning. How did you come up with the concept for it and is being creative in that way something you enjoy?
S: Thanks. We decided to work with this awesome videographer here in Utah, Eric Thayne, and he had this vision to use mirrors to play of the idea of a paradigm shift. We were totally down, although logistically, it was super hard to get a bunch of mirrors out to the desert without breaking them. In 2016, it's easier than ever to make a music video, and we want to let our fans have a visual to a lot of songs. We definitely love the creative aspect of making music videos.
PW: If you could share a stage with four other bands or artists who can be living or dead, who would they be and where would you play?
S: I'm gonna do my best to pick bands for the guys here: 1. Michael Jackson, 2. Coldplay, 3. Journey, 4. U2.
PW: What are your upcoming tour/ performance plans?
S: We will be doing a lot of touring throughout this year and into next spring. We are writing a lot for a hopeful 2017 release. As far as tour locations go, we will mostly be sticking within the west coast, mountain west, and mid-west, but are working on at least one east coast tour. We are also excited to open for American Authors on August 27, in just a couple days.
PW: What are your thoughts on social media and to what extent has it helped establish you as a band?
S: Social media is super important. It's sometimes tough to manage the line between business and personality as you grow via social media, but I believe taking a genuine, organic approach is probably one of the best ways to do it. It has absolutely helped us as a band, especially in the beginning. Having an interactive social media platform is something we really want to provide for our fans.
PW: Finally then, what's your ultimate ambition as a band and with that in mind, whose career would you most like to emulate and why?
S: Our goal is to be able to make music that can help somebody enjoy life a little more. Of course, we want our music to reach as many people as possible, but the idea of "getting big" or "making it" isn't just about hitting financial goals or charting as much as it is about connecting with the world through music, hopefully helping someone through something, you know? We would love to emulate U2's career. In the end, we would like to write songs that can be considered "timeless". It's a tall order, but why not shoot for the stars, right?