Watch Yannis Philippakis Of FOALS Discuss The Legacy Of John Hammond

"We just wanted it to be wild, we wanted to break down the barriers that we perceived to be there"

You’ve probably already seen the incredible Guinness ad that tells the story of John Hammond (if not, check it out here), the talent scout who stood almost alone in championing the potential of black and white musicians working together in 1930s New York.

Hopefully you've also seen Rudimental, Lady Leshurr and Lianne La Havas talk about how Hammond’s legacy has impacted their own creative paths in Guinness' series of short films; which tell the talent scout’s story through the eyes of contemporary artists.

The fourth installment focuses on how the musicians Hammond championed, dared to be different and came to be accepted by wider audiences. The latest story of outsider success in the series is that of Oxford-bred festival-headlining band FOALS. 

Challenging conventions since their inception, the sound of FOALS is a bringing together of hugely disparate influences: hardcore and mathrock, German minimal techno, and Hammond-backed outsider artist Arthur Russell. 

Their dissatisfaction with the traditional venue circuit led them to create a thriving house party scene, bringing a huge community of previously ignored and disaffected music fans together. 

FOALS frontman, and student of musical history, Yannis Philippakis appears in the video to discuss the importance of innovation in breeding success and contributing to the on-going legacy of music, just as Hammond promoted and contributed to in his time. 

The thing about John Hammond is that he took risks in an environment that wasn't accepting or tolerant in many ways. He broke down various boundaries that existed, he took risks on different types of musicians, unconventional musicians, put them into spheres they wouldn't have existed previous – and he changed 20th century culture by doing that.

Yannis Philippakis
Guinness Foals 3

Watch the video above to see not only how John Hammond inspired FOALS, but how he shaped the music world as we know it.


Written By

Seán Kenehan

Seán is known for eating, drinking and writing, making him uniquely qualified to work for Lovin Dublin. Seán enjoys skipping stones wistfully, puns that'd make a dad blush, and referring to himself in the third person.