the-foreign-resort

Sometimes we get lucky enough to come across something that we should have heard a long time ago but haven’t yet. More often than not, we may not get the opportunity to for a while, if at all. But the Foreign Resort’s The American Dream EP fits perfectly into the “glad we did” category.

When you hear the EP, you’re met with jarring realities and uncomfortable truths regarding class and the myth of American exceptionalism. The candor with which these issues are spoken on is something that can only come from two places – one being the willingness to actually address the topics, and the other being an outside observer who isn’t numb to the issues or abashed at bringing up the problems. In the case of The American Dream, both are characteristics of the Foreign Resort.

So many citizens in the US have been conditioned to address these issues in a variety of way. Most of these responses come in these forms: ignoring the problem completely, ignoring the problem until something really tragic happens, unintentional ignorance due to being too absorbed in one’s own life, apathy, insisting the problem lies with those who have fallen behind, and the too rare activism. For the Foreign Resort, they’re okay with discussing these issues based on their experiences as a band that has toured the country extensively, and as one that has a lot of friends they care about there.

When we heard The American Dream, we were a bit taken back by how a band from Denmark could get the current state of affairs so right. The guys were kind enough to walk us through the EP and how it came into existence after spending a lot of time traversing through the country. The American Dream is currently available through the Moon Sounds Records bandcamp. As far as observational stories about a state of disillusionment and decay go, you’ll be hard-pressed to find anything as accurate as this EP.

When you go through listening to The American Dream, it really feels like you guys completely understood the disillusion of an American populace. Was there something in Denmark that allowed you to understand the situation so well? Just looking to figure out how you nailed it.

Denmark is very different from the US when looking at how the system works and how it spends tax money. Let’s just say it like this – In Denmark it works, in America it doesn’t. Having toured the USA 13 times now, we have met and worked with many people and have also made a lot of friends across the country. Their stories about how it is to live in America today have given us an insight into the disillusion of the American middle class or pretty much everyone except the 1%. Visiting cities like San Diego, Los Angeles, and San Francisco several times over the past seven years, we have also seen a significant rise in homeless people spreading across those cities as their number keeps growing. A sad and embarrassing development for a rich country like the USA. From this perspective California looks more like a third world country and not like a hi-tech state. The really sad thing here is that the people we meet are hardworking and doing their best to succeed. But the American dream, which is really social mobility, is dead, and only those with money have a chance in today’s America.

If you fast forward to 2016, this is a re-issue that, while only two years old, is possibly more relevant and urgent now than then. Do you all see it that way as well given the extremely tenuous state of affairs globally right now? Did that help lead to a decision to re-issue the EP by chance? (EDITOR’S NOTE: The album was actually released in October 2015. Apologies for the mistake)

The American Dream came out in October 2015, which indeed makes it a very recent release. We decided to re-issue the EP in connection with the North American tour we just finished. The third and last 3-week North American tour in support of the EP. And in the light of the upcoming presidential election the songs seem even more relevant than a year ago.

When I go through The American Dream, I think, “This is my favorite track.” Then, the next one starts, and I think, “Okay, so maybe it’s this one.” Do you all feel there’s a particular standout track, or is/are there any you’re always excited to play when it’s on the setlist?

Thanks for the kind words! Not sure there is a standout track on the EP. It depends who you ask. We kept thinking “Under Bright Neon Stars” is the radio friendly song on the EP, but “Suburban Depression” seems to be doing better, and “Skyline/Decay” has been played quite often too. Live it is always a different story. It really depends on the mood of the band, but over the past year we have tried to play all five songs at every show, except on our recent US tour where we took requests from an 80 minute setlist, which meant every night was pretty random. It was great fun not knowing what we were going to play, and the audience interacted in a complete different way. Really awesome!

Do you see the EP as a sort of concept album, or are the track more a collection of individual narratives on the ideal or dream so many strive for?

The American Dream is definitely a concept album (or EP). The only one we have made so far.

“Under Bright Neon Stars” is the capsule that holds the loss of the American dream in full form – almost like a big city tale gone awry. Is there a particular story behind that specific track?

We played Los Angeles several times, and after getting over the initial “WOW!” over this huge Californian city, we started noticing what lies beneath the surface – or rather on the streets. Tents where homeless people live, like I mentioned earlier. We don’t get things like that in Denmark. We do have homeless people, but there are shelters for them. Some sleep on the street but nowhere near the amount of people we saw in Los Angeles. That’s why we called the song “an ode to the homeless in America.”

The EP seems to end on a potential of hope/optimism in spite of the decay and worry. Is that what you all were aiming for? Or is it, like the world we’re in right now, open to interpretation?

The final track of the EP is “Skyline/Decay,” which actually has no optimism in the lyrics. The song merely describes the current state of things as we see them exemplified by a city where the huge differences between rich and poor are the most explicit – New York City. Like Los Angeles, we were amazed by its skyline the first couple of times we visited. But soon we realized that everything was overpriced, from apartments to the drinks in bars. And everyone is too busy to appreciate anything. There is always another show going on and people need to work all the time to be able to pay their bills. We might be wrong about how people feel about living in NYC, but as a touring band it is probably the worst city we can play in on a US tour. Sorry New York!

To switch gears, you all have had some heavyweight comparisons made about you – the Cure, New Order, the general darkwave punk of the early 80s… but you have a delivery and message that fits in today’s chaos perfectly. How do you balance the influences in a way that feels so modernized?

Well, to be honest, now that you ask, we are getting pretty fed up with those references being attributed to us. Of course we have been listening to those bands, but what we really listen to now and are heavily influenced by are bands like A Place to Bury Strangers, The Soft Moon, Tycho, PRGRM, New Canyons, Nite, The Raveonettes, and a ton of shoegaze, which doesn’t have too much to do with the music we create. Maybe the big mix of current music we’re listening to is what makes our sound modern. Not sure.

It looks like the tour wrapped up, so how was the trek across the US and Canada? Are you guys going to take a break now or get right back into the next thing? Or is there a plan?

We are back in Copenhagen getting ready to write and record our next album. We already have several songs ready for recording, so the process will be recording existing tracks while rehearsing new songs until they are ready for recording. We still have a couple of shows this fall and winter (because we have to tour!!) but the main focus is getting a new album ready for 2017 where new tours are in the planning. Canada, look out for us in April! We’ll be back!