In the corporate world, one must often grin and bear it – or, in FoE’s case, bare some teeth. A former tech product manager and entrepreneur, Foe left his job at 30, battling Crohn’s disease, to follow a dream of making music.
“Currently, the subjects I focus on in my music are mostly self-esteem, living up to your potential and extreme physical pain,” he says. An office betrayal and bureaucratic frustrations led to writing the resigned, corporate-flavoured bedroom synthpop number, “Smile and Move Along”.
“The idea for the song came when my manager offered me a new position. I was interested, and told him I’ll take it – but under one condition. I will not work under John, a manager who does not treat his employees with respect. He agreed without hesitation, smiled and shook my hand…Roughly a month later my manager asked me to join him in the main conference room. I entered the room, excited to hear what he had to say. He rubbed his hands, looked me straight in the eyes and said: “You are going to report to John starting next Sunday.” I was shocked and could barely keep myself together as the anger was building up inside me. I didn’t know what to do. Finally, I looked back at my manager, smiled and moved along with my day.”
Channeling the wry delivery of Gary Numan and Depeche Mode, with the 21st century spins of MGMT, the track utterly seethes with bubbling resentment: stiff upper lip with a clenched jaw. It carries that weight of frustration with your career and the lousy folks in it…indeed, the accompanying video offers those Office Space vibes: exploring the contrast of day and night personalities; the labyrinthine wanderings echoing open office layouts. The video features a pair of industrial park pawns, hanging out on a public park gym, perhaps plotting revenge.
…Just don’t take his stapler.