Luke, the members of Fool's Gold have various backgrounds, but I think I can say the common denominator is that you're all from the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles. What can you tell us about that area?
Luke Top (vocals):
"Lewis (Pesacov, red.), the guitarist in the band, Amir (Kenan, red.), the keyboard player, and I all grew up in San Fernando Valley. If you've ever seen the movie "Boogie Nights" (Paul Thomas Anderson, 1997, red.), you will already have an idea of the place as it was pretty much set in the valley and the same goes for "The Karate Kid" (John G. Avildsen, 1984, red.).The San Fernando Valley is technically a suburb of L.A., but it's so vast that it has almost become a city in itself. Music-wise it's a great place to grow up, as there are quite a few great outlets for live music in the valley."

Most of the musicians in the band used to be involved in rock- and punk-oriented projects. Where did the idea come from to start blending your music with these more exotic elements?
Luke Top:
"It's really been kind of a maturing process. I guess it takes age and experience to gain the confidence to try something that is at first sight a bit out of reach. I have to add though, that once we started experimenting with these influences, it immediately felt very natural and now it's even become the base from where we want to grow even further. Fool's Gold is also the sum of all our combined musical experiences. If you listen really attentively, I think you can even hear that in the music Fool's Gold plays. Fool's Gold is like this great hybrid palace where everything is possible and nothing seems too crazy."

Often enough your music will probably be labelled "world music". Is that a label that you'd rather avoid?
Luke Top:
"Well, if people feel the need to label our music to be able to digest it better, then that's fine for me, but as a genre I think "world music" is overly broad. I guess the technical definition of "world music" is "all music that is non-western", but that is a massive amount of music that isn't necessarily linked." 

How popular is the world music genre in the States?
Luke Top:
"I've got absolutely no idea. If you look at the charts you probably wouldn't find it in there. I think in general, it's still pretty difficult to introduce a non-western act in the States. There's a growing curiosity and an acceptance of things that are different going on in the States right now, though, and because these days the internet has become this huge source of information, it's quite easy to satisfy that curiosity. Fool's Gold is a perfect example of that, because we found an insane amount of music on the net that we would never have found otherwise."

Choosing to sing a lot of the songs in Hebrew, you've added some extra exoticism to the mix. Where did that choice come from?
Luke Top:
"Well, I was born in Israel, but my family moved to the US when I was only three years old. Growing up, I never really felt tethered to Israeli culture... or American culture for that matter. I kind of felt stuck in between cultures, assimilating elements from both. One example is that I changed my name to Luke; my Hebrew name is Nativ. It's been a journey for me trying to figure out where I stand in the world and somehow when we started playing this music with Fool's Gold, which in the beginning was much more of a collective of people jamming together than a band, the Hebrew lyrics just kind of clicked. It wasn't so much a conscious choice and, to this day, I'm still trying to figure out what this thing is that happens when I start singing in Hebrew, because it's really almost magical and it has also changed the way I sing in general, melody-wise and so on."

Has the fact that you sing in Hebrew attracted extra attention from the Jewish or Israeli community?
Luke Top:
"I was kind of expecting that, but the opposite happened really. The visceral experience that you get from listening to our music strips away much of the possibly political or religious connotations and to me that's brilliant, because that's the angle in which I approach the language as well. There is some interest, but little more than an interview for an Israeli website and some gigs at a couple of Jewish events, though."

Fool's gold (pyrite, red.) is a metal that resembles gold often fooling gold diggers into thinking they hit the mother load. Is that also what you were thinking of when you chose it as name for the band, being that as a listener you might not be getting what you were expecting?
Luke Top:
"That's a really great observation. When the band just got started about four years ago, things were still very playful and it was really nothing more than an outlet for my friends and I. The name was chosen in that same playful vibe. It was mostly about not taking ourselves too seriously and in the end I think it just works as a band name."

Will this debut album be the blueprint that defines Fool's Gold's style or could the next album sound completely different again?
Luke Top: "Well this record is really nothing more than the sum of the songs we already had when we started recording. We didn't necessarily set out to record an album, but it has built our confidence and being on tour, we play together so much that the process for the next album will surely be different. The spirit will still be the same though and you'll definitely be able to recognise it as a Fool's Gold album; it's still going to be tropical and danceable!"

The album is packed with African references from all sides of the continent. Would you enjoy performing your music in front of an actual African public?
Luke Top:
"That would be amazing, yes. One of our goals is to go to Africa and the Festival Au Desert is one of our dream gigs. We played with Tinariwen just recently; we did two shows together in New York. We connected with them in a really organic way and even shared the stage. Topics like religion or politics didn't come into it; it was just a beautiful moment of musical exchange, and the more of that we can do the better!"