Bristol post-punk quintet IDLES hit the road this week for their first proper headline tour! We caught up with the band to chat about their debut album, their live shows, and more...
HI GUYS! GIVE US A BIT OF BACKGROUND ON IDLES.
"We had a bunch of chance encounters surrounding the mess and love of the Bristol scene. Bowen, Dev and I were all DJing in the city and thought better of it. We then tried our best at writing songs for three years and failed. After the long haul and working like dogs, practicing three/four times a week, we've finally found what we are good at and more importantly; what we love."
YOUR SOUND HAS EVOLVED A FAIR BIT SINCE YOUR CONCEPTION – WHAT’S HELPED SHAPED YOUR MUSIC OVER THE YEARS? ARE YOU CONFIDENT YOU’VE NOW FOUND YOUR SOUND?
"I'm confident we've found our sound for now, yes. I think it would be short sighted to think that this is it. We will, hopefully, evolve like all good artists do. Our sound at the start of our "career" was clawed from necessity to want to write songs, over time we developed our own language. The thing about learning your instruments and each other is that you find yourselves leaning on other artists as inspiration but they can become crutches. What happened was our proficiency grew and with that confidence to be ourselves. We now find that our music is more nature than second nature, which is a beautiful thing."
YOUR MUSIC DEALS WITH AN ARRAY OF POLITICAL AND SOCIAL ISSUES. LYRICALLY, WHAT THEMES DOES YOUR UPCOMING DEBUT ALBUM ‘BRUTALISM’ FEATURE ON?
"The album was based on loss; both in losing people and losing one's self. I will always be political and as such my personal stories manifest in the political on occasion. Heel/Heal is about blind consumerism. Mother is about the true and misguided roles that the women in my life seemingly played. White Privilege is about my first year of uni and addiction. Divide and Conquer is about the demise of our beloved NHS. Well Done is about privileged lethargy and ignorance towards the downtrodden classes. Slow Savage is about the come-down at the start of a break-up. They're all vignettes that are personal that I have tried to turn into allegorical abstract expression of the bigger picture. F*** knows if it works or why but I will not sit around and try to find out."
DO YOU THINK ENOUGH BANDS AT THE MOMENT HAVE A SOCIAL CONSCIENCE?
"Yes they do but most bands won't get the same amazing gift that we haven't been given. Political consciousness is not a desirable product to sell, maybe sadly, maybe rightfully."
YOU’RE JUST ABOUT TO HEAD OUT ON YOUR FIRST HEADLINE TOUR TO COINCIDE WITH THE ALBUM RELEASE. WHAT CAN PEOPLE EXPECT FROM YOUR LIVE SHOWS?
"Five very enthusiastic boys who love playing their music, hate each other and phlegm."
THE TOUR IS A HUGE RUN – 24 DATES IN TOTAL! HOW HAVE YOU PREPARED YOURSELVES FOR THE MARATHON?
"We've been working 65 hour weeks in order to pay rent for the absent month of work. We're laying off the booze and we've been drilling the set. We've also stayed the f*** away from each other A LOT."
YOU’VE ALREADY SOLD OUT 4 OF THE DATES (INCLUDING LONDON) BEFORE THE ALBUM’S EVEN OUT. WHY DO YOU THINK YOUR MUSIC IS CONNECTING WITH PEOPLE SO STRONGLY BEFORE THEY’VE HEARD EVERYTHING YOU HAVE TO OFFER?
"We are easy to believe in. We haven't been thrusted at audiences telling punters, "IDLES ARE THE BEST BAND EVER", we've just played the long game and we've learnt how to be ourselves on a platform, people need honesty in a sea of bulls***, no?"
AS WELL AS YOUR OWN HEADLINE TOUR, YOU’RE ALSO SUPPORTING THE MACCABEES ON THEIR LONDON FAREWELL SHOWS. ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO THIS? ARE YOU A FAN OF THEIR MUSIC?
"I'm a huge fan of their music. They kickstarted my passion for guitar music. All my nightmares of f***ing up on stage as a band have looked like the Alexandra Palace stage, like serious cold sweat nightmare s***. We're ready though, fear is good, there's not progress in comfort."
FINALLY, WHAT OTHER ACTS ARE EXCITING YOU AT THE MOMENT, BOTH ON RECORD AND IN THE LIVE SPHERE?
"John, Scarlet Rascal, Lice, Spectres, Cabbage, Milo's Planes, Plattenbau, Less Win, The Naturals, Giant Swan, Crows and Sex Swing."