Emerging Artists #39 – Idles
July 24, 2012 by Chris Cummins
Bristol five-piece Idles first came to our attention with their brooding track ‘26/27’, which was accompanied by an equally dramatic video. The post-punk gloom of ’26/27′ immediately draws comparisons with Interpol – throughout, deep vocals and angular guitars play out over crisp, pounding beats – and the rest of their debut EP ‘Welcome’ continues in the same vein, but with a chaotic immediacy that more than sets them apart…
How did you get together, where you from and why did you decide to make music together?
Dev and I (Joe) are from Exeter and know each other from way back, we started the band together as a two piece in Dev’s bedroom just playing bass and me screaming. We expanded and batted around with a few members until i met Bowen at a friends club night and we’ve been best mates ever since and as soon as he started playing guitar for the band he fitted, he’s from Belfast. Jon was our third drummer who we met through a friend and he made us ten times better, so we were delighted when we met him, he’s from Bristol. Andy we met at uni and was always someone we wanted in the band but he went to Australia for a year but when he got back he decided he could tear himself away from his awesome life doing fuck all to join the band, I don’t know where he’s from.
I decided to make music because it has always been a dream of mine but i put that dream in the same category as wanting to play in the NBA all my life, i assumed the two were intangible. But I started DJing at uni and realised how good it feels to play music out so I thought i’d try my own. I knew that no band would take me on as I couldn’t sing at all. So I Carpe Diemed that shit.
What’s behind the band’s sound and how did you come to it?
We didn’t force a sound but we all have differing tastes in music so I think it’s just come from us trying to balance out the clash of tastes. I listened to Hip Hop and Soul most of my life until my Dad introduced me to Astral Weeks and then the Strokes happened. Bowen was a techno DJ but loves grunge, Jeff Buckley and stuff. Dev loves Mogwai and The Manchester scene, Joy Division etc. Jon loves drums and Andy loves football. We all have similar yet eclectic tastes.
What equipment are you using for recording, and is there any particular reason behind the choice?
We’ve never really been a record at home band, we spend enough of our free time rehearsing and gigging as it is. Once we get together enough songs that we are happy with live and feel are ready we’ll get some studio time for demos etc. The E.P. was recorded at State of Art Studios – Geoff Barrow’s gaff. It’s got a monster desk and some interesting “vintage” equipment. The last set of recordings we had done, we recorded each instrument separately, it felt soulless. This time we all played together in the same room, using all of the equipment that we use live, vocal and guitar overdubs were added later. Once we had the bulk of the songs done, we added in some Rhodes to bulk out the bass sound and then some loops of guitar feedback and delay over the top. If I (Bowen) had my way we would have had a lot more of that weird stuff, but I suppose we’d be a very different sounding band. We like to keep it to guitars and drums as much as possible, mimicking our live sound.
Where was the band’s first show and what was it like?
Our first show was at our local pub that Dev and Andy co-manage together, The Golden Lion. It was amazing. We had a different drummer then also called Jon who used drum for Cooper Temple Clause and left us for CSS. He pushed us to play live which was the best thing to do because we realised how much we needed to improve. I was sick before getting on stage as i’d never been so nervous in my life, but our friends made it great.
What’s been your favourite gig you’ve played?
My favourite gig so far has been our slot at Dot to Dot three years ago as it was the first time I realised we were a good band and how much potential we had. The crowd were fantastic, and we got our first write-up which said we were ‘Genius!’. A tad of an exaggeration but it was magic. Plus, Andy wasn’t in the band so we had more room on stage.
What can people expect when they come to your live shows?
A visceral, energetic, hard and tight show. Five best mates having fun.
Do you have any confirmed plans for an album yet and if so what can we expect?
We will do an album but we’re gonna do another E.P. first.
If you could get one band to reform who would it be?
A lot of bands I like have reformed so that’s hard… Jakobinarina, The Smiths or Kings Of Leon could reform with their old producer/writer and stop playing U2 Christmas carols. Funnily enough our E.P. ‘Welcome’ was going to be called ‘Where is Tom Vek?’ and then he came out of the wood work.
What’s up next for the band?
We’re gonna play as much as possible and get another E.P. out before December time.