e-mail interview with Rosey R*E*P*E*A*T
February 2017

"Politically charged and furious...bruising, lacerating."
The Line Of Best Fit

IDLES met as a quintet at the death of the indie scene in Bristol and began making visceral and sometimes unlistenable post-punk to a growing crowd. They began with their own club night Batcave and practicing religiously until they felt they had found their sound and their live show; with that in check they have now completed their first album and are savaged in hunger to play their music. They want to give themselves and their art to the audience in a concise and violent way unrivalled by their peers. They have no qualms in terrifying and entertaining in the same breath. They celebrate their influences in a vitriolic and belligerent sound that is both familiar and new. They are a nose-bleed on the ears and they're here to show you they care.

IDLES have been promising to do great things for some time now, and with their debut album “Brutalism” they absolutely fulfil that promise, and a furious promise at that.

Politically charged, refreshingly confrontational and infectiously volatile, IDLES are a band like no other. Bringing the unsettling reality of the world we live in into their frantic assault on the senses, they are a band that until now could only be truly understood by witnessing in a live environment - but with “Brutalism” it surely feels like they have captured the intensity of that live sound. Bottled up here are the abrasive, memorable lyrics of Joseph Talbot delivered with all of the spite and wry humour he puts across on the stage.

"Wilder than a very wild thing marked wild in the wild shop in the middle of the wild wild wood. An IDLES live show is not quite like anything that you have ever seen or heard. Its got all the ingredients taken from rock n roll's rich history but the synthesis is entirely their own. The wild men of Bristol" - Tom Robinson, BBC6 music.

Given all this, Rosey R*E*P*E*AS*T thought it time to get Brutal with IDLES.

Lucy: Your band have been quite quiet for the last few months. Are you looking forward to playing gigs again?
Katie Jane Garside: I think I give very obtuse ans

IDLES – who, what and why?
-Five manboys, chubby alt-punk post-punk flab, because it's beautiful.

Describe your sound to a deaf alien.
-The sound is of the fist and the heart.

Who are your heroes / heroines – musical, artistic, political...?
-Otis Redding. Tony Benn, Dennis Skinner and Mhairi Black for popularising and translating left wing politics in a commanding and concise manner. I think Frida Kahlo is the epitome of balancing poetic expression and honesty in artistic language, remaining fiercely individual.

I love the fact that your website reads like a manifesto dripping of bile, anger and rebellion. R*E*P*E*A*T (our fanzine, label and promotions muddle) has tried to push the same ethos over many years. Do you think that art has the power to move people to action?
-Yes, in a way, it can be a vehicle for action. It can inspire. I think the audience need to have a capacity to learn, or at least be open to new ideas in order to move to action for art to inspire but yes art is a key in moving forward.

Favourite slogans / quotes?

Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night
by Dylan Thomas

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Does it disappoint you that the angriest, most committed and political popular music is currently not generally guitar based music?
-Not at all. I love all sorts of music. i grew up on hip hop, garage and grime. I loved how the sound of grime became necessary again; that need for urgency and anger and filth came straight back to younger audiences because they were being lied to and grime just felt right. I just want music to help people enjoy life through expression, so whatever works is good for me. People in guitar music got too comfortable and flashy after the indie boom just like hip hop did in 2000. Audiences get pissed off when they're struggling to pay the bills and the people they turn to are laughing in their face with a sponsorship deal and a sloppy album fuelled by cocaine, next thing they're looking for something else relatable.


How important in your growth has the Bristol scene been, one which I think you are heavily involved with?
-I think the Bristol scene has been key to our understanding of how to work in general. Bristol has a very open music scene, that is to say their are few generic boundaries and people are keen to support each other, that lead us to having an attitude of working hard for ourselves and others without competing for some bullshit title that doesn't exist. Basically people just get on with it here. 

I teach some basic guitar to young kids, but I always feel that imagination, ideas and passion are more important than ability, especially than the ability to play dull scales and wanky solos. Any tips as to how I can inspire my guitar students with this belief? What's a good song to learn early on?
-We are very much in line with your philosophy. i think the last thing kids in art class should learn is drawing skills. The first thing they should learn is to feel comfortable with their own voice and that they will be heard when they express themselves. Obviously skill is vital for articulation but the foundations of all arts is communication. If you look at Picasso; he was technically a very skilled drawer but his signature form was very free and expressive. His voice was very astute and true to Picasso, so much so he became the most easily recognised artist in the world, almost a brand. You could see his self-belief throughout his career, even in press photos of him, he stood proud with his eyes cutting straight through you. You can't improve as an artist without self-belief as that gives you the confidence to know that you are worthy of being heard and capable of improving by pushing yourself to a more succinct "you".

When we started out we were all terrible but we had the passion and drive in ourselves and each other to tell each other that we were shit but capable of being better if we practiced three times a week. I wouldn't know where to start with teaching kids music but a song they could learn first is their own song, working together as a group to write something completely original that they made, free of any "skills".

What sort of 'Welcome' would you give Trump?
-I'd welcome him with an open heart and mind. political progression comes from dialogue.

Tell us a bit about what you mean by 'Recession Soul'.

-It was supposed to be a descriptive way of that often overseen comparison between punk music and soul; they, to me, are very similar in feel. They both carry so much human weight in their tone and sentiment that I wanted to channel both with a new moniker that helped bridge the perspective of two genres. Obviously it was more for my wanly ideals but I still love the phrase.

Your lyrics are obviously important to you, but how important do you think artwork is (on records, T shirts, posters, badges) for music with a message? Any favourite inspirational artwork?
-I think it's vital for me, to believe in our own work, to have the artwork and music tell the same story, that's why I do it almost all myself. Having everything come from the same voice and paint the same picture of a manifesto or outlook or theme, makes it so much easier for the audience to believe the work you do. I am inspired by lots of shit all the time. 

Your début album Brutalism is out in March – what did you want to achieve with it when writing and recording it and how far do you think you've achieved this?
-We wanted to achieve an album that we all loved playing and hearing. We wanted it to capture our live sound and feeling as much as possible and I think we achieved that. I can't speak for the other boys on how much they love listening to it but I'm sure they enjoy it. We all certainly fucking love playing it. The last time we played the album in full in the practice room, we all embraced each other: like we needed to exalt this mimes joy over what we've done and it was fucking magic. Our producer Space or Paul Frazer did exactly what he promised and brought the live sound to the album and we're all confident that it was as live as possible without compromising quality; he's a genius, mind!

Who would you say 'Well Done' to, and who deserves a 'Slow Savage'?
-Well Done - Leave voters
-Slow savage - me.

Do you have any interest in the way The Manics have sought to mix music and politics?
-The Holy Bible is amazing. I loved that album cover by Jenny Saville. The Cuba gig was important but other than that I've not given them loads of thought.

You have a massive tour coming up [see dates below] – is playing live an important part of your ethos (as it was for bands such as S*M*A*S*H)?
-It gives me a fucking hard-on playing live. we are a live band first and foremost. We love recording, now but it's the best feeling in the world playing live.

What can the good citizens of Cambridge expect from your show here on March 6th?
- Fuck knows

How can people get hold of your music and why should they bother?
- Our album will be streamed live for a week before it's release 10th March and after that we'll be selling it at gigs and on our website If they've got this far through the interview then I'm sure they should be bothered pressing play online, it's much more interesting than me.

Finally, what's best – chips or cream buns?
- Bucky.

IDLES start a national tour in March, stopping off at The Portland in Cambridge on March 6th. We can only recommend that you go along...
Buy tickets here

Thanks to IDLES for their time and to James Parrish for sorting things out.

wers to questions...It's never about looking forward to it. Actually maybe I should change the
script, maybe we are looeir musicm the 3rd album?