e-mail interview by Rosey R*E*P*E*A*T
September 2018

Marrying lyrical intensity to some stunning musicianship, Idealistics first came to public view via their regular appearances at R*E*P*E*A*T Young Performers Gigs at The Portland Arms and Relevant Records. Their determination to make exciting music with an intelligent message has made them firm favourites at R*E*P*E*A*T Towers. They’ve now progressed to playing ‘adult’ stages, including Strawberry fair, and have gone on to record their debut ep, Grades in Ignorance.

We thought it was about time we asked them to explain themselves.

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

Idealistics – who, what and why?
Ali: Currently we're a duo, but we think we've found our new drummer! We met through our love of Manic Street Preachers and George adores playing guitar and writing songs and I love playing bass and writing lyrics, so there was a clear road to take.

* Describe your sound to a sleepy alien with space dust in her ears.
Ali: Our sound is definitely alternative rock, but I feel that's a very broad term. You can always count on catchy guitar riffs, drilling basslines and thundering drums.
George: And it's got to be exciting, if it doesn't excite us, we don't use it.

* What is the live Idealistics experience like?
Ali: Love it when the crowd are singing along and jumping around if they can, just if they're clearly enjoying themselves, that always makes us have a good time!
George: Playing songs live can also completely change how we feel about them, so we find it really fun. Sometimes a song doesn't properly click with us until we play it on stage.


* Tell us a bit about your ep 'Grades in Ignorance' – its title, writing, recording, tracks, reception etc
Ali: We had so many songs that we were sitting on and we had to sit down and pull out a few that would work on the EP. GNS reflects on cruelty in the Equine industry, Red Biro is all about my experiences at school. Not only did I have bullying from fellow peers but from teachers as well (nothing to do with my current college, I absolutely love the people there as I have very supportive friends and teachers). Bleed For Me A Melody is one we had for ages, it's one of the first songs we put together as a band and it is a triumphant song about getting over some incredible struggles in life. Sunlit Candles was a last minute decision to have on the EP, my beloved horse passed away the week we were due to record and I wrote the lyrics for her about how much she helped me, although the lyrics apply kind of to any of the animals I've cared for and how much they support me. Finally, Glycol is about how destructive humanity is and how we never learn from our mistakes and we still continue to wipe out millions and it's disgusting. Grades in Ignorance is a line from Glycol and it just stuck, we're taught from a young age not just in schools but in media and all sorts, to just turn our backs on the suffering so we pretend it doesn't happen.
George: The writing process was Ali would send over the lyrics and I would read them and it usually suggested a clear direction for the music. I wrote the riff to GNS over the top of horse racing video I found online which helped give it the momentum. Also the chorus is in F Lydian to give it more drive if anyone's interested in that. Red Biro I knew needed to have a darkness in the music, the chorus came first, the time signature was 4/4 originally but I just couldn't come up with a verse that worked so I changed it to 3/4 and a verse riff came that flowed perfectly into the chorus. Ali and I then worked on a bassline that would roll along, harmonising with the guitar. It's also got this harsh, early muse-esk solo, we really like how that came out. Bleed For Me A Melody has so much vulnerability and it builds into something so big and powerful, I think we really captured that one. It started off simple and straightforward and then when we played it as a band it just started to breathe and sing. I also tried to capture the emotional guitar style of David Gilmour and others like him in the end solo. The music for Sunlit Candles was something I came up with ages ago and shelved. When Ali's horse passed away it hit us both, when she sent over the lyrics they were hard to read but I had that old tune in the back of my head and it just leapt forward so I got my acoustic and played it to Ali and I think we both ended up crying, it fitted perfectly. Glycol excited us from the start, it has been changed around a bit since the first demo but it's always had the same lyrics and the same guitar riff on the chorus. When we played it as a full band it hit us like a tonne of bricks (in a good way).

* Who are your heroes, musical, artistic, sporting, political, other?
Ali: Musical heroes are definitely Manic Street Preachers, all three of them are so amazingly talented in what they do. We also have a lot of respect for Suede, they also have their own world they created themselves and that's so impressive. I have heroes that I know personally such as my Grandma who is a concentration camp survivor and she is so courageous and my family are my heroes. As for politics, it's hard to know who is actually doing anything helpful at the moment but people like Nye Bevan and George Orwell for his political literature.
George: Yeah, there are a lot of people who have done huge things for human rights, I think Siân James is wonderful, she's done so many brilliant things for so many people. Also, I wouldn't class him as an hero for a various reasons, but Bowie is definitely a huge influence on me musically and creatively.

* What is the relative importance of technical skill, lyrical relevance and unexpected creativity in the Idealistics manifesto?
Ali: I personally love music I can really relate to, I want people to hear the lyrics and go 'I understand that and someone else does too' and George is just amazing, he writes the music once we have the lyrics so that the music mimics the lyrics in their meaning so it isn't just words sung to a melody, it's a whole piece of art with a meaning. We really strive for that and that's what we enjoy doing most.
George: Creativity is very important, and I don't mean just a mess of noise, it still needs to make me feel something. The thing I always look for in music is hearing someone push themselves technically and creatively, I love hearing something and thinking "I want to do that".

* What would you write in red biro?
Ali: A hole in your path can be leapt or fallen in, but either action uses your legs.

* The Manics, a band who've been established since before you were born, are clearly a big influence on you, can you explain this??
Ali: My older brother is a massive fan of them and used to play them all the time round the house. I was about four years old when I first heard them and they were always in my childhood. As a band the things they've been through, since they were children with the miners strikes, then into having their early band career which threw massive hurdles at them and then into their late career. They show so much, they've got so much lyrically and musically. They're so talented and as people are so inspiring, they've changed lives and that's incredibly powerful.
George: I always knew the singles and knew of them but it wasn't until they released Rewind The Film and I started hearing songs like Anthem For A Lost Cause and being old enough to understand the importance of the lyrics and how James made the music sing so beautifully. From then it developed into obsession.

*There's been a bit effort to get women more fairly represented in rock, but there still seems a long way to go. What do you think?
Ali: There is such a long way to go, I love seeing a lovely little breakthrough of more women in rock, there's The Anchoress, Wolf Alice, The Big Moon, Estrons and many others. But just as in any other part of society there's still so much more that needs to be done and a long way to go.
George: I think it's been a long time coming, it's great to see the bands Ali mentioned do what they do. I also really love Desperate Journalist, Orchards, Honeyblood and Pins along with a load of others, I think they do an amazing job and it’s just a shame they don’t have more exposure.

* You've been eager to pin your colours to the Love Music Hate Racism mast, do you believe that music should have a message?
Ali: I think music is so unbelievably personal, I understand why some people write about what they write about. But because my lyrics come so personally for me from raw emotion it can be happy, sad or angry but often that's why they have a lot of meaning. Politics, welfare rights, mental and physical health, etc. I just have no interest in writing love songs, it's been there done that and it's been bled a bit dry; I think many people have done it often because they don't know what else to write about. I love listening to lyrics with meaning and writing lyrics with meaning, art has always been a great way of making a statement. But that's just my personal opinion.
George: I think music is the perfect platform to get a message across. The thought that billions of people around the world can sing along to the same words, why not make those words count?

* If you could play a festival with 5 other bands (current or not), who would you chose?
Ali: Obviously we'd have to have Manics because that's a dream come true. Suede as well that would be truly amazing. Wolf Alice, Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Pat Benatar. We'd also invite tons of guests on because that would be great fun.
George: I'd say at the moment it would be Manics, Suede, David Bowie would be amazing, Annie Lennox and Rush.

* What next for Idealistics?
Ali: We're really hoping to get back on the live music scene, due to my health and having no drummer we were pushed back but we are definitely coming back to that and an album is on the horizon. We're working to release a charity single in aid of Ehlers Danlos UK Charity so that'll be coming soon which is really exciting.
George: We definitely have enough songs for an album or two already, plus we're writing new songs constantly so there's going to be a fire burning in us for a long time!

* How can our readers hear your music? Why should they bother?
Ali: Come to live gigs when we play, contact us as we still have physical copies of the EP and online (Order from the R*E*P*E*A*T Bandcamp here - Ed). Why bother? Well because we're fresh and new and have so much to say and give, we want to be the music you listen to and can laugh and cry to.

* What's best, chips or cream buns?
Ali: Chips, all the way. Especially cheesy chips.
George: Chips with lots of salt and vinegar.

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?