On Their Past, Present & Future…
February 2009
Questionnaire & Photography: Steve Bateman

In September 2008, Idlewild announced plans to play a 5 night residency at Glasgow’s King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut that December, featuring an album a night plus b-sides (soon to be repeated with 3 special shows at London Dingwalls in May 2009), with Roddy elaborating, "We’re going to try to play every track we’ve ever written – which has to be more than 100 songs!" The running order was to be as follows:

Wed 17th – Hope Is Important & Others
Thurs 18th – 100 Broken Windows
Fri 19th – The Remote Part
Sat 20th – Warnings/Promises & Acoustic set
Sun 21st – Captain & Make Another World

With only 250 tickets per night priced at £15, or the possibility to buy one of 50 golden tickets for all 5 nights for £50, Christmas came early for loyal fans who jumped at the chance! But that wasn’t the only exciting news, as in late November, Idlewild then issued this statement about the band’s future and their sixth full-length LP:

“Idlewild are pleased to announce plans for our forthcoming new studio album, with an opportunity for our fans to be involved from an early stage. We will be in the studio for the first few months of 2009 and plan a conventional album release in the summer, but for a limited time, we would like to offer our fans a chance to be involved from the beginning by pre-ordering directly from us a Special Edition album along with plenty of extras. This offer is available worldwide, so that finally our fans overseas will have the chance to hear our music at the same time as everyone in the UK and before any general release.”

“Why are we doing this? After 11 years of recording and releasing records within the constraints of the record industry, we now feel that the time is right and the technology exists for us to deal more quickly and directly with you, without the need for a traditional record company. It also allows us total control of our music and will ultimately mean that should you choose to get involved, you will hear our music as soon as it is available. Although the album will have a more conventional release some time later in 2009, we hope you will support us in our efforts to try something new and choose to pre-order the album now.”

If you would like further information as well as the opportunity to purchase the record, please visit But in the meantime, Rod has obligingly answered a R*E*P*E*A*T Q&A, in which he reflects on Idlewild’s past, present and future, plus much more! And as a genuine group, who write songs with a lasting greatness that are something to behold, who love their fans unconditionally and who have long been advocates of the ‘Support Your Local Poet’ slogan. It seems only fair that in return, we should now be supporting one of our favourite bands in undertaking such an admirable endeavour…

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

1.Firstly, what are your memories of Idlewild’s 5 night album residency @ Glasgow King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut in December 2008 – the build-up / preparation and the actual gigs themselves – and does performing live now, feel different to when you first started?
“King Tut’s was a lot of fun on the whole, although also a lot of pressure trying to remember all those songs and record them live. I really enjoyed seeing the difference in ourselves as we moved from the early thrashier albums, to the more considered songs on our later records. Playing live nowadays, is different in a few ways, but predominantly in the fact that a lot more goes into trying to do the songs justice, whereas when we started, it was more based on just making as much noise as possible.”

2.What have been some of your personal highlights / defining moments throughout your career so far?
“There have been a lot, as we have had the good fortune to play all over the world for 12 years now and record in some great studios. I suppose the first time we played the main stage at T In The Park, our first sell-out New York show and recording in Los Angeles in the historic Sunset Sound Studios, have been some of the notable highlights.”

3.And during this time, what has the devotion of your fans meant to you?
“A tremendous amount. Without our devoted fans, we could not make a living playing music for all this time. The great thing about having a fanbase like ours, is that we can keep developing and get better at playing over time. They allow us the luxury to keep moving forward. Also, there is a lot to be said for the feeling you get from watching people respond to the songs you have written over the years in such a positive way. It means a lot to us.”

4.Have you been pleased with the response to pre-order your new, as-of-yet unrecorded album, and can you give us an update on the direction of the songs – musical direction, titles etc.?
“The reaction has been great, especially considering nobody has heard a note of the music. The album is written and ready to record, and we go into the studio on Valentine’s Day and should be finished by the end of March. It has definitely got a good-time feel to it and speaking for myself, the songs are really enjoyable to play. Definitely quite an upbeat record musically.”

5.As an established band, you’ve now obviously made the decision to operate independently, but do you think it’s a worrying trend, that record labels don’t tend to nurture young bands nearly as much as they used to?

“Certainly. It is a lot harder for a new band to build a fanbase and tour extensively without a label backing them, and it puts a lot more pressure on the few bands with support to have success quickly, without being given time to develop. We really need to try and find a way for bands to fund themselves, so they can become working musicians and hone their craft.”

6.If you had to go shopping for someone and buy 4 LPs, 1 from the past, 1 from the present, 1 personal favourite and 1 Idlewild album – what would they be and why?

Past – Déjà Vu: Crosby, Stills & Nash
Present – Consolers Of The Lonely: The Raconteurs
Personal Favourite – The River: Bruce Springsteen
Idlewild – The new one as-yet-untitled

7.Are there any artists / bands who you’d love to see release a comprehensive Box Set filled with albums, rarities, live gig recordings, bootlegs, archive footage etc.?

“I’d love a comprehensive history of Bruce Springsteen. I think he has consistently made great music over his long and continuing career.”

8.If you could ask a musical hero anything, who would it be and what would you ask them?
“I would probably ask if I could jam with The E Street Band.”

9.Jarvis Cocker recently gave a lecture on ‘The Art Of Lyric Writing’ at Manchester’s In The City Conference, where he stated: “Most of the great riffs, chord sequences and bass-lines have already been written, but lyrics can breathe fresh life into rock music.” What are your feelings on this, and over the years, which songs have most moved you?

“I think that just by the nature of words and the way they sound, lyrics can give so many different flavours to a piece of music even before you consider their meaning. The phonetics and rhythm of words sometimes have as big an effect as their actual meaning.”

10.If you had to award one artist or band with an Ivor Novello, who would it be?

“I’d probably say a posthumous Ivor Novello to John Martyn. A truly gifted player, singer and songwriter.”

11.Do you have a favourite place where you write and are your songs evocative of the time in which they were created?
“I / we write in so many different places that there isn’t really a favourite, but obviously your surroundings and what goes on around you has a huge influence on what you write, as it shapes you as a person.”

12.Which producers do you feel have best ‘captured’ Idlewild on tape?

“Definitely Dave Eringa. We have had such a long and happy relationship with him and he has always brought the best out of us. There have been some great and inspirational moments working with people like Lenny Kaye, but I feel that Dave really understands us as a band now.”

13.Each week, The Culture Show has a busking challenge, whereby musicians and bands have to play a selection of their songs to passers by, to see how much money they can make. But if you had to play some Idlewild tracks and a cover version, what would they be?
“I guess if the idea is to make money, then the popular ones… American English and World In Your Arms, followed by something traditional in the busking world, like Blowin’ In The Wind or Leaving On A Jet Plane.”

14.Having been in The Music Industry for several years, career-wise, what would now give you the most satisfaction?
“I think the thing I find the most frustrating, is the rapid demise of the album with this song by song download culture we have, which I think is making people care less about music. The most satisfying thing, would be to see people en-mass start to appreciate music more again and take time with albums and bands.”

15.Lastly, chips or cream buns?

“Cream buns.”

A very special thanks to Rod for all of his time and help.

“Hope Is Important”

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?