INTERVIEW: Idles | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image by Lindsay Melbourne

Idles are a band in high demand at the moment. The Bristolian punks’ latest record, Joy As An Act Of Resistance, is a blast of threateningly urgent guitar music – an expertly crafted ‘LOVE YOU’ to a growing sense of hate in the world. From the Swans-like intensity of opener Colossus to the darkened emotional trauma of June, frontman Joe Talbot’s lyrics tackle issues of grief, toxic masculinity, classism, immigration and loneliness with deadpan wit and understanding. I asked the man himself about the album and its inspiration…

Brutalism was such a strong debut; did you suffer the dreaded second album syndrome when making Joy As An Act Of Resistance?
In some ways yes, we wanted to sustain a sense of gratification after the first and it wasn’t until we realised, about a year into writing the second album, that we weren’t happy writing and the songs didn’t feel right, that we scrapped all the new songs and started again with the purpose of writing music that we loved and not what others might.

What inspired the new record?
The inspiration came from our lives and my slow decline that then stopped as I started counselling and improved the cycles in which I was living. Joy As An Act Of Resistance is what we are trying to get across with love and compassion.

How do you think you’ve evolved as a band over time? 
We have evolved as people who function better on self-respect and gratitude to the people who have helped get us here.

The single Samaritans tackles toxic masculinity, how important do you think it is for men to be comfortable with their emotions?
It’s vital that people listen to themselves more and somehow express themselves and feel safe, to feel human and a part something of purpose.

Your music is littered with sharp political references and a genuine concern for the world, do you think too few bands are tackling these issues? 
No, there are plenty; they just aren’t being heard.

Do you think it’s still possible to make real change through music, what would you like to change most?
Yes. My own patterns of behaviour for a better society

You’re about to embark on a world tour, how does it feel to have come so far? 

Idles play Riverside, Newcastle on Tuesday 23rd October.

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