Forming it 2009, it took IDLES almost 8 years to release their debut album, ‘Brutalism’, yet its taken just over a year to release it’s follow up ‘Joy As An Act of Resistance’ a part conceptual collection of track written about a state of mind and a way of living. Damian Robinson caught up with IDLES frontman Joe Talbot to find out more.
Hi Joe, where are you?
I’m in Bristol at the moment, about to get a pink tiger tattooed across my back. The first time I ever saw a tattoo I was six, and it was a tiger, so I always said I’d get a similar one. I wanted to put the joy as an act of resistance concept into being by doing all of the things I shouldn’t. I’m growing my hair at the minute and getting a pink tattoo.
Wow, so you’re taking the album’s concept into all parts of your life?
In a way I am, but in another way I’m not. The concept came before the record. As a band we wanted to improve our lives first, before the music. Personally that’s seen me give up alcohol, start counselling and improve my relationships with people I love.
So will the ‘joy’ project be more than just music and branch into other forms of art?
We have videos and art which are being used with the album yes. But mostly the important part of ‘joy’ is to talk about our self-improvement and encourage other people to be vulnerable and honest. The more we do that ourselves, the more others might see the benefits.
When I listened to the record, and thought about it’s concept, it seemed close to Talking Heads or Ian Dury’s ‘Reasons to be cheerful’
Thanks, that’s great references. Personally I took inspiration from lots of places including Grayson Perry’s book ‘Descent of man’ which is a simplistic, and yet heavy, approach to some of the challenges of masculinity. From a musical standpoint we didn’t really take inspiration from anything too obvious, we just kept writing music after ‘Brutalism’, found our voice, and wanted to keep on writing and recording in whichever style we felt we wanted to. This is a period of evolution for us and we feel we can do what we want unapologetically. Life’s too short not to be honest, which also means we shouldn’t hide our love of guilty pleasures.
Is that why there’s a few references to Dirty Dancing on the album?
Ha, there are yes. I studied film at college and you’re always encouraged to denaturalise and deconstruct films that inspire you. I used to enjoy that but I always loved Dirty Dancing because of the memories I associated to it.
‘Joy As An Act Of Rebellion’ is out August 31st. Idles play Newcastle Riverside in October.