IDLES – The Bristol punk band for the age of social collapse and Kanye West

'Our aim isn't to start a revolution, but we talk about politics in the pub, so it'd be weird if we didn't sing about it' - Idles lead singer Joe Talbot

Despite being a punk band, Idles are a mess of competing influences. They cite jazz, The National and minimal techno as inspiration while Talbot grew up on a diet of hip hop, garage, jungle and R&B. In fact, you can draw a direct line between Kanye West and ‘Brutalism’. “‘Yeezus’ really helped us come out of our shell,” enthuses Talbot. “That idea of bravery and restriction really inspired us.

“The fact that Rick Rubin gave him two weeks to write lyrics and he came up with all this abrupt and brash sounding music is so cool.”

“What did Kanye call Rick Rubin?” adds Bowen excitedly.

“He said he wasn’t a producer; he was the reducer. He basically took all this work Kanye had done with loads of different producers and went, ‘keep that bit, ditch that bit.’ He took Daft Punk and Evian Christ and boiled it down. A lot of ‘Yeezus’ is like that – Kanye really took a risk on it.”

With the dregs left of my pint, I ask Idles about how they’re dealing with all their growing attention. Talbot just shrugs. “We’ve stuck to being ourselves; you can’t force it. All you have to do is stick to your guns and one day Theresa May will become Prime Minister. Then everyone will be looking at you.”

“So have we been lucky that everything has turned to shit?” says Bowen. A sly grin spreads over his face, perhaps sensing an avenue for a bit of friendly piss-taking.“Yeah!” exclaims Talbot, hardly missing a beat, “what else would we be talking about if things hadn’t turned to shit? It would be whack; I’d be singing about trainers.” - Words by  Dominic Haley 

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