Backstage at Reading, Joe and Mark chat about their next album.
"Why have they banned pineapples?" frontman Joe Talbot questions. "Do they not like Glass Animals?" guitarist Mark Bowen asks. "Who would bring a pineapple to a festival anyway?" Following the release of debut album ‘Brutalism' earlier this year, IDLES have become recognised as ferociously hot property. Performing at Reading & Leeds Festival, they're tearing up the rule book and making their own.
"Ban mobile phones, because they're not fucking necessary," Joe proclaims. "I'd ban umbrellas." "That's happened a few times, hasn't it?" Mark laughs. "Actually, yeah," Joe responds. "I threw an umbrella at Rich from BBC Introducing once." Listing bottles of piss, Tories, and knives among the other things they'd ban (shouldn't the latter be expected? "Not at our gigs," Joe grins. "Bring your knives – kitchen knife party"), IDLES are a law unto themselves.
Their performance at Reading & Leeds brings them towards the end of a summer that has seen them perform all across Europe. "We've had a good run," Joe enthuses. "We've been working in the weeks in between the weekend gigs. It's been full on, but completely worth it. Fucking magic." While performing in places distant and new has certainly been special, the band are quick to state the importance this festival holds for them.
"It's my boyhood dream," Joe expresses. "I've been eight times in a row, till I was 24. It's actually really fucking significant for me." "I can't achieve my boyhood dream," Mark counters. "I wanted to be a tiger." Despite the statistical improbability, IDLES aren't ones to say never. "Science is coming on leaps and bounds," Mark states. "Who knows what'll happen in the future?" "There's also magic, Bowen," Joe adds. "Don't forget magic."
Magic is something IDLES seem to possess in droves, and never more so when they're tearing it up on stage in front of an audience – no one would argue that this is a group who have truly found their element. "It's like a gift, being able to do what you do and get paid and people watch," Joe marvels. "It's a fucking magic thing."
"That's what gives you the energy, the actual event," he continues. "It's what we do it for. It's why we've been working for seven/eight years to get here. It's never going to get old, till we get old." So we can't expect the group to still be rocking out through into their 70s? "No," Joe scoffs. "I'll be dead."
They may draw a firm line at that, but IDLES' trajectory is only just beginning. The band have announced a special show at London's Village Underground on the 23rd November, with support coming from Hull punks LIFE and Savages side project Kite Base. "That'll be good," Joe enthuses, before adding "it's a lot of tickets we've got to sell, which is a bit worrying."
No one who's encountered IDLES would doubt their capability. Since the release of ‘Brutalism', the Bristol punks have been catapulted into a whirlwind of admiration. It might have been unexpected, but it's something the outfit command like no other. "We kind of wrote the album for ourselves," Joe reflects. "We thought it'd just disappear into the either."
With a huge headline show ahead of them, along with tour dates across Germany and France, and an as-of-yet unannounced support slot the band can't wait to talk about, IDLES are showing no signs of slowing down. "I'm over the moon that we did it," Joe exclaims of the record. "It's changed our lives, if not just for a couple of years. It's fucking bliss."
The story certainly isn't ending there. Work on the follow up to ‘Brutalism' has already begun. "It's going well," Joe enthuses. "We've got about 16/18 tracks. We're going to whittle it down – most of them are shite." All going to plan, album two should be expected next year. "We're going to record in January," Joe reveals. "We've got a month of pre-production and writing in September, working with our space producer Paul Frazer, just getting it all neat and tidy," he describes. "Then we'll un-neat and tidy it."
"We've realised that with albums comes opportunity, and things to write about, and talk about, and tour, and get gigs from," the frontman continues. "We're just going to crack on and do what we do best, which is argue in a small practice room."