IDLES feature | ‘Crawler’ interview | Alternative Press – Alternative Press

IDLES feature | ‘Crawler’ interview | Alternative Press – Alternative Press

[Photo by Tom Ham]

In a world where bigotry has grown and isolation from digital screens amplified, IDLES strive to show love and empathy in the most in-your-face way possible. Fresh off their recent release, Crawler, the English quintet have released a music video for “When The Lights Come On.” The visual was co-directed by vocalist Joe Talbot and guitarist Mark Bowen and follows the release of “The Beachland Ballroom” and “Car Crash.” In honor of the release, here’s our story with the band from issue 400.

Two hours prior to the start of his shift, Joe Talbot takes in the calm before the storm. Kicking back, almost horizontal, in the compact backstage area of The Orange Peel, a theater-sized venue in the small inland city of Asheville, North Carolina, the 37-year-old’s naturally taut demeanor offers only the smallest clue as to the promise held by the evening ahead.

As part of their 19-song set, tonight the English, Irish and Welsh quintet IDLES will play “1049 Gotho,” from their debut album, 2017’s Brutalism, to an audience of more than a thousand people. Talbot will sing its lyric — “My friend is so depressed/He wishes he was dead” — with an intensity that often brings him to tears.

The pile-driving energy of it all could power the Tar Heel State, or else it might hurt you. Either way, this is not a drill.

“My job is actually very easy,” the frontman says. “It’s all about what I can see in front of me. I just want to rip out everyone’s fucking throats and spit love down their neck. I’m just like a pig in shit. I don’t think; I just feel, and it’s the best feeling in the world. It’s pure magic.” 

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Bespectacled and tattooed, Talbot is given to emphatic language. “People who knew me from 20 years ago will stand in front of a fucking bus for the fact that I’ve always shown a lot of love,” he says, as if standing in front of a bus is a universally recognized means of verifying truth. In the earlier parts of our interview, the singer looks like he might be two handfuls of trouble.

Expressing regret at “wasting time” writing the odd impersonal song — “I don’t like singing them, and I won’t sing them, so that’s that,” he says — he speaks of his delight at the “narrative-driven” themes of IDLES’ new record, Crawler. Asked to nominate a thematic example, he says, “Right, have you heard the album?”

Yes, of course.

“What, the whole album?”


“No,” he says. “I mean, the whole album is the example.”

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Forty-five minutes later, the lasting impression is of a man …….


Stop drinking