Interview No More Heroes: IDLES
Battling trauma and forging communities through championing vulnerability and exposing their imperfections, IDLES and their frontman Joe Talbot are offering an outstretched hand.
Joe Talbot is a changed man. It’d be reasonable to raise an eyebrow as the IDLES frontman taps a nicotine lozenge out of a plastic container while staring longingly at the description of a tomato salad on the specials board of a plush Bristol cafe. He explains that he can’t eat yet today; he’s currently experimenting with fasting to help practice mindfulness and wants to be on top form for a gig in Switzerland, where the band take to the stage at the eye-watering hour of 1am the next morning.
If IDLES are about anything, though, it’s challenging preconceptions. As the five-piece - completed by guitarists Mark Bowen and Lee Kiernan, bassist Adam Devonshire and drummer Jon Beavis - made a rapid, and not to mention long overdue, breakthrough last year, with debut ‘Brutalism’ the sleeper hit of 2017 - half a decade into their tenure as a group - it became apparent almost immediately that they weren’t your average rock band, and Joe far from your average cocksure frontman.
“People see us as these burly blokes on stage spitting and swearing,” he begins. “But I think when they see the interactions [between] us on stage, and our interaction with the audience, they understand that there’s also a vulnerability there, and it’s not all machismo - there’s a lot more to it.”
Spend five minutes in the singer’s company, or see five minutes of their live show, and such rejection of traditional masculine tropes becomes abundantly clear: IDLES are a band intent on changing the narrative of masculinity in rock, and showing how vulnerability can be used as a tool of power.
As featured in the August 2018 issue of DIY, out now.