Interview: Idlewild

Interview: Paul Klotschkow
Monday 25 April 2005
reading time: min, words

"There are ideas that each of us bring in. No-one really sits down and says this is what we've got"

When I step into the sauna-like room underneath the stage at Rock City, I’m greeted by a seemingly stoned Rod (Idlewild’s guitarist).

We get talking about what the band did on their night off from the tour last night, and it transpires that whilst the rest of the band headed off for a night out on the lash at Rock City, Rod stayed in the haven of his hotel room, saying that he was not brave enough to step out into the well-documented mean streets of Nottingham. Rod leaves the room, only to keep popping in and out at various intervals, whilst I sit down for a chat with ‘new’ guitarist Allan (above right), who confusingly is English…

So how is the tour going?
Well, it’s been going quite well, really consistent. We’ve been changing the set lists around a lot, which is something we never really did in the past. I’m just happy to be playing live again.

What was the reason behind doing the acoustic tour?
We just wanted to present the songs a different way before the album came out, and then do it properly after the album came out. It worked out better because people go to hear and take in the songs before the album came out. The acoustic thing worked out after a couple of shows we did in Los Angeles where we just thought we would work out the songs differently. The acoustic stuff is a bit like Woodie Gutherie,

Will you be doing anymore acoustic shows in the summer?
Yeah a couple, something like five or six.

Will you be playing Glastonbury?
Erm, yes.

In the acoustic tent?
I think that there was talk about doing two gigs in the day, a rock set and an acoustic set. I would really like it if we did that. I don’t think that I would want to go to Glastonbury just to play an acoustic gig, I would want do a rock show as well.

Will you be there for the whole weekend?
Hopefully yeah, because it’s the last one for a year, isn’t it?

Yes it is, think that they are going to let the cows graze for a bit…
Yeah. Yeah it will be good. Watch, who is it? Kylie. Who else is playing?

New Order, Coldplay.
I don’t mind some New Order, it’s just his voice.

No, he’s not a singer, is he?
No, he’s not.

What was South By South West Like?
It was really good, we did it a couple of years ago as well. It’s always good to go there. We were only there for a day though. We did the show then just drove back.

So you didn’t get to see anyone?
No, our hotel was miles away from the centre.

You are coming back to Nottingham in the summer when you support REM. Are you looking forward to those dates?
Yeah, definitely, it should be good. We’ve done some arena tours with Coldplay, Pearl Jam, so we are used to the big arena’s. We are looking forward to playing outside as well. Well, unless it is raining. But it’s always good to play to a lot of people outdoors. But yeah, it should be good with REM.

Do you have a favourite REM album?
The best of REM! Erm, I don’t know, it’s probably Automatic for the People (cue round of applause from Rod who is standing behind us). I used to listen to that non-stop when I was younger when it came out.

How does the songwriting work in the band? Does it start from someone coming up with an idea and showing it to the rest of the band?
Yeah, kind of. No-one really sits down and says ‘this is what we’ve got’. There are ideas that each of us bring in, and then someone else might have the idea of structuring a song out of one of them. A lot of it is written acoustically just because it is easier for Roddy to get melodies out of it. Then it just builds up, and it either happens quickly or it can take weeks, demo-ing it in different ways.

Did going to America change the way you approach recording?
We just wanted to get away from Britain, because the producer we worked with did some tracks that worked, but it sounded a bit too polished, we wanted it a bit rawer. So we just thought that we would get away from this producer. Tony Hopper really liked our stuff, so we thought going out to America was the best idea, and we locked ourselves away anf focus on it for eight weeks,

The album does sound rawer, because when you listen to it, you have one guitar in the left, and the other in the right of the mix.
Yeah, we didn’t want to do it where you have about 17 guitar parts. We just wanted it as bass, drums, guitar all in one room.

It makes it sound bigger, because you hear the different instruments more.
Yeah, you get a much more rawer sound, not like on ‘The Remote Part’ that’s just like a big rock album with a really smooth production, so the songs don’t go anywhere with the dynamics.

Do you have any ideas for the next one or do you want to get the promotion for Warning/Promises over with first before you think about it?
I think we’ll wait for this tour to be over with first. We’ll just experiment and see what happens.
Were Sons and Daughters your choice for support?

Yeah. We always choose bands that we like to support us.

Do you like any other new bands that are around at the moment?
I can’t think of any.

Hopefully not Razorlight?
No. Watched them on T4 yesterday and wasn’t too impressed. Most of the new stuff around is really bad. I’ve been mainly listening to stuff from years ago. There isn’t really much new stuff that I like apart from Sons and Daughters.

What do the band listen to when you are touring?
It goes from Neil Young, to Woodie Guthrie, to metal music. Just all sorts of CD’s. Everyone just brings something in. Everyone has got their own small CD player with their CD booklet with everything in to listen to in the dressing room.

Idlewild played at Rock City on Sunday 17th April. 

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