Just ahead of their excellent new single 'Mr Motivator' being released this week, Mark Glenister asked Mark Bowen from IDLES about how he's finding life in lockdown...
Firstly, how are you? How are the rest of the band as well?
I’m very well thank you. As far as I know the rest of the band are good too.
Do you have a daily routine, are you learning anything new as everyone else seems to be?
I am looking after my kid as my wife is working, so I am very envious of people with the opportunities to learn new things. My daily routine is getting up at 06:30, exercising, looking after my daughter, cooking, then once she goes to bed I make a terrible attempt to write new music, do interviews, band stuff and try to learn French, I’m in bed by 21:30 most nights.
Are you seeing this lockdown as a time to be creative? And has it changed the way you view the industry?
All time is time to be creative. I guess we have to be more creative as we try to find ways to get our music out there that aren’t the normal touring, interviews and being able to meet people face to face. Seeing our fans in the eye is important to us.
The industry has changed, forever, the damage done by covid-19 will be profound and long lasting.
As a band are you doing anything for the fans? A lot of online gigs and Q&As seem to be the norm for a lot of bands, how easy or difficult is that for you as a group?
We are always trying to do something for our fans, we have to, it is important for them it is important for us. It has changed things, as we normally focus on touring, playing live is the most important thing for us, now we have to adapt and stay in charge of the ways in which we can communicate with our fans that we still have some control over: releasing music, social media, other forms of content.
With no apparent end to the lockdown, does that effect plans for tours, singles, albums?
Yes, there will be no touring until we are allowed to, as soon as we are allowed to tour, be sure we will be on the road. Our album is finished, we are not the kind of band to sit on something like that, we always want to move forward.
As a fan I know how much I miss going to gigs, for the music and for the social aspect, is this something that you miss as well?
Playing gigs is one of the most important things in our lives. We usually play north of 150 gigs a year, I have no idea how to do normal life without them.
How important are your fans at this time, I know and I speak from experience, a lot of merch is being purchased to help bands, and I know you have a great connection with fans generally so are they an important aspect of getting through this?
Hugely important, it is how we are surviving. Our fans by and large are wonderful, generous people. We want to do all we can to give them material/content/whatever you want to call it that they deserve.
Despite horrors of this pandemic, the lockdown seems to have a created a lot of really positive community action, and for once social media is being used mainly in a positive manner – Do you want life to return to normal once this is over, or would you like people to be using this time to evaluate their lives and start be part of communities and positive social change?
It is a tremendous opportunity to change the entire way society operates, it should be a big reset button, that changes the world for the better. Unfortunately, we have a quick fix incompetent tory govt in power. We’re fucked. We can, however, change on a community level, within our families and wider community to effect real change
Next up: Mark speaks with Sit Down