HomeaflAt Hong Kong's Clockenflap, IDLES Need No Translator

At Hong Kong’s Clockenflap, IDLES Need No Translator

An IDLES show is an exercise in tension and release. From the droning first notes of  “Colossus,” the British band contracts and expands like taffy. It’s tension and release for both the band and the Hong Kong audience — a process IDLES refers to as the “energy transfer” that binds them together. IDLES like to rip, of course, but it can’t come from aggression, anger, or disillusionment, even if vocalist Joe Talbot spells those feelings out. It has to come from love.

Love is the guiding factor of not just IDLES’ upcoming album TANGK (out February 16th), but the project as a whole. Speaking to Consequence at Hong Kong’s Clockenflap Festival in December, Talbot and guitarist Mark Bowen found kindred spirits: “The energy that we create as a band is without a doubt understood, because our audience, and us, give everything we have,” Bowen says.

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According to Talbot, all of his songs are love songs — and not just the songs on TANGK, nor just the songs that deal with romantic connection. He means love in the most grand, sweeping way, love that transcends labels and extends onto the nearest body. “Every album I’ve written comes from love, and it’s not more or less political, it’s not more or less true, it’s not more or less intimate. It’s exactly what it’s always been, which is me trying to connect to something much greater than myself,” Talbot says. “Sometimes, people don’t look beyond the two dimensions of what they’re listening to. They think because I’m shouting, I’m angry. Or if I’m criticizing the authorities, it’s political.”

In the IDLES universe, every song, album, or onstage freakout is meant to be a hand extended outward. Just this year, IDLES toured the US on the RE:Set festival (alongside TANGK collaborators LCD Soundsystem), played festivals everywhere from Corona Capital in Guadalajara, Mexico to Australia’s Splendour in the Grass and Japan’s Fuji Rock Festival, and even celebrated their first ever Grammy nominations for 2021’s CRAWLER.

With TANGK on the way, IDLES have yet another open-hearted offering that will connect them with fans all over the globe in 2024 and beyond. “Our message is love, and I write about the human condition, right?,” Talbot tells Consequence. “That is understandable in every language because when we play it live, you see our energy, you feel our energy, and you hear our energy.”

Read the full Q&A with IDLES’ Joe Talbot and Mark Bowen below, and get tickets to IDLES’ 2024 tour here. Also, check out Mark Bowen’s list of the 10 rock albums every fan should own here.

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