“I have always been interested in writing about empathy and communion as a tool to fight the fascist government that we are under": Idles' Joe Talbot wants to see the British government "crushed"

Idles in 2023
(Image credit: Daniel Topete)

Idles may be releasing an album of love songs post-Valentine's Day, but that doesn't mean that the Bristol punk band are losing their bite, frontman Joe Talbot insists. 

The quintet may have made their name with combative, aggressive songs such as Never Fight a Man with a Perm, Model Village and Well Done, but on new album TANGK, set for release on February 16 via Partisan, the group reveal their more tender, emotional side, which, says Talbot, should not be interpreted as the group going "soft".

“The most powerful fucking human beings on earth are ballet dancers because it takes strength to move slowly and open yourself up to the world,” Talbot tells MOJO magazine

Talbot expands upon the idea in a new interview with The Guardian, explaining that, on their early albums, the group were interested in “the violence of art”.

“We wanted to use our violence to cut through the violence in advertising and popular media and journalism to create a conversation in opposition,” he says, before revealing that he now feels that he doesn't have to “hide behind violence any more.” he said.

“When Nina Simone was at her most delicate,” he says, “there was still a lightning bolt behind it.”

“People want to own us and tell us who we are,” Talbot says at another point in the interview. “I have always been interested in writing about empathy and communion as a tool to fight the fascist government that we are under. I don’t see that as political. I see that as humane. I despise our government. I fucking hate them! I hate every single lie that comes out of their fucking, horrible mouths. And I hope they are crushed in the next general election.”

In MOJO, Talbot states that he still has strong opinions on the state of the nation, but argues that he now believes that he now voice his opposition in a less aggressive, and more persuasive, manner.

“As an anti-monarchist, I don’t like occupying other countries, an unelected leader, the House Of Lords,” he says. “As soon as you have a kid, those beliefs become amplified with a sense of severe protection. It just highlights the dangerous, apathetic stance we have on such oppressive fucking systems within our country, and I want to talk about that through love – not anger, not hate, not disdain.”

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Born in the North of Ireland, Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.