Interview by Brayden Bagnall
Since 2009, Brisbane band IDYLLS have been wreaking their particular brand of sonic havoc on unsuspecting ears, both in Australia and abroad (well south-east Asia at least). Constantly hopping between genres, their music is a potent combo of mathcore, grindcore, hardcore and noise rock, a mixture that the band have crafted into a sickly art to emerge as one of Australia's most unique and interesting acts. I recently interview the band to talk about their upcoming record, Prayer For Terrene.
FBN: First up, who are you and where are you from?
IDYLLS: I am Ben and within a human historical geographical framework I'm from Sydney, but that kind of thing can only be useful in certain circumstances so I'm not necessarily anyone from anywhere.
FBN: Describe Idylls in three words (or less)
IDYLLS: Terms and conditions
FBN: What are some the band's influences. musical and otherwise?
IDYLLS: Musically I'm unsure, but hopefully that aspect is constantly evolving and mutating. Otherwise, reflecting on youthfully misguided flirtations with the void; a globalised interconnectivity radically separate to and beyond the limited and exploitative concepts of capital and privately owned social media; a good hat / pair of shorts.
FBN: As a band that transcends multiple genres, do you believe people place to much emphasis on genre/and classification nowadays? And do you believe it's counter-productive for the writing process for the band to stick to one genre?
IDYLLS: Yeah I guess a lot of people do put emphasis on genre, it's not exactly something we're completely sure of how to escape being naturally inclined towards categorisation and definition, it's probably a closure thing and makes it seem like we can find footing in a time a person could live their entire life without being able to depend on any lasting and invulnerable cultural or ideological traditions, things that used to last for generations. Is it counter-productive to stick to genres? I don't really know if it's possible today to really do adhere to notions of purity without a thousand other influences particular to your experience of the world, musically or other, bleeding in. I mean I could try really hard to replicate a particular kind of sound or genre specific to a place and time but it's likely I couldn't even replicate the conditions and technology and attitudes that created it anyway. Still, there's lots of boring and derivative bands out there and I think that's pretty unfortunate, which is probably more what you were asking.
FBN: How have the lineup changes in Idylls affected the band dynamic and creative process?
IDYLLS: Being the latest personal manifestation I can't really speak for the progression of dynamics and relations. I feel everyone in the band at the moment is pretty in tune with one another personally and creatively though, it feels really good and I don't really think it's a situation where I'm trying to reproduce or replicate what previous people in the have done.
FBN: Speaking of the creative process, you've got a new album coming out soon. Can you talk a little about the writing and recording process for that?
IDYLLS: Lloyd sacrificed his childhood for the record, I tried my hand at saxophone and vocals, neither of which I'm at all qualified to do and it's success is yet uncertain, James was immersed in pagan blood rituals on the other side of the globe and had to learn & record the songs within a month of his return, for Chris I imagine it was just more of the same - eating out of bins, struggling to pay rent and trying to organise a posse of doofuses to get their shit together.
FBN: Idylls have been pretty quiet in regards to live shows and touring. Are there any plans for tours or shows to coincide with the new album?
IDYLLS: Yeah probably tour Aus later in the year, S.E Asia revisit is of vital importance.
FBN: Any thoughts on the Brisbane scene? Is there a certain niche in the scene that Idylls belongs to?
IDYLLS: Mammoth question, like any evolutionary social microcosm that one bears witness to there's probably a book's worth of thoughts that will never be written. In regards to punk and heavy music, it might not something that I'd ever truly been immersed in but over the past year I'd distanced myself from it for lots of reasons, some valid, some probably derived from self-righteous cynicism. I'd say playing in Idylls will bring me a lot closer to it once again. It doesn't need going in to, we're never going to back in the hallowed places and times where it all derived from and what a 'scene' means or achieves now is totally divorced from what it meant or achieved in earlier decades. At the moment there's probably lots of cool Brisbane bands playing that I don't know much about, but it would be even better if we finally started to marry the music and sense of community that a scene affords with the greater community within Brisbane'. If punk music is meant to be, or ever was, about establishing a resistance to the dismal socio-political 'mainstream', it's time to start acting instead of posturing. There are people out there completely alienated, ostracised, forgotten and discarded by the contemporary cultural / political mainstream and they don't know or care about cool crust bands, but their experiences and struggle is probably more authentic and vital than an entire generation of disaffected hardcore kids playing out grand and romantic struggles of a similar nature against the same very real forces in their minds. If there's any way to bring a sense of meaning and significance to musical movements anymore, particularly 'punk' / DIY music, uniting the musical community and ethos with marginalised groups within the same community to foster mutual support, growth and wellbeing is the way to do it.
FBN: Finally, What are some of the bands/artist you've been enjoying lately, both local and international?
IDYLLS: Local : Cured Pink, Frown, Last Chaos. International: Dead Rider (D. Rider)
Massive thanks to Ben from IDYLLS for doing the interview. Prayers For Terrene is out shortly, with Frail Abuse Records handling the release in the UK, Tapes Of A Neon God in the USA and the band handling it themselves over here. Meanwhile you can suss out two new tracks from the album below, as well as the band's other releases on bandcamp.