FEATURE: Spotlight: Squid








THERE is a lot of buzz and excitement regarding…


the awesome Squid right now – and quite right, too! My first exposure to them was through a common and trusty source: the cool waves of BBC Radio 6 Music. I know their new single, Houseplants, has been played all over the place but it sounds just right at home on BBC Radio 6 Music. In this article from The Line of Best Fit, they featured Houseplants and gave it a little write-up:

Their new single "Houseplants" is a prime example of that statement - erratic and playful, and delivers a relatable message. Vocalist and drummer Ollie Judge says the track is about "being able to afford a house and not having to have beans on toast for the week leading up to payday. Pessimistically, I don’t see that future happening, but I still catch myself every now and again thinking it could."

It is an excellent single and one that blows away the cobwebs and leaves a smile at the same time! It is rare that, in these times, you can find a song that delivers that dichotomy. Not only do they blow you away with this raw and uncensored clatter but there is nuance and variation – a song that twists and has various little stages. That sort of confidence and ability does not come easily: the fact Squid have not been around that long as a band makes their modern endeavours that much more impressive and standout! So, where did the band come from? When they spoke to Wonderland last year, we got to learn more about them: where they came from and, indeed, how they met one another:

Formed in Brighton, Squid – made up of Ollie Judge, Louis Borlase, Arthur Leadbetter, Laurie Nankivell and Anton Pearson – have already been making a name for themselves as one of the most exciting new acts on the scene.

Currently gearing up for their show tomorrow at The Great Escape’s First Fifty at The Macbeth tomorrow (more info on that here), we caught up with them over curry in North London to find out all there is to know.

How did you guys all first meet?

So it was a stormy night in Brighton…[Laughs]

Basically we wanted to make music together and we all had different influences, so we had an idea about creating something that just brought everything together, and it just had this transforming nature to it. That never really settled for like a good year or two, and it’s still quite unsettled in quite a beautiful way. That’s how we met really, making music.

We’d been doing lots of funny, silly electronic music in our bedrooms. House music that just still felt silly. We were making a lot of music individually, but obviously all of us were thinking that the idea of making a band would be really, really great, but none of us had really sat down and hung out.

You only need to read one of their interviews to understand that these guys are all about fun and have no ego. They are funny, brotherly and do not hold back when it comes to gold – in terms of their music and what they say in interviews. There are some really interesting bands playing at the moment and, with recent festivals such as Brighton’s The Great Escape, a lot of them have been turning heads. Brighton, in fact, is producing a perfect base for new artists: the sea air and warm vibes together with that proximity to London.

I can understand why artists favour Brighton - and it seems like the music coming from there is among the strongest coming through. To be fair, the boys are all over the place and one gets that impression of a band taking each day as it comes and not stressing over things. I love what they are doing right now and you should keep an eye out to see where they are heading. Catch them on the road if you can and experience this terrific band who are definitely on the rise. In terms of the artists who influence Squid, it is hard to drawn direct comparisons. In this interview with DIY , they gave some insight:

Who were some artists that inspired you when you were just starting out (and why)?

Anton: When we were first collaborating we all in love with a lot of German bands like NEU!, Can etc. I remember us listening to a lot of Esbjorn Svensson and ECM type stuff along with a bunch of ‘ambient’ and post-rock artists, really just a load of instrumental stuff too.

Louis: Unintentionally I think, we started taking more from the current music around us and putting it into our own writing. This seemed to give our set a much higher energy which felt really good - or maybe it’s just that we started standing up on stage. Right now we’re especially loving Baxter Dury, Black Midi, DUDS, Tirzah.

That is a pretty unexpected and impressive list of influences! I am not sure what their plans are regarding an album but many out there are priming their eyes the way of Squid to see what the band do next. There is a lot of buzz around them and they are picking up a lot of love along the way. I was bowled over by Houseplants and I cannot wait to see what is brewing in camp. There are few bands like them that provide such simple and effective music. Although there is usually a serious message behind their songs, you do learn from them but you also get this sense of relief and energy that is so important! The chaps are funny and self-deprecating and they have this amazing connection. I wouldn’t be shocked if I saw them getting to the top of festival bills very soon.  I have been a bit down on bands over the past couple of years – declaring solo artists as the best around – but there are some great groups emerging lately – making me feel that the tide is turning and we will see a return of guitar-based bands. I shall leave you with an exert from an interview the band did with NME earlier in the year. It seems to sum up their humour and how they view music:    

What’s your karaoke song?

Anton: Elton John – ‘Tiny Dancer’
Laurie: Elton John and Tupac – ‘Ghetto Gospel’
Ollie: ABBA – ‘SOS’
Louis: Sean Paul – ‘Breathe’
Arthur: Bach – ‘Prelude’ ft David Guetta

Scenario: We’ve given you a shit load of money to make a big budget video – what do you do with it?

“We’ll write a one man show for Jeff Goldblum meanwhile throughout the show Mark Kermode gives it a scathing review, but as a voiceover. If there’s anything left over we’ll take it out in cash, go to a island and burn it. £100,000?

If you don’t fall in love with Squid and embrace what they do; if you do not digest and adore what they are putting out right now then you might very well need…

YOUR head checked!


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