The incendiary collective ID & Friends played at KOKO on Sunday 31st March. We caught up with them just before the show to find out what they had to say about their band, their musical style and what Strummerville means to them.
An energetic and fiery show allowed the band to showcase just how exciting their songs actually are, and a small but lively crowd responded enthusiastically. If they continue with their upward trajectory, and continue to write songs with such a thrilling mix of old-school hip-hop and rock, it seems that ID & Friends have a very promising career ahead of them!
Strummerville: Whereabouts are you based?
ID & Friends: Sort of Camden, Greenwich, South East London… we’re kind of from all over really! This is the home of the band though, ‘cos all we did was play in pubs in Camden last year.
How long have you been playing for?
A year, literally. We did loads of pub gigs.
How did you start playing as a band?
We all do our own individual bits – everyone has at least three or four different projects that they’re involved in, but we play together ‘cos I think we just wanted to have a bloody laugh! It’s kind of funny, we met up and at our first rehearsal we wrote the set that we’re going to play in three hours, played our first gig a week later, and then that was it! None of us knew what it was going to sound like at all.
So, how would you describe your sound?
Really over the top! Because we didn’t have much time before our first gig, the lyrics were already written. It would be nice to write some new ones after knowing these guys more; originally it was my stuff and it’s just a bit tongue in cheek. The music is all extremes. Its very in your face and really happening, but then its quite jazzy and chilled. We’ve got the strangest contrasts of styles in our songs. It’s kind of hard to explain… apart from it all being about fun, and having a f**king good time, and getting a bit messy! I don’t think anyone expected the music to be as good.
When you’re thinking about musical style or ethos, are there any particular bands that you regard as an influence?
I do enjoy the big ‘f**k you’ Rage Against the Machine gave the world. If you wanted to draw a comparison, Rage would be a good one: there’s quite a lot of folk to it, but its heavy. The stuff I like to play, and the stuff he likes to play, comes out live. If you were to ask us what our influences are, you’d probably get seven different answers. I don’t think I’d know half of yours! And that’s cool, because we all just do our own thing. If it sounds good, keep it!
What do you think about the current music scene?
To be honest, I don’t really follow it very much. I don’t like things being too contrived. In rock music, what’s always been great about it is the rawness and honesty. Rock bands shouldn’t worry about always saying the right things, or being the most professional. These days, everything is run like a business. If you’re just a musician, who likes rocking out and just going for it and having a good time, it’s not enough anymore. It’s nice playing at this level, before any of that starts to have a real effect on what it is that we’re doing.
Do you think the Strummerville way of doing things is a good one?
The way it started with Strummerville is exactly how it should, at ground roots level. In the early stages of gigging they saw us and really helped us. It does exactly what it says on the tin. We’re a very DIY band I think; we’ve got quite a punk way of doing things. The thing about Strummerville is… Because of Joe Strummer, who I genuinely know very little about, but I do know the mark he left on the world. That sort of transcends to the following Strummerville have. When they put things out, they get listened to. Yeah, it’s who Joe Strummer was, the impact on millions of people who f**king love the guy and love what he stood for and who he was as a person. We’re a really different band for Strummerville, but we like that. It doesn’t matter what kind of music we’re making, as long as we’re doing it with passion.