Band of the Day: Idle Crooks & Englishmen

If you like your rock dirty, you’ll like this bunch…

Simple things first, where are you guys from?

Tom (singer): We are all from Haywards Heath in West Sussex but there is no music scene, so we identify as a Brighton band. There has never been a proper local venue to play.

How did you meet?

Adam (drummer): Our friendships actually go back a very long way. I met Tom in reception at primary school so that would be 4 years old?

Josh (bassist): Yeah, then I must have met them at the start of secondary school, and we met Joe in college. So, we have always played music together growing up and been in various school bands together under many band names. In year 11 we were called ‘The Hazards’ and we thought we had pretty much ‘made it’ when we hosted our own show. It’s great that we are playing together now professionally.

How long have you been playing as a band?

Joe (guitarist): Idle Crooks has been going about 3 years. The line-up has had a bit of a change. Tom and Adam started as a two-piece, then there was an old bass player before the current 4 piece line-up really cemented.

Tom: But like we said, we our whole musical lives have been shaped by growing up and learning our instruments together.

Before you get sick of being asked… Where does the band name come from?

Tom: Adam and I came up with the band name. I was interested by the idea of ‘& Englishmen’ at the end. I must have got the idea from the film Mad Dogs & Englishmen. I think I actually wanted to call the band that at one point then realised we couldn’t do that! I liked the long band name idea.

Adam: Yeah and I wanted it to be called Crooks or have Crooks in it. So, we put the two names together and when the word Idle came along it just worked so well for us we loved it. We actually don’t mind the band name question! I’m glad we have a name we all like. Unfortunately, there isn’t an amazing story about how we discovered it.

What are your influences?

Josh: When we are together, we get gassed listening to our favourite guitar bands. Like Demob Happy, Queens Of The Stone Age, Nothing But Thieves and Dinosaur Pile-Up.

Tom: Yeah, we just blast out all those sorts of bands, they’ve really shaped who we are as a band. However, we all have our own favourite music as well. I love Nick Cave, Leonard Cohen, Scott Walker. Especially for the lyrical side.

Joe: We do love all kinds of music, myself and Tom like to warm up before shows singing some Everly Brothers.

Describe your music. What makes you unique?

Adam: We call our genre ‘Dirty Rock’ which has appealed to us for a long time. I guess just hard-hitting riffs, a mixture of indie and alt rock. We have our very heavy moments where we are going nuts on stage but we have written a bunch of slow music that we have yet to anything with yet.

Tom: What makes us unique? I like to think our actual sound differs from a lot of other bands. We also work hard with the song writing. I think the lyrics and melodies within the music are interesting. Maybe just the fact we have played together for so long we have that connection and a lot of things we play work well just because it is us. If that makes sense!

Do you have any particular lyrical themes?

Tom: I get really interested in lyrical ideas. I write about personal experiences, but I guess I don’t give away obvious meanings. I find lyrics to be really important and always try and take them to an interesting place. Or a place that makes sense in my mind that complements the music.

What are your live shows like? How many shows have you played?

Adam: We take huge part in our live show and always look forward to playing gigs together! Over time, we have perfected our energy and connection

What’s the wildest thing you’ve seen or done at a live show?

Tom: Someone got on stage and I accidentally hit him in the face with my guitar, and then later that night he took his shoes and had an asthma attack.

What kit do you use; guitars, bass etc.?

Adam: I play a Natal Arcadia kit with Meinl Byzance cymbals. Late last year I was approached by Pellwood drumsticks and we put together a brilliant endorsement for myself to get sticks with my own name and band name which has always been a dream of mine.

Josh: My pedal board is coming along nicely, so far loaded with a boss tuner.

Joe: I play a Les Paul into a Hughes and Kettner head and cab, with a small selection of Boss and EHX pedals used for making the sound much fatter. The Les Paul actually belongs to Tom, however I use it because it thickens our sound and adds a huge dynamic between the two of us.

Tom: I use equipment that contrasts nicely from Joe, I play my Telecaster into a Vox amp. I use a few modulation pedals such as reverbs, chorus, phasers and delays as it sits in the mix nicely with Joe’s heavy tone.

What, if anything, are you plugging/promoting at the moment?

Adam: We’re promoting our latest single, Criminal Song which came out on the 13th of September. We made a music video with producer Matt Flynn to go with it, so check that out on youtube.

Any plans for 2019?

Tom: We’re leaving for tour, late October, to play new cities and venues around the UK. It’s a 10 day tour so it’s the longest we’ve been out playing before. After we finish, we are planning to go straight back to the studio to work on new releases.

If you were second on a three band bill, which band would you love to be supporting and which band would you chose to open for you? (A chance to plug someone you have toured with, or a mates band we have not heard before!)

Adam: A band like Royal Blood has always been a personal inspiration, they’ve become such an iconic band in our scene we would to follow in their footsteps! They’ve brought back Alt-Rock to the masses, and their sound has become very popular at a commercial level. I think we made the band shortly after their debut came out, so they are a big part of who we are and it’s great they’re from Brighton.

Joe: A band I’d like to open for us would be Honeybadger, another young, talented, up-and-coming band from Brighton.

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