IDestroy are a band I’ve been hoping to catch for a while. I’d encountered Bristol-based bass-player Becky Baldwin through one of her other projects (and there are several!), the metal band Triaxis, so when I found out that she was also in a punk outfit called IDestroy with Bec Jevons on lead vocals and guitar and Jenn Haneef on drums I was intrigued. However, I never quite managed to actually get the planets to align closely enough to catch the band when they came to London. Time meanders on, and while I wasn’t looking, IDestroy released a well-received double a-side single consisting of two tracks “Annie” and “98%” back in March this year. However, it was only when I was introduced to Nina Courson and Phil Honey-Jones from Healthy Junkies during the filming of their video for “I Can’t Stand Anyone” and I found out about the 3-day, punk-orientated festival they were running at the Unicorn in Camden that those celestial bodies finally got around to shuffling in to some semblance of the correct relative position required for me to make it to an IDestroy gig…
The thing is though whilst I made it to the Unicorn early enough to do an interview the Traffic Gods of the M4 clearly had other ideas on the subject of IDestroy’s estimated time of arrival. They made it in time to play their set, but sadly there wasn’t time to do an interview before they went on stage. However, necessity being the mother of invention, IDestroy kindly accepted my request for an e-mail interview:
Bec, I understand you played an acoustic IDestroy set at Glastonbury this year. How did that feel?
It was the first time I’ve ever played a show solo! It felt great.
Will the whole band going to play Glastonbury next time around?
Glastonbury is one of those iconic music events we’ve all grow up with. Does it hold any special memories for any of you? Are there any performances you seen there which have inspired you, or stuck in your memory?
I love Glastonbury. I got so many incredible memories from the festival, it’s truly is a special place for me. Frank Carter was this year’s musical highlight for me. Yoko Ono (2014) has to be one of my favourite memories of life in general though…
If you were a drink, what would you be and why?
Becky: Black Sambuca. Looks sort of mean but trust in the shot for a warming fulfilment!
Internet or Book?
Becky: Internet. I like technology!
Where did the name IDestroy come from?
We’d been friends a while before forming the band. I’d written a bunch of songs and asked Becky & Jenn if they wanted to jam them. It all gelled really well, so we formed IDestroy. One of those songs we jammed was the song “IDestroy” from our debut EP. This is where the name came from.
I’m guessing that you all had other projects going on around the time you started IDestroy – what was it about the concept of this new band that made it special and worth pursuing?
Fronting up my own band was always something I wanted to do, this is what’s made it worth pursuing for me. We always had great feedback at shows, even from the start, which I think gave us the confidence to pursue the project seriously.
Have you ever been stung by a bee? (I’ll credit Kiera’s Mum for this question having shamelessly stolen it from one of Kiera’s interviews – Kiera co-runs a magazine called “98 Wounds”)
Jenn: No. But I’ve been bitten by mosquitoes!
Bec: Yes, I was about 4. I dropped my ice cream on the floor.
Becky: Yes, I felt so bad when it died!
What is your favourite vegetable?
Jenn: Sweet potato.
Bec: I like most vegetables, depends what mood I’m in. Today it’s green beans.
I know nobody likes their music to be pigeonholed, but…. Bec, I read an interview where you called your music “Party-Punk” – what’s that all about then?
I can’t remember exactly where the term “party punk” came from but it originated in a review about the “Vanity Loves Me” EP. I kind of liked it, so I used it in an interview once!
What music inspires the IDestroy sound?
Lots of different genres and artists influence our sound. When writing the previously releases I was listening to a lot of riot grrrl bands like Sleater Kinney & Gossip at the time. I think bands I grew up listening to like Nirvana will always have a big impact on our sound. I’m currently listening to The Cure a lot lately though, so maybe this will influence our next release…
How do you build the songs? Lyrics or music first? (Or perhaps something altogether different?)
This does change from song to song, but in general I’ll write most of the lyrics first.
I know you all have your own projects and other bands away from IDestroy. How does time working with other musicians on different projects shape what you each bring to IDestroy?
Bec: I think it’s really important as a musician to work with new people on a regular basis. I’ve learnt so much from being in my other band (The Blue Aeroplanes). The band has had an ever changing line up over the 20 or so years it’s been together. I’ve been very lucky to play with some world class players during the last 4 years I’ve been a member. It’s definitely had an impact of my playing.
Has technology changed how your music gets made? Do you jam together to build a song, or work remotely and share building blocks through the internet or some combination of the two?
I tend to work the old fashioned way – I’ll write a song in my bedroom. Make a rough demo and take it to the girls to jam. They live about 15minutes away so the internet isn’t really needed for us!
Where’s the most unlikely place/thing/person that’s inspired an IDestroy lyric?
I wrote the song “Annie” after reading the words “Annie doesn’t give a fuck” written on a toilet door.
If you could have anything at all on your backstage rider for a big show, what would you ask for?
Buckets of champagne, a hair dresser, carrots and humus, a very BIG bowl of salad, cashew nuts, sparkling water, Thatcher’s, yoga instructor. Vegan Pizza for Becky.
What is the weirdest dream you’ve ever had? (and has it come true?)
Jenn: I once had a nightmare I was being chased by a person in a rabbit costume. Then I tried to run away but I was running really slowly and couldn’t go any faster. I thought to myself last time this happened I was dreaming. So am I dreaming now?! Then I turned around thought about a tiny bunny and the man turned into one. Then I woke up!
You guys are on the road A LOT! Is there a secret to surviving long car/van journey’s together?
Bec: Me and Jenn are currently doing this interview on our way from Bristol to Fife for a festival show. We often do our interviews on the road to keep ourselves busy. Failing that we just fall asleep! We all get on very well though, so the long journeys are fine.
You’ve not long come back from a two week tour of Germany. How was that?
Germany was amazing, we’re very much looking forward to returning in August.
Is there anywhere you’d really love to play?
We all really want to play in the USA. Hopefully that can happen soon.
What’s the best and worst things about being on the road?
Best thing is obviously playing the shows and meeting new people.
Jenn: Bec’s amp is the worst thing of touring!! It’s so heavy and takes three of us to lift.
What are the top three weirdest things that have happened to you when you’ve been out on tour?
1. We played a show in Hull and drove into what we thought was the back of the venue. Turns out it was just a block of flats and the gate shut behind us. We realised our mistake and turned the car around, only to discover we had been locked in! We spent a good half an hour trying to escape with no luck. We had to knock on all of the flats until we finally found someone who could let us.
2. When we played a show in Frankfurt, a man stopped me in the street and just said “Bec! Blue Aeroplanes- Skin!!” It was great being recognised in another country. (Bec)
3. This isn’t a tour moment but definitely the weirdest. We recently had an email addressed to Jenn. It was a fan requesting that they would like to see Jenn drum in bare feet more. They said they’d seen her play with no shoes on before and had enjoyed it very much. (But this has never happened, Jenn always drums with shoes)
You must have seen a lot of bands play live – what would your top three recommendations for live acts you’ve really enjoyed but that we’ve never herd of be and why?
There’s some great bands who are friends of our from Bristol. Martyrials, Brockley Forest, Harri Larkin & Kamino are all fantastic. (I know it’s not three but they really are all worth checking out)
What would IDestroy have on their Christmas Jumper?
This has reminded me, we need to get some made for this year! I’ve got lots of ideas but they’re secret at the moment…
Do you have a secret hidden talent? And what is it? (Apart from neither hidden or secret anymore!)
Bec: I can balance a full pint of beer on my head. Jenn’s like a rock climbing pro.
Becky: I am great at making spreadsheets. So cool!
You’ve just released your new video for 98%. I love looking at how people have interpreted music visually! Can you tell us a little bit about the story behind the song and its lyrics?
It’s a song about sexuality. I wrote the first half of the lyrics 4 years before I finished them.
The video for 98% is really powerful stuff! – there’s a real tension and attitude in your straight-faced delivery either looking directly in to the lens, or completely ignoring it. How did you come up with the concept for the video and why did you go for this look?
We’ve been really lucky to work with an amazing up and coming director, Sam Kinsella. He’s done an amazing job on our last two video, we can’t take too much credit for the creative process on these!
What’s your favourite film?
Jenn: Ten things I hate about you.
Bec: Anything by Tarantino has been great.
You’ve released an EP and a double A-side single. Is there an album on the way?
We’re planning on releasing another EP before the end of the year with an album in the pipeline next year.
Any exciting tour plans or other gig-related news you’d like to share?
We have a full UK tour announced and are heading to France & Germany next month for a 5 date tour.
And finally… What are your Power Animals?
We’re not sure what a power animal is but we all like cats a lot…
Judging by the way IDestroy tore it up at the Unicorn, when they talk about about Power Animals they’re obviously not talking kittens, they’re clearly talking Big Cats!
IDestroy have been on the road playing together a lot and it really shows. Right from the very first track their playing is tight and the sound slick and together. I’ll happily admit that up until IDestroy took to the stage the evening’s entertainment had, from my personal frame of reference at least, lacked the requisite incendiary properties to keep me engaged. However, with their stage presence and obvious chemistry coupled with some proper high-energy rocking out on the breaks IDestroy definitely caught my attention.
Gone is the seriousness and straight faces of that video for “98%” instead there’s warmth and plenty of interaction with the crowd between songs. Their sound may be led by Bec’s guitar crunchingly sharp guitar work and powerful vocals, but it’s the rolling bass-lines and pounding drums from Becki and Jenn that provide the solid foundations for their insidiously catchy hooks and melodies. Perhaps it’s the instantly appealing nature of their songs that drives IDestroy’s gentle divergence from guitar-led garage-punk to something all together more engaging and, dare I say it, friendly. Perhaps that’s what “Party Punk” is all about?
Punk’N’Roll Rendezvous, The Unicorn 30/06/2017
Article first published on Rock At Night.
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