IDER Write Pop Songs to Help You Understand Your Shitty Life
That's what their new single “Learn to Let Go” does for us, anyway.
Photo by Lottie Turner via PR
It's rare for a parent to tell you they're listening to new music – even more so when the artist in question has already secured placement on your own Spotify playlist. Older generations often seem to be two steps behind in their music taste, confusing their ASAP Rockys with Whatsapp Rickys, so my interest piqued when one of my parents told me they'd recently been playing IDER – a duo from London who are adept at capturing some of life's deep feelings with a pop sensibility.
Two weeks later and they're are sitting across the table from me in a north London coffee shop. Strange and torrential August rain pelts down on the streets as we seat ourselves at a wooden table with a collection of Diet Coke, tea and some strange ginger drink. "We've got these festivals this weekend and we're feeling run down, so maybe this will help," says Megan Markwick, motioning toward the liquefied ginger.
Completed by friend and roommate Lily Somerville, the band met while studying at Falmouth University. "The course we did was pop music… for pop stars," jokes Lily. "If we went now it would have been really handy, but at the time we were like: fuck this. We can't remember any of it." She casts her mind back, as though deep in thought. "What did we learn, at 9AM, when I was fucking hanging, on Thursday morning, five years ago?"
They clearly didn't need to retain all that information, then. Since leaving Falmouth, the pair have moved house in London, using it as a base of sorts. They work on their music in one room; in the other, they sleep. "There's a door between the rooms; we should smash the wall down," Meg says. Earlier this year they released their debut album Gut Me Like An Animal – a collection of eerily cathartic yet immediate pop tracks, the kind that can help the listener understand more about themselves through the music of others. They're now following that up with a new release on label Glassnote, home to the likes of Childish Gambino and CHVRCHES.
"Learn to Let Go", the new track, emerges from a place between consciousness and unconsciousness – where all true feelings arise, when your mind's still bleary and half-awake. We speak about the infamous book The Power Of Now (Lily: "Did it change your life too?"), which the pair say tap into some of the processes behind how they wrote "Learn to Let Go". Both the book and song serve to capture specific, important and integral human feelings.
"When you are calm and happy and yourself, you're so in the present moment that you're not aware of what you're doing," Meg begins. Of the writing process itself, she continues: "There wasn't an awareness of what should or shouldn't be, it was just what we were feeling". On paper, it's about "being free from shit, heavy crap, being totally yourself". And in practice, it's incredibly vivid, boosted with lyrics about "spinning in a yellow dress", an image of carefree freedom that can be seen as much as it can be felt through listening to the song.
Often you find musicians who create because, whatever, they're aiming to do something "cool" or to achieve a certain "sound". With IDER there's a sense the process goes beyond this, into using music as a way to experience life, to understand everything, to make sense of feeling and lay it down in a song. With "Learn To Let Go" they've made the next step on their journey, one that feels as though it's going to keep growing naturally. If anything feels forced, you know Meg and Lily are going to leeeaaave it.