I met IDLES when they came to support Maccabees on our final shows. Felix had put me on to the Brutalism album which I fell in love with. I should think that on one of those nights I probably told the boys that if they ever wanted any artwork for anything then I’d be honoured to give it a go.
For me Gram Rock is all about male posturing ... top dog-ery ... very alpha, very jargon-y. All bravado. No subtlety, just “look at me, look at what I’ve got” etc ...
It reminds me of the way that boxers have to talk themselves up. They have to, to strengthen their belief that they will win, that they are the better man, the bigger, stronger man. And I feel like there’s a palpable sense of that competitiveness in the lyrics.
But, the character in the song hasn’t really got an opponent and so his boasts are being shouted into the void. I like how the song exposes the lunacy of that sort of pomp. If you take away the audience or the combatant then it’s just mad ravings.
I figure that kind of posturing, the kind where there can be no admission of a chink in the armour, must be very isolating. Lonely making.
And it’s that sense of loneliness that I was trying to show in the collage.