Squid Are Ready To Break Out

UK band Squid release their Dan Carey-produced EP Town Centre on 9/6 via Speedy Wunderground. Adam Fink caught up with drummer Oliie Judge
Squid

The landscape of post rock, art rock, whatever you want to call it, is littered with bands that are made up of great musicians but sometimes being super adept at your instrument doesn’t always make you a good songwriter. Enter UK’s newest sensations Squid. The London via Brighton transplants make interesting, almost undefinable music but one that is filled with so many great hooks that you’ll come away from listening to their latest EP, Town Centre, having just heard the work of not only great players but really great songwriters. The five piece has been simmering overseas as a band to watch for this last year, an assessment based on said songs and their blistering live shows. Now as their record is about to come out, September 6th via Producer Dan Carey’s label Speedy Wunderground, Squid are poised to show the rest of the world exactly what they are capable of.

“I’m just up in a town called Northfolk,” says drummer/singer Ollie Judge when reached on the phone. “Arthur’s (Squids keyboard player) family has a place up here and we are just writing songs and playing ping pong,” the affable, soft spoken musician says with a chuckle. The band has been on the road a ton this summer, lighting up music festivals around the UK, and is taking a bit of breather between shows to write and reflect on the crazy year they’ve had, a year which started with them finishing University and getting together to play their first gig at a jazz night in Brighton. “We were all at University and kind of working on school projects and a few of us were playing in bands,” explains Ollie, “Some mates of ours booked out this venue for a jazz night and we thought it might be fun to do something. So, we wrote some songs to play for it. It was like this Nils Frahm electronic jazz kind of stuff that we played surrounded by candlelit tables, which is really quite different from what we are doing now,” Ollie says with a laugh, “It was a good way to do something fun and to not spend money at the pub.”

The band had such a good time playing together that they thought they should keep it going. “It’s interesting because everyone in the group kind of listens to different styles of music, so we all kind of bring different things to the songs,” explains Ollie. “We took the time to step back and try to listen to what everyone was into.” Having such a disparate group of inspirations wasn’t daunting to the band, in fact they seem to relish in it and it is definitely a by product of their songwriting. “When you get saddled with the term of like ‘post-punk’, which is a big part of the scene here at the moment in the UK, it’s good as it’ll give people an idea of what they are about to listen to but we don’t really think about genre when writing a song. There’s bands here like Idles and Black Midi that are part of the community that we kind of fit in with but I think we are a bit poppier than that.” Take for example Squid’s 7 minute opus and centrepiece of their new EP, “The Cleaner”. The song starts as a wonderful disco-funk concoction complete with cowbell like percussion and 80s synth stabs. The track builds and builds, with the help of Ollie’s sing shout-y yelps in the verses, taking the listener on quite the interesting journey. Though the song is quite long, there is not an ounce of fat to be found. “When we are writing, someone will bring a riff or something to rehearsal and we will take it and kind of build it from there,” says Ollie of Squid’s process. “Sometimes that original riff or idea doesn’t even make it into the song and we are left more with the product of all of us playing together.”

That chemistry is something that has been appealing for fans lucky enough to catch Squid live. A chance that is more and more likely as the year goes on. “A year ago this weekend we actually played our first festival show and this month we’ve done over twenty so it’s been a pretty incredible and quick trajectory.” This will continue as the band is booked playing festivals and well as going on tour with Metronomy this fall which Ollie describes as “a teenage dream come true,” then hopefully we will see them over here in North America in 2020. “That would be wonderful. We would love to play Canada,” says Ollie, “We played for the first time this year at SXSW in Austin and it was a dream. I’ve never been so nervous before a gig before. We are used to seeing a lot of familiar faces in the crowd at the shows we play at home, so to be there in a whole new country and no one knew who we were was shocking and fun.” Squid won’t have that problem of having people not knowing who they are for long. Town Centre is excellent and will be a great introduction to one of the most exciting and interesting guitar bands to come out of any scene in a long while.

interview by Adam Fink

Squid
Live Dates

8/16/2019 – Green Man, Wales, UK
8/22/2019 – The Trades Club, Hebden Bridge, UK
8/23/2019 – Future Yards, Liverpool, UK
8/24/2019 – This Must Be The Place, Leeds, UK
8/29/2019 – Into The Great Wide Open, Netherlands
8/30/2019 – Knee Deep, Cornwall, UK
8/31 – 9/1 – End of the Road 2019, Salisbury, UK
9/6/2019 – Krankenhaus Festival, Cumbria, UK
9/13/2019 – Leffingeleuren, Leffinge, Belgium
9/14/2019 – Hop Pop Hop, Orléans, France
9/16/2019 – Muziekodroom, Hasselt. Belgium
9/17/2019- Roodkapje, Rotterdam, Netherlands
9/18 – 9/21 – Reeperbahn, Hamburg, Germany
10/12/2019 – Tenement Trail, Glasgow, UK
10/19/2019 – Future Days, Birmingham, UK
10/19/2019 – Simple Things, Bristol, UK
10/20/2019 – Swn Festival, Cardiff, UK
10/21/2019 – The Shipping Forecast, Liverpool, UK
10/22/2019- Yes, Manchester, UK
10/23/2019 – The Picture House, Sheffield, UK
10/24/2019 – Elsewhere, Margate, UK
10/25/2019 – London Calling, Amsterdam, Netherlands
10/27/2019 Tunbridge Wells Forum, Tunbridge Wells, UK
11/1/2019 – Pitchfork Paris, Paris, France
11/6/2019- Village Underground, London, UK with Warmduscher
11/ 8 – 11/9 – Primavera 20th Anniversary Weekender, Benidorm, Spain
11/10/2019 – Sonic City, Kortrijk, Belgium