For a hot second, Ider are managing to catch their breath. They’re currently in a taxi heading from airport to festival venue, and things are just about running on time. Their summer is set to be filled with mad dashes like this as the band bring their emotionally-driven, heart pop to stages around the world. It might be chaotic, but Lily Somerville and Megan Markwick wouldn’t have it any other way.
The band and their friendship started as a group project at University seven years ago, but Ider quickly discovered there was more to explore than good grades. Inseparable since their first performance, the pair have joined forces like some sort of poptastic Megazord to create Ider. The word was meaningless when they first named their band; now it’s who they are when they’re together.
For Lily, being a pop artist was probably always going to happen. “I was lucky enough to have supportive parents who were always telling me do what you love, and that was music. It felt inevitable that I would want to pursue that.”
For Megan, “it was such a dream [to make music]. I hope this doesn’t come across as corny, but it wasn’t until I met Lily that it actually felt possible.” The reality is different, though. “It’s so up and down,” continues Megan.
“We spent the first few years in this blissful world of possibility. We love playing live, writing together and the whole thing is a passion for us. But it’s hard work. We’ve worked so hard, and you get so many knockbacks in the general day to day of it.”
It’s an idea that’s explored on ‘Swim’. The last song recorded for their debut album, it looks at the anxieties and struggles of chasing dreams and trying to wrestle them into a workable reality but still finds the positives. As gruelling as it sometimes may be, Ider are never alone. “I don’t know how solo artists do it because it’s not easy at all,” offers Lily. “Thank god we’ve got each other.”
From the get-go, Ider have had A Sound. Their soul-felt pop manages to comfort and energise and on debut album ‘Emotional Education’, it shines with a glitzy control.
“The two of us figuring out the world with our music, that’s always been the heart of Ider. That’s what we pride ourselves on, but over the years we’ve had various ‘who are we?’ moments of doubt,” admits Lily, as Megan continues: “The heart of all the music we write and at the heart of the album, is our friendship and our relationship with each other.
“We’ve been mates for seven years now, and we’ve always played music together. We’ve never known friendship without music. It’s enabled us to write so honestly and in a raw way. While the album didn’t have a concept, our relationship and our ability to dig deeper and draw more from each other is the root of what we’ve written.”
Sometimes one of them will write 90% of a song, while the other acts as an outside voice and editor who help push things forward. Other times they sit in a room together and a song “will fall out of us.”
In its own oddball way, ‘Emotional Education’ is a coming of age record. An album that takes the saying ‘you’ve got your whole life to write your first record’ to heart, it deals in big experiences. Across the album, Ider explore nostalgic feelings from when they were young, “parents, heartbreak, not knowing who you are, identity crisis’, anxiety and mental health.”
“We didn’t have a conscious vision for the album, but we knew we wanted it to say something,” continues Megan. “Choosing to call it ‘Emotional Education’, it says something. You know when you read something, and it stops and makes you think for a second? That’s what we wanted.
“The title comes from our song ‘Saddest Generation’, and the lyrics ‘where is the emotional education we’re all looking for?’ It’s about the world in which we’re living in but more than that, it’s about the emotional education we offer one another and how the process of writing and recording this album has been such an outlet of personal experiences. We’ve gone through a lot and relayed it in the music. It’s about the education we’ve learnt from one another, but also the world around us.”
As ‘Clinging To The Weekend’ admits, “we’ve been healing each other’s hearts since the start of this world.” That song was inspired by Lily’s trips back home to the Midlands.
“Some of my girlfriends were having a difficult time, and I found it difficult to leave them and come back to London. You wish your best mates could see themselves the way you see them. It celebrates the idea that we’ve been in it together since the beginning, we’ve been looking after each other and healing each other’s hearts. There’s a lot of loneliness going on in the world.”
Because of social media and how easy it is to communicate, “There’s a lot of connection on paper, but is that a deep connection?” Lily muses. If everyone’s talking, who’s listening? “This record and us as a band, it’s about our connection with each other, and hopefully that will spread.”
“We want people to relate to it,” adds Megan. “We want them to know they’re not alone in the things that they hear on it and may also be experiencing. We want them to feel connected and empowered.”
Taken from the August issue of Upset. Ider’s debut album ‘Emotional Education’ is out 19th July.
Words: Ali Shutler