――We saw your show at Summer Sonic. It was an excellent show and you had so many audiences. Many were impressed with how you started from Boy Racer to G.S.K. where there was a change in Techno beats. What do you think about this structure?
Arthur : I guessed we have always been interested in making interludes within, having moments of improvisation and it developed that way. We started structuring it that way ever since slightly. I think having moments of electronic intensity has been really fun and interesting recently. So it’s like slowly starting to take shape. It’s nice when the music takes shape primarily from the live set rather than thinking about something. It’s like audience feedback is what makes the music rather than something you thought of urgently.
――This is the first time such a big Japanese audience saw you live at Summer Sonic. Did you change the structure, arrangement or length of these songs?
Ollie : Over the past year, it has become a pretty rehearsed set. We tend to change the order of songs and not play the same set lists. So we did that this weekend at Summer Sonic as well. We played a different set on both nights.
Louis : The songs feel different each night. We can change them to some degree but the structures mainly stay the same. But no one counts really. There are spaces for the sets to breathe you know. There are spaces to explore.
――Your songs tend to be longer, some about eight minutes long. Do you tend to make long songs or when you make the songs it becomes longer?
Ollie : I think we always try to write a three-minute song, but when we reach the end of writing it, we look at our watch and it’s long. We just have too many ideas and we want to put them all in one song.
――When I interviewed Black Midi they mentioned that if a band or supporting act was cancelled they can make their songs longer. As long as they want. Do you feel that you could keep performing as well?
Ollie : I think we could support ourselves forever. We did that once in Berlin. We played a gig together. We played a piece of electronic improvised music so we will like to do that one day. So if our support band cancels, great!
――So, how would you describe your influence or references that you get ideas for making music or improvisation? I heard that you are influenced by noise and krautrock. How would you describe them?
Louis : I think most recently we’ve been listening to bands. When we talk about improvisation there is a band in Bristol called, Giant Swan. They make electronic music live. I think watching them create a fully improvised set for an hour and a half is inspiring. Their energy and it’s very spontaneous.
Ollie : I think I’d like to study improvisation. I don’t think I know enough about it. There is a jazz group in Bristol called The Big Fuss Ensemble who are quite inspiring at the moment. Incredible drummer. You can study improvisation so I think I’d like to do that when I’ve got time.
――You released a cover song by Steve Reich last year. What do you like about him and his music?
Arthur : I guess minimalism. I think it’s one of those musicians that is quite meditative because it’s incremental changes. You don’t quite know when it’s going to come. I always feel very good after listening to minimalism. It’s like your brain had this refresher. Influence-wise, there are melodies and overlapping phases that we play during sections of Squid music. I think that is similar to Steve Reich. I think that’s something we are aware of and continue to do even if it’s an unconscious decision. Even when we are rehearsing that’s how it comes out sometimes.
――I think your fans are looking forward to your next record. Could you tell us how it’s been working on this new record?
Ollie : We getting there. It always takes a long time from starting to write to it being released. It takes too long sometimes. I think it’s a progression. It’s different.
Arthur : I think the writing process is fairly similar. I think it ended up being its distinct sound but still feeling like it’s the both of us. Like our own specific influences thrown in and churned up a bit and come out a slightly different shape from last time.
Ollie : A lot of it was written during lockdowns in the UK. You can hear that a little bit, it’s quite a mad record.
――Making the new album, what sort of bands or artists were you listening to?
Louis : Can’t remember. We don’t talk about that too much. We just get into a room and write music.
Ollie : There are no specific differences in the rise of style we want to relate to in this album. It’s hard to associate one song or a group of songs.
Arthur : If anything, lockdown meant that our listening ‘together’ was even less. Being in a band and we have playlists we listen together, whereas this was even more dispersed. People doing their own thing.
Louis : We didn’t see any live music and we have more influence from fans playing and going to festivals. When we wrote this new one there was no live music.
――You mentioned your reflection on lockdown. You didn’t see any life at all. Was it implemented on your sounds, lyrics or theme?
Ollie : I think less about the direct influence. Just seeing people play live music refreshes you a bit. It’s hard to describe. Just seeing bands playing makes you feel like you want to write your music. It was quite hard not seeing live music during lockdowns.
――For UK bands like Black Midi and Black Country, New Road released an album every year. There is a very quick cycle happening. What do you think about this? Are you pressured in any way?
Arthur : It’s better not to think about what other bands are doing.
Ollie : There are a few years younger than us so they’ve got more energy. It’s better to do your own thing. An album a year is a lot of work. We just do our own thing which is nice. Our record label, Warp, is understanding and just lets us do what we want which is perfect.
――During the lockdown, you couldn’t do any live shows. I’m sure it influenced how you wrote the songs then. You did mention that when you play live you come up with new songs. You couldn’t do that.
Ollie : The Boy Racers and G.S.K interludes but we started doing that when we played live again. I think stuff like that we were so excited to play. We just got all of our music equipment and made some new music. It was quite an inspiring time. We went on tour in May 2021 and played with work-in-progress music, things we have been writing during the lockdown. So that was quite an inspiring time.
――Did you play the work-in-progress songs for the upcoming album at the concert?
Arthur : This was in May 2021, it was quite fun. We just had a tour of making new improvised music. It shaped a lot of the tracks for the album. We haven’t started recording at that point, we didn’t start it in over a year later.
――For your cover album, besides Steve Reich you had covers by songwriters; Bill Callahan, Robert Wyatt and Robbie Basho. Whose idea was this and how were they selected?
Ollie : It’s usually songs we listened to together in the tour van. It’s always quite fun coming up with song covers. I think we like to cover songs that are a little bit out of our comfort zone.
Arthur : And we haven’t managed to write our cover yet, unfortunate. We tried once to layer a mini Riperton.
――I thought you might play the acoustic guitar to make the songs. Do you do that?
Ollie : I think we tried once but it felt wrong. Maybe third album.
――Your remix album was great. How did you select the offers for Cosey Fanni Tutti and Loraine James?
Ollie : Luckily we all have connections with electronic music so it’s very useful. Like Loraine James is amazing. She has done some amazing things with dance music in the UK. We don’t have a particular criteria. We are just like experimental producers. Cosey Fanni Tutti is like a legend so having that remix was special. She seemed super nice as well. It’s a quite scary remix and I only managed to listen to it a few times. Too scared.
――I can hear the influence of industrial music in Squid. Have you been listening to music like Cabaret Voltaire? Do you have any other bands you listened to as well?
Ollie : Yes. The early Human League stuff is great, more industrial. I’ve known Nine Inch Nails for a long time. I can hear Throbbing Gristle in Arthur’s synthesizer work. Some of the sounds that he makes are very unique.
――What do you like about Loraine James?
Ollie : The vocal sound chords she uses and manipulates are really good. Forward-thinking dance music and lots of influences.
――What are your thoughts on her work involving Drill or Grime music? Do you listen to a similar style of music?
Arthur : Some UK Grime definitely. Things like dubstep are starting to get popular, and Grime is alongside it. Some great instrumentals. But we don’t listen to them as frequently as a band. I haven’t quite gone into Drill yet but maybe I need to.
Ollie : And (MC)Trim as well.
――When can we expect to hear this new album?
Ollie : We are not sure. Could be next week or next year. I don’t know.
Arthur: It’s not next week, definitely not going to be next week.
Louis : Impossible to say.
photography Marisa Suda（https://www.instagram.com/marisatakesokphotos/）
text Junnosuke Amai（TW）