Interview: itoldyouiwouldeatyou

After releasing a debut album, indie punk group itoldyouiwouldeatyou dropped a dizzying music video for “Almost Zero”, a politically-inspired single off of the record. The single will be released on streaming services Friday. It’s an insightful track with an even cooler music video, and Indientry got the chance to ask front-person Joey Ashworth, who uses they/them pronouns, about the single. Check out the questions below!

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Indientry: Hey! How are you all?

Joey: We’re good! Working hard which for an anxious bunch like us is the best way to be.

How has your tour with Queen Zee been going?

So well! They are a sweet group of people who bring it hard every night, we honestly feel privileged to see how they do it. It’s certainly an incentive to make sure we’re at the top of our game, cos we have to make sure the audience isn’t bored waiting for them. The response has been amazing, though, and it’s so nice to see the crossover between kids who like them and kids who like us. Just a lot of very sweet, energetic people.

Who are your primary musical influences? What artists are you listening to most right now?

Influence-wise, we’re all over the place. My favourite band is mewithoutYou so that’s all over my vocals, but so are Every Time I Die, Nana Grizol, Say Anything, Car Seat Headrest, The Beach Boys, The Matches and so many more. At the moment I’m listening mostly to “Single Season” by WORSTWORLDPROBLEMS, “Love Songs and Melodrama” by KINGKHAN and “Fearful” by 404 Guild.

Can you tell me a little bit about “Almost Zero”, your most recent single, and the political message behind it?

Of course! The track is about two things really. On one level it’s just about having a dissociative panic attack – full sensory overload freak out shit. It’s also about how the state seems to have a vested interest in the anxiety of the young. Plenty has been said about the historical ways governments have attempted to mislead and manipulate their citizens, and this track is as much about that as it is anything else. The name “Almost Zero” comes from a novel by Vladislav Surkov, who is a chief advisor to Vladimir Putin. It follows the classic heritage of absurdist Russian anti-establishment literature, the only difference being that he is criticizing ideas of which, in many cases, he was the architect. It’s simultaneously a tongue in cheek satirisation of the world he helped create and a taunt to anyone attempting to disrupt it. That chilled me to the bone, and so, this song.

What about the music video?

The video was shot by our long-time visual collaborator Chevy Blazer – he used all natural light and nothing to stabilize the camera. We shot it all in and around New Cross just driving round with our mates in WORSTWORLDPROBLEMS. It was a really nice video to shoot cos everyone involved was lovely and really gave us their all. Our friend Oshen did the makeup – they’re amazing at that stuff. In fact, if you pause the video and know your way around the Runic alphabet, there’s a little easter egg on WWP’s faces that probably won’t make sense for another six months.

How do you think this single differs from your past work, if at all?

In a way, it’s a perfection of a sound we’ve dabbled with before, specifically that sort of 2010-era post-hardcore, but put through our own mathy filter. It’s my favourite track on the record cos it has the perfect version of a lot of things I always want to put in our songs – it’s got chugging, awkward tapping, a GUITAR SOLO??? but it still sounds like us, which is hard to do and very satisfying.

Can you tell me a little bit about the experiences of your vocalist Joey, who identifies as non-binary and bisexual, and the inspiration for Oh Dearism, your debut record?

That’s me! Hi! Well, the ideas about anxiety and state manipulation permeate the whole record, and that definitely interacts with how I feel as a “minority” in that sense. I’ve no interest in writing a record just for me though, which is why the political side is so important. The fact is that yeah, I interact with this nasty stuff in my own way as a member of a (couple) marginalized group(s), but it touches everyone. Everyone is scared, everyone is being manipulated and this record tries to ask, “Who benefits?” in as broad a way as possible while inevitably being filtered through my own experiences.

On that note, how do issues of gender and identity affect the band’s experience and how you all interact with the music scene?

We spent a lot of time working out how to make sure we weren’t just playing on straight white cis bills and I think we’re getting there. The key is that the moment you have any sort of control over what you do that translates in you having the ability to give power to others. That way you’re never alone. That’s the best way to deal with getting shit on and that’s what we’re trying to do.

What’s next for you? Do you have any other exciting releases coming?

I write this waiting for the Complex debut of our remix of Divine Violence featuring seven different guest vocalists to go up – I think that will keep us busy for a little while. Beyond that, all I can say is that new music exists and won’t go unreleased.

Is there anything else about your band that you think is important for readers to know?

We love you already, so come say hi.

Check out the music video for “Almost Zero”, itoldyouiwouldeatyou’s latest single, below:

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