INTERVIEW: Russ and Haley of I’m Scum – an Idles Podcast

Evening you lovely lot! It’s Mr Minnis2Society here wishing you a very happy Friday.

Tonight we are talking to Russ and Haley, two Idles mega fans who have created a podcast dedicated to the band!

It’s been an incredible year for Idles, and even if you aren’t a fan of their music, it is hard not to be impressed by their rise to success and the spotlight. And it’s well deserved; their passion, energy and talent is undeniable, and their punk rock sound has certainly grown on me in recent months. They sure have dominated 2019, finally stamping their mark with THAT Glastonbury performance, as well as getting a nod from The Brits, and a Mercury Music Nomination. They were beaten to the Mercury Music prize by Dave, but I think they should have won (jointly with Little Simz maybe – we love her too!), but even so, it has been one hell of a year for the Bristolian band!

We discovered Russ and Haley on Twitter and then promptly gave the podcast a listen. Read on to hear about their love for the band and how this lead them to create a podcast dedicated to their idols… IDLES! (sorry…)

So Russ and Haley, how did you first come to discover Idles?

Russ: I first discovered them when their debut album “Brutalism” was getting attention stateside but, for whatever reason, it didn’t click with me. It wasn’t until I watched Anthony Fantano (TheNeedleDrop on YouTube) reviewed “Joy As An Act Of Resistance” a year later that I gave them another listen and immediately fell in love with the record. Ever since, I’ve learned to love and appreciate pretty much everything they’ve put out and my life hasn’t been the same since.

Haley: Russ actually introduced me to them back in April of this year. He sat me down and told me he was going to show me a music video I was going to love. He knew my music taste and added that I would feel a kinship with the fact that Joe had a similar front tooth gap. He showed me the video for Colossus, and he wasn’t wrong. At all. Instantly, I was hooked and looked up every interview they did on YouTube and bought my ticket to their San Diego show for last May.

What was the track that made you fall in love with the band?

R: “Colossus” hands down. It may not be my favorite track by The Bois From Bristol (that honor goes to the two-way tie of “Queens” and “1049 Gotho”). Before I even gave ‘Joy’ a full listen, I looked up the music video and was hooked. The way the track builds with an ominous air of menace and a promise of violence, only to explode into searing punkesque sonic napalm with lyrics like, “I’m like Stone Cold Steve Austin. I put homophobes in coffins.” Yeah. It was a safe bet that this was going to be the band for me in every conceivable way.

H: I think Television or I’m Scum. At this point, it’s so hard for me to know since it was the first full listen of Joy as an Act of Resistance that really just had me fully enamored and then once I listened to Brutalism, they were a solid ‘favorite band’ status.

How did the idea come about on making a podcast dedicated to the band?

R: Haley and I had attempted recording a movie podcast together that lasted exactly one episode. We always wanted to do a pod together since we’re best friends and have a weird chemistry when we talk about things we are passionate about. During our recording of that episode, we found ourselves talking about IDLES…a lot. So we decided that we’d start an “IDLEScast” together. Turns out, it was the right call to make because now I couldn’t imagine doing a podcast about anything else.

H: We wanted to make a podcast since we started hanging out. After 3 different podcast attempts, we realized the one subject we never shut up about was what we should probably just make the topic of a podcast and it’s probably the smartest decision we’ve ever made.

How many podcasts deep are you now and do you ever fear the ideas would run out?

R: So far, we’re eleven episodes deep and feel like we’re just scratching the surface of what’s possible. It took us five episodes to figure out what exactly we are doing with this weird little thing of ours, and it shows. Those first few episodes are painful to listen to because we took ourselves way too seriously. Now, I truly feel we’ve established a bizarre voice for our podcast that is going to stick. Granted, that voice mostly stems from me being an absolute weirdo and Haley being the voice of sanity trying to steer our good ship “I’m Scum” to the hallowed “Port of Upload.” As far as running out of material…I don’t think we will need to worry about that. IDLES are a very busy band and the news and updates are pretty constant, plus there is so much music to discuss from them, as well as affiliated bands (something we recently covered), the new album, live shows, interviews with people in the AF GANG community and any other ideas that bubble up. We currently have our next five to six weeks of episodes planned out…so we can start worrying about it after that.

H: We’re about to publish our 11th episode and we did, once, get worried about running out of ideas. But once we sat down and actually listed out episode concepts and realized we had enough to last for months, I think it was pretty clear that it’ll take a long, long time before we run out of rambling concepts.

Have you ever had the opportunity to meet or speak with the band about your dedicated podcast?

R: Not yet. But we are keeping every single appendage and ligament and phantom limb crossed for that opportunity. I will say that because of them, we have gained an audience. For the past 4 or 5 episodes, they’ve retweeted the links to our podcast on twitter and we have gone from barely 100 listens to (as of today) 1200…all in the past thirty days. I remember the first time they retweeted us, both Haley and I burst into tears. It’s was so life affirming. Then add in the support from the community and fan base…and well…we’re honestly just beyond thrilled and humbled that people are taking interest in such a weird niche little podcast. But yeah…we are really, really hoping for an eventual interview or just to meet the guys when they come stateside in October.

H: Not yet, but I’m holding out hope!

Idles talk a lot about some of challenges we have as a country is there a lot that you can connect with in your own country?

R: Oh absolutely. Here in the states we are grappling with the rise of fascism is a truly terrifying way. An anti-fascist song like “Rottweiler”, for example, speaks to that very visceral part of me that sees the systems put in place and a need to “destroy it”. We suffer the constant strings of mass shootings on a near daily basis perpetrated by young white men with guns, so a song about combating toxic masculinity like “Samaritans” means so goddamn much. Our healthcare system is an absolute joke. People have to pay the hospital $2,000 just to have somewhere safe if they are in danger of self inflicted harm…and that’s just for the room in the hospital! That’s why “1049 Gotho” matters so much. Often the best mental healthcare we can afford here, is to talk to a friend and that’s it. It’s embarrassing. Then there’s the nightmarish reality of the way immigrants are being treated here. Children in fucking cages. Separated from their parents. Dying in those cages. It’s something that makes my blood boil on a near moment to moment basis…so thank Sky Cake for a song like “Danny Nedelko” that celebrates and champions immigrants and their struggles and even stating the fact that diversity is what makes us stronger. Understanding and unity are things we desperately need across the pond and IDLES are just the perfect soundtrack that is necessary to start bridging those gaps. Also, fuck Donald and fuck Boris…not literally…but let’s just tie them together and leave em on a pier with a rapidly increasing sea level. I think we can agree on that, right?

H: The UK and the US are going through quite a few similar issues right now. I think it parallels so strongly that it’s almost harder to find what doesn’t connect. The US is dealing with a terrible amount of racism and immigration issues, terrible people in charge, and an overall outcry for change for the better….I don’t make my political views unknown on our podcast, although I do tend to try and stay away from ranting (however much I fail at it), but the songs IDLES are really speaks to everything I’ve been feeling about the state of the world. I’m Scum, with the line “I’m lefty, I’m soft” and everything in I Dream Guillotine really say it right. An even with their live performances like at their Minneapolis show where they said “Viva Mexico” with a clear understanding of what we’re going through are perfect examples. 


Aside from obviously listening to Idles, what music, tv shows, movies or other podcasts have you been digging recently?

R: As far as music goes, I’ve been listening to a lot of artists I’ve gotten into as a result of IDLES…Heavy Lungs, Fontaines D.C., Cassels, JOHN, & Frauds to name a few.

I’m currently on my third rewatch of season three of “True Detective” (it’s my favorite show…including season two…don’t @ me) and going thru “Chernobyl” again. I’m honestly just waiting until the new “Peaky Blinders” comes stateside because it’s a great show…and this season apparently has a few IDLES tracks featured on it!

I really dug “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” because I grew up with kaiju flicks and really think they finally got it right with this one. Plus, it has a great message of existing in harmony with our world and each other. Not to mention there’s a scene where a fighter pilot ejects right into Rodan’smouth…which is just good stupid fun and I’m 100% here for it!

Haley got me into “My Brother, My Brother and Me” so I’ve begun the long hard journey listening to 8 years of content and laughing the whole way. That podcast is a goddamn gift to humanity.

H: I’m always going to be obsessed with the McElroy’s, so MBMBAM and The Adventure Zone are tops for me in podcasts. As for TV, I’m obsessed with Fleabag. I have re-watched it countless times. And in music, anything IDLES has basically introduced to us – Fontaines D.C., Frauds, John (times 2), Cassels, Heavy Lungs, Crows…the list could go on.

Finally, what would be your tip of the day?

R: Whatever that thing is you’ve thought about doing, but for whatever reason, haven’t…do that thing. Stop putting it off. You will probably stumble at first, you’ll probably fall…but picking yourself up is easier than you think. Just keep at it. Also, listen to more IDLES.

H: Always carry a toothbrush with you. Or, if I want to try and be heartfelt, never feel that a creative pursuit isn’t worth following through on because it always is.

We wish Haley and Russ all the best with their dedicated podcast and hope one day they will get to meet the guys themselves as a reward for their incredibly dedication to the band!

You can find out more on their podcasts by following the links below:

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/im-scum-an-idlescast/id1474397254

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