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Brits 2019: Why IDLES say winning an award would be 'meaningless'

IDLES in the live lounge
Image caption IDLES in the Radio 1 Live Lounge

When the 2019 Brit Award nominations were revealed, a name on the British breakthrough list caught people's eye.

IDLES, who are alongside Ella Mai, Jorja Smith, Tom Walker and Mabel, became the first punk act to be up for the award.

"It makes sense in one way because we were number five in the album chart," says singer Joe Talbot.

"On the other side it doesn't feel right. Compared to the sales and money behind many pop acts... we're a drop in the ocean."

The Bristol five-piece say the nomination is "a beautiful thing" but insist they don't need to win to have an impact on the ceremony and its viewers.

"For our hard work to be appreciated feels great. But we're not better than anyone else and we don't think that," explains Joe.

"We're not going to turn it down but it's not on our radar. We'd be the same band before or after a Brit Award, it's meaningless."

"Being nominated is not meaningless. Us being part of the conversation, that's the important bit."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Catfish and the Bottlemen were the last band to win British breakthrough in 2016. Blossoms were the last guitar act nominated the year after

The Brits have, understandably, established a tradition of celebrating mainstream pop acts.

But with the more left-field acts like Aphex Twin being up for best male this year and grime acts like Skepta and J Hus getting a nod in the British breakthrough category in the last few years, IDLES guitarist Mark Bowen suggests their nomination is "maybe a sign that things are changing a bit".

"They didn't need to give us this opportunity - it's an amazing thing that's happened," he adds.

Joe suggests there's "a huge need for change".

"When you've got some very similar pop music everywhere and not much choice for kids I think it's important for them to see another side of things.

"Whether it be grime, punk or hardcore - there are a million things out there that are great and interesting.

"It's good for people to just see that. However they get hold of it... we hope we can stick our foot in the door and open a conversation."

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