When I meet Lily and Meg, the girls and best friends who make up the enchanting IDER, we’re standing in a field behind one of the smaller stages at Leefest, about to find a quiet spot to have a chat.
They arrived only about an hour beforehand and Meg, wearing some incredibly black and white dungarees I find myself being incredibly jealous of is munching on some chips that she’s managed to grab before while we sit down, as they only have a short amount of time before their set.
It’s been a busy year for the ‘Alt-pop’ duo, whose haunting harmonies paired with down-to-earth lyrics are making waves across the industry, leading to two sold out headline shows in London later this month. The music is crazy beautiful, there’s no doubt about it. The pairing of their voices layered so delicately on each track creates something unique, but has the capacity to touch to everyone who listens to it. When I first put my headphones on to have a listen, the first thought that sprung to mind was ‘when did Bon Iver turn into two girls living in North London?’ but Lily and Meg have a slightly harder time explaining their sound.
“Its RnB beats, but a bit poppy.” Lily tells me, While Meg shouts, “it’s just alternative!” When I try to coax an answer out of them, they’re a lot less than succinct but it adds to their infectious friendly charm. “I said to my friend the other day I was like ‘left pop’ and he was like pffft. He thought that was really cringe, he was like what a moron!”
We nosy onto the music we all listen to, and the girls start chatting about what’s currently on their playlists and you can definitely hear the strong influences of what they listen to, citing Frank Ocean and Lorde as current go-tos, but they say their musical journey through ‘IDER’s world’ has been quite a task.
“I think it’s changed a lot in simply what we’ve been listening to and with exploring different instruments, sounds, and working with different producers.” says Meg, “I think when we started working on it in London, it was quite a lot of new things going on for us, we got into certain albums and certain artists, we started really thinking about what we wanted to play. We’ve gone from quite acoustic to thinking about more interesting sounds and electronic stuff.”
It helps that the girls share not only a flat in North London, but also a room, freeing up the second bedroom for a studio space for the girls to make music whenever it comes to them. They also cite spilling the tea between friends as the main source of their writing material, which feeds into the general feel of the music as a whole. “Because we’re best mates and we live together, we spend so much time talking, we spend so much time chatting about everything. There’s so much of like life, and our experiences and other people and what’s going on that feeds then naturally into the music. Because of the context of how we write and our friendship, I guess it’s really focused on our voices, and the harmony and blend and that kind of stuff. So. It’s kind of pop, but with that focus on us and things like that.
“It’s just your set-up and how it works for you, and I’m sure have IDER’s world if we didn’t live together, but it would just look different, because our lives would be different, and what you’re creating is a reflection of life and your situation.”
But it’s not just melodic RnB that’s causing a stir amongst influences, grime artist, and all round talented man, Stormzy is a go to. Lily talks to me about how it’s weird having music be your actual job. But commanding a stage is a learned skill, and it takes time, practice and above all, confidence to find your feet.
“The people who really nail it, it’s always because it’s just coming from themselves. You can’t be like ‘oh my god i love the way she like put her leg there on that thing’ because then if you try to do it, it doesn’t work!’” Meg then reminds us that if Lily ever puts her leg up on stage now we’ll know it’s a copied trick, and now unfortunately for her it’s online. “We want to tap into the energy rather than the physicality of it,” Lily laughs back.
But sometimes it can be hard to take inspiration from other artists and jealousy ensues. I know myself, if I feel overwhelmed by the wealth of talent out there I can find myself in a downward spiral where I’m just not making the cut, and they both agree.
“I think everyone feels like that!” says Lily, “I can pinpoint that feeling, more to when I was younger. I remember I used to do drama and singing and I stopped for a bit, so when I saw someone else doing it i was like, literally i need to kill that person so I can be up there doing that! There’s always so many things you want to do, but I think it comes from when you’re not doing what you want to be doing in your own life, I think as soon as you feel you’re getting your outlet, then it doesn’t matter as much.”
So, are IDER worth listening to? Definitely. Is not jumping in the van with them when they offered, one of the biggest mistakes of my life? 99% sure the answer to that one is also yes. But i’ll have to learn to live with my heartbreaking mistake, and besides there’s always next time.
Words by Ella Guthrie