Words: Lexi Goodland | Header Image: Lottie Turner
London based pop duo, IDER, made up of best friends Lily Somerville and Megan Markwick, have been blazing a trail in the world of pop music since the release of their first single ‘Sorry’ in 2016.
Two years and 7 singles later, IDER are now preparing to embark on their first UK and European tour beginning, no less, in the town where it all started – Falmouth.
The announcement follows the release of their 8th single ‘Mirror’ on October 18th 2018 which was met by the eager and anticipating ear drums of their many fans, including mine.
And now, my eager and anticipating ear drums – well one at least – is pressed firmly to my phone as I chat to Lily and Megan from the floor of my bedroom in the small town of Falmouth, Cornwall; the town where the possibility of IDER blossomed, and the town which will see the girls kick of their tour in February this year.
“It’s quite nerve-racking” the girls agreed, “we don’t know what to expect. But it’s also really exciting, and so heart-warming to think of going back down there.”
Despite its size, and the fact that it is pretty much entirely overlooked by anyone outside the realms of the South-West, Falmouth boasts an incredibly intimate, passionate and thriving music scene. The quaint seaside town has been a hub for creativity since the establishment of Falmouth School of Art in 1902. Since then, this school has grown and blossomed into one of the country’s leading creative arts universities.
It was here, at Falmouth University, where Lily and Megan first met, having both embarked on the three-year Popular Music course in 2011.
“We became friends really early on,” Meg told me. “In the first term we got put into a group together, then quite quickly we started doing stuff by ourselves, the two of us, just singing and playing things. It was an instant friendship.”
Although coming from two very different areas – Meg from North London and Lily from Tamworth in Staffordshire – music has always been a big part of the girls’ lives.
Meg began: “It’s been kind of forever really that playing and writing music has been a passion. My family’s musical and my dad encouraged me and my sisters to learn the piano and have singing lessons. We were always singing around the house and I guess that’s how it started. I started to write music when I was about 13 or 14 and that’s when music became a personal thing for me. I was making conscious decisions of who I wanted to listen to and what I wanted to write about. So that was the turning point I think, when it started to become a very personal thing.”
Lily then added: “I remember when I was about 8 years old, after my brother quit playing the piano, begging my mum to let me have piano lessons. She thought I’d quit after a year like my brother did, so I had to really convince her to spend money on me. I’d always written songs and things from such an early age. My family is kind of musical on a wider level, so I’d always write things and sing them to the family from the age of like 6, just ridiculous silly songs. So I think it was, as well, always part of life and I’ve just grown up with it.”
As a student at Falmouth University myself, I’m always interested in how people ended up here. The town is pretty unknown to most, being located practically at the very end of the country. Although, as an acclaimed creative arts university, many who aspire to succeed in the creative industry are often drawn to somewhere as unique and eclectic as Falmouth.
For Meg, a born and bred city girl, moving to somewhere like Falmouth, a place set far out in the countryside, miles away from the city, seemed completely alien to her. Lily, on the other hand, who wasn’t completely sold on university, came down the year before to do some sailing and fell in love with the town.
I asked them how they managed to make the incredible leap they have done from university graduates to a successful, up-and-coming band.
“It was really challenging,” Lily told me, Meg agreeing in the background. “We left university and we were doing a few different gigs. We were in such a little bubble down in Falmouth which was so amazing, but we definitely had a bit of a transitional period where we had to decide whether we really wanted to pursue it or not.
That’s when we started writing under IDER and moved into this new project and started challenging ourselves and working with new people. It definitely was, and still is, a lot of hard work. There are so many ups and downs and incredible moments and achievements, but also, it’s just a hard fucking graft. I guess it’s just about continuing to put the work in. So many people are talented enough, it’s just about whether you’re willing to put your back into it.”
And that’s exactly what these girls have done. The last four years have seen Lily and Meg work to create a distinct and recognisable sound which has garnered a huge following. Although predominantly categorised as ‘pop’, their music takes influences from ‘RnB’, ‘electronic’, ‘folk’, and ‘alternative’. Their lyrics are raw and personal, laced with emotion. Singles like ‘Sorry’, ‘Pulse’, ‘King Ruby’ and ‘You’ve Got Your Whole Life Ahead of You Baby’ are just a few examples of the heart-stopping, goose-bump-inducing tracks they’ve given us.
“What we write about is always quite personal and real,” Lily explained. “It comes from experiences we’ve had or conversations we’ve had with people, things that we’re processing or thinking about. That’s the inspiration really, it’s a need to process and talk about things. We do that a lot, we’ll bring different things to the table, we’ll talk through things. Our friendship is part of the song writing process.”
Their most recent single, ‘Mirror’, a feel-good break-up anthem that has you irresistibly dancing around your room, completely encompasses what IDER is. Beginning with an airy, dream-like pop sound, the song gradually draws in an electronic vibe and heavy beats, intertwined with shimmering harmonies. Their music strives for a connection, allowing listeners to feel validated and empowered through their songs.
Listen to ‘Mirror’ here:
Telling me about the inspiration behind the song, the band explained: “It’s about a break up and how that leaves you sometimes feeling as though you’ve lost your sense of self. When you’re with someone, you kind of attach your identity and your happiness to that person, so when you’re no longer with them, you have to figure that out again for yourself. That’s where the idea behind the song came from.”
The girls went on to add: “But it’s also, generally, about human nature and how people do this stuff and we will do it to others. We will hurt people as much as people will hurt us, it’s part of being an adult and being human. It’s about remembering that people are sh** and we all are, but at the end of the day, that’s okay and we’ll all be okay. That’s the overarching message of the song.”
This year has a huge number of things in the pipeline for IDER. The girls shared with me their plans for a complete album (cannot wait), a ton of promotional and PR events, lots of travelling, including a couple shows in the US, and, of course, their greatly anticipated UK and European tour this February, quite appropriately beginning in Falmouth. And you can bet I will be there.
Get tickets to their European tour here.
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