After coming off the stage of their debut London headline show, Squid talk their second album, the power of U2 and record shopping in Japan.

According to Squid, we’re all doomed. Or at least, that’s the biggest takeaway from their brilliant debut album ‘Bright Green Field’, which came out in 2021. The Bristol post-punkers have tested the limits of listenability with a discography that draws on free jazz and kraut rock. And on their first record, our generation’s failures are out for everyone to hear.


Signed to Warp records, Squid met at Brighton University, but it wasn’t long before they fell into a scene with the likes of Goat Girl and Black Midi – of whom share the band’s beautifully idiosyncratic tendencies. On ‘Bright Green Field’, they resourcefully use scrap metal and medieval instruments to create the frenetic whirlpool of sounds mushrooming from Dan Carey’s producing habits.


Recorded in lockdown, creating the album wasn’t the band’s only hampering during Covid-19. Scheduled to play their debut headline show as Scala, three years later, Squid have only just been able to grace the venue’s stage. Nevertheless, they announced their second album ‘O Monolith’ this week, alongside a new single and UK tour in October.


“Swing (In a Dream)” is our first taste off the record. A predictably chaotic return, the track’s toppling palette of percussion and Ollie Judge’s piercing vocals chime in a way only Squid can. Accompanied by nightmarish, Where’s Wally-esque visuals, the single marks a hedonistic return to the fold for Ollie Judge and co, who look set for a remarkable 2023.


A few days after their debut London headline show, Ollie from Squid tells us about their second album, the power of U2 and record shopping in Japan.

Hey Squid! How’s it going? Have you settled into 2023 yet?

Good thanks. We did a little residency in Falmouth a few weeks ago. We got to use a writing space in a venue called The Cornish Bank in exchange for a gig. It was great and we played a gig of music we had written in that week. We rarely get to do things like that anymore so it was a real treat.

It’s been well over a year since your incredible debut album ‘Bright Green Field’ came out. Looking back, have there been any memorable moments on the journey so far?

Far too many. I need to start keeping a journal of these things really. Working with Nigel Godrich on his From The Basement show was really fun. In Rainbows and Kid A are the two albums I listen to whenever we start writing for a new project. I always think “ok, imagine if we came out with something as perfect as this”, so working with the guy who made those records with Radiohead was a huge deal for me. But even better than that was recording our second album in the room next to where Tom Jones was also making a record. This also wasn’t our first run in with Sir Tom too, he played at the Brudenell Social Club in Leeds just hours before we did and turned up in a Mercedes with black tinted windows. We managed to sneak in and see him at work, his stage patter is the best I’ve ever seen. What a guy.

Thanks to the album’s success, you toured the world during 2022, playing everywhere from Japan to Canada. Were there any gigs that particularly stood out? And do you have any anecdotes from the experience that you can share with us?

Going to Japan for Summer Sonic Festival was surreal and incredibly humbling. It was one of those moments that made us collectively so proud of ourselves. There’s also a special place reserved in my brain to remember the tuna sashimi and okinomiyaki out there.

If you would like people to take one thing away from a Squid show, what would it be and why?

Some Squid merch because doing anything in the UK in 2023 is very expensive.

Your gigs are usually filled with energy, however, if Squid were to host their own festival, who would top the bill and why?

Maybe U2. We’re obsessed with the song “Beautiful Day” so if we could reach a deal where they just play that tune for about an hour or two, that’d be perfect.  I’d definitely like to bring back Bowie to headline, but exclusively playing the Labyrinth soundtrack or his jungle record or a collab with U2 singing “Beautiful Day”.

Considering you had such a tour-filled schedule in 2022, were you able to hit the studio and record new music? If so, how’s it shaping up and comparing to the debut album?

Oh you bet. We’ve finished the second album, I’m still not really sure how to describe it, there’s a lot more space in the music and It contains a track which I personally think is the best thing we’ve written. I think we’re starting to show a different side to our music that’s less immediate and more about dynamics and patience. It feels like a great bridge into our third album which we’re starting to think about.

Both in music and beyond, is there anything sparking your current creativity? Touring the world must have opened you up to a wealth of new music.

A wealth of new music for sure, I love record shopping when we go abroad. The record shops in Japan were mad, whole floors dedicated to specific genres. I regret not digging deep into the huge J-pop and city pop sections out there, it just felt a little overwhelming. I did manage to get an original pressing of the soundtrack to the film Hausu, which I’ve been looking for for ages. In terms of creativity, I’ve found that my lyrical inspiration is coming solely from books, TV and film at the moment. I like making an interpretation of what I’m reading or watching and treat that as another arm of the plot, creating a story within the story. I’ve been reading lots of books about evil people with redeeming qualities.
You finally played Scala, the long-awaited London show that was supposed to be your debut headline. How does it feel and what did fans get from the show?
Yeah, it seems mad to have finally played the gig that was doomed to never happen. It was kind of weird because when we announced the original Scala show in 2019 it was a huge deal for us, then it never happened and we just skipped the gig and went straight into playing to 3000 people at Printworks. It felt like we’d missed a step, so it was nice to honour that show with the same excitement as we had about it back then. People got some new tunes but not loads of surprises because we’ve actually been playing half of our second record live for quite a while now.
Do you have pre-show rituals? Or do any individual members have quirks that they stick to before going on stage?
We listen to “Beautiful Day” by U2.

What’s Squid manifesting for the year ahead? Or is there anything you’re particularly looking forward to in 2023?

Looking forward to writing lots of new music and maybe recording some new music, who knows? I’m also looking forward to doing a UK tour cos we haven’t done one of them in a long old time.

Listen to their new release below: