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Music Find Your Place with the band IDER

Sep. 30, 2021
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Find Your Place is a series of conversations and photographs with artists in their homes, captured online. It examines the current intersection of the physical and digital, sharing perspectives across different cities. Each discussion explores the theme of identity, creativity, and how we find our sense of self.

Next in the series is IDER, musical duo Megan Markwick and Lily Somerville. Stitching genres and weaving their voices seamlessly, their music bears witness to the intimate, shining a light on the intricacies of familiar experiences. The release of their debut album Emotional Education in 2019 captured the complexity of relationships, identity, and mental health with their sharp, evocative lyricism garnering critical acclaim. Two years later, they’re back with the release of their sophomore album shame, a bold collection of songs unveiling a new era for the band. This time they delve deeper, composing a tender declaration of all the things we’ve learned to be ashamed of. Standing in the face of these feelings, the album speaks unapologetically, never trying to edit or erase—but instead offering a moment to sit still.

I sat down and spoke with them about how their artistic practice has changed this past year, the conversations that inspire them, and their friendship.

Adolescent Content: What inspired you to first collaborate? 

Lily Somerville: We were doing a music course together and we hit it off instantly. We had a lot of good conversations that sparked our creative relationship. I think that’s still at the root of what we do, that ability to communicate and talk through things. Everyday therapy. The friendship comes hand in hand with [our] creative identity.

Adolescent: Is there anything you’ve learned since working together?

Megan Markwick: I honestly can’t remember writing before! We were both quite young—we were nineteen when we met. We were both writing songs in our teenage years, but it really did kick off for us [then]. 

Lily: I feel the thing that I’ve learned is that it’s never the same. I think realizing that has really taken the pressure off to be consistently creative and always be good at saying what you’re trying to say. I’ve learned a lot from being pushed to go deeper and not settle.

Adolescent: The new album is so beautiful. My favorite track is "Knocked Up." I love the way you almost exhale the lyrics. What conversations inspired the track?

Lily: I think the song started as a stream of consciousness and from personal experiences. The beauty of being in your late twenties is that [you gain] a bit of perspective and realize that maybe some of your thought patterns aren’t necessarily good for you. It’s so empowering to realize that it’s not all on your shoulders. That feels quite liberating [because it’s about] being able to forgive yourself. That’s where the core lyric comes from, the feeling of self-acceptance.

Meg: It’s like hugging your younger self in a way. I have this image in my head of stroking the back of your younger self. It’s not about fixing anything or finding a solution, it’s just about finding acceptance. Forgiving yourself, people, and things. The sharing of shame is what actually allows you to let go of it. 

Adolescent: What’s the main thing you’ve discovered when creating this album?

Meg: The biggest thing was being able to produce ourselves. We co-produced it and worked with wicked artists but very much in this co-production landscape. It sounds like it belongs to us fully. That’s influenced the writing, we wrote so traditionally for our first album, writing on the piano and guitar—there’s an amazing quality to that, but this time the production and the song writing have walked hand-in-hand. It encouraged us to write in a different way. So much of this album was about trying [things] in probably not the "right" way—but what is the "right" way, anyway?

Adolescent: What advice would you give to musicians wanting to release their own music?

Meg: I’d say definitely reach out to your friends and other people in the same position and to not be so concerned about the industry. I feel that everything has gone slightly back to DIY and I think that’s really cool. Hone your craft. 

Lily: Do it as much as possible and get to your confident place, so you [don’t have] a question mark over what you’re doing. 

Adolescent: You reference elements of Catholicism throughout the album, particularly in “Cross Yourself.” It’s really beautiful how you’ve aligned these bigger ideologies alongside these intimate experiences. What inspired the concept of this song?

Lily: I guess it comes from a fundamental search for meaning. I grew up in a Catholic family, which was my first experience of meaning or belief. As you grow up, [it’s] about trying to find your own meanings in life. That’s quite an external thing and it’s nice to have something to believe in and to invest your time in, whether it’s believing in artists, or the things that you do, or believing in a religion. It’s the idea of the real work being more internal than these external things that you attach meaning or belief to. It’s just exploring that idea really—a classic existential crisis. 

Adolescent: I like the way you’ve drawn parallels throughout—like the idea of godliness within our bodies in “Knocked Up”—but also through all these different aspects of redefining and exploring those themes.

Lily: What’s addressed a bit in this album is the idea of sex and shame. I think there’s shame around religion, around sex, and being a woman. I guess that’s everyone’s experience—but Catholicism and religion are also tied up in that stuff, which is what we talk a lot about [with] female empowerment and liberation.

Meg: There’s a lot of religious iconography scattered across the record but through the lens of reclaiming. It’s not damning—there’s no sense of blame, it’s just a sense of it being, "This is my experience."

Adolescent: What do you hope the album offers to those who listen?

Lily: Primarily, and this is true for all of our songs, but very much for this [album], we hope that it encourages people to open up, speak their truth, and share their shame.

Adolescent: If you could go back, what advice would you give to your younger selves or those in the same position?

Lily: There’s actually so much and it’s everything that’s a cliché! I think your biggest weakness, especially when you’re younger, is also your biggest strength, so embrace it.

Meg: I guess I would say to young women especially, although boys experience this too—that I wish there wasn’t so much worry, shame, or regret. We carry that a lot. It’s so much easier said than done, to say don’t worry, but I wish there was more of that being said. The main thing really is to not worry about fucking up, because fucking up is good in the end. You learn from it.   

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This interview has been edited and shortened for clarity.