Roddy Woomble has changed a great deal since the early days of Idlewild. Having watched one of the band’s final pre-hiatus shows back in May 2010, there was a real sense that the band were reaching backwards to find their heavier moments: a melancholy had descended, and the anger of the 100 Broken Windows/ Hope Is Important era seemed to be rocking on its last legs. What emerged from the wreckage is perhaps a better representation of Roddy’s true character. The man who was once a symbol of Scottish rock music now resides on a tiny Hebrides island, where he produced latest record The Impossible Song & Other Songs by drawing on the disconnected vibe and utilizing the assorted musicians who happened to pass through. The result is a distinctly folky album, downbeat and graceful, it has more in common with the likes of Laura Marling and Bob Dylan than the wrought, raw emotion of his angry earlier material.
“My influences come from all over the place these days”, Roddy tells us. “I listen to a lot of jazz and blues and music from the 60s and 70s, as well as a lot of contemporary music. Obviously living in the Inner Hebrides is going to give you a very different perspective to say living in New York. I go through phases with different writers, and that has an effect, too. I read a lot, and of course that seeps into my music. I don’t want to write protest anthems about pollution, or get involved in direct action or anything like that, but the sound really reflects where I live. The thought process behind my songs is like watching gulls swooping around in the sky.”
“The album was slowly constructed over the space of half a year”, Roddy explains, “it has a solid foundation of the same people, but then we got contributions from a handful of musicians who passed through. There are instruments that none of us can play, like saxophone. I always wanted to put saxophone on Idlewild records, but the rest of the guys didn’t go for it. It was creative in a way I’ve never tried before. Generally speaking I’ve always been in a band. Going solo is the chance to be very expressive. I’m a totally different person now. When we were young we were influenced by Black Flag, Nirvana and Fugazi, but my taste has evolved naturally, like many music fans’ tastes do. Folk records have definitely become important to me”.