I.R.O.K. are an enigma in the weird and wonderful world of music. We at Fame love discovering something new for our readers and with the wonderfully talented Intergalactic Republic Of Kongo we have done just that.
We hope you enjoy this interview with the band’s singer Mike Title and give their tunes a spin, you’ll be as hooked as us in no time. Here are highlights from our chat with the band.
Hi Mike. Thanks for taking the time to chat to us. You have a full length self-titled album available now. How would you describe it to our readers?
It’s noisy, rhythm-heavy incantations of a bad trip in a good place. Or a good trip in a bad place maybe. It veers from joyous to angry to states of bliss.
You formed in London, but spend a lot of your time gigging in Morocco and that general region. How did this come about?
Why wouldnt anyone want to play shows in Morocco? It’s the closest I have got to feeling like a time traveller returning to the past with bad news. It’s my own Marty Mcfly experience.
Are those fans any different from the ones in the UK or US?
I would say that they are much less inhibited. No one apologises afterwards for not dancing.
They just fucking go mad. I am not sure why the Western world is becoming more and more Conservative and self conscious. It’s worrying dont you think?I know you played some gigs in America recently and supported The Prodigy (Brixton Academy) too. Have you any US tours lined up and other possible high profile supports?
The new year should bring us some more exciting shows. I am looking
forward to doing our own tour too. I hope we get out to SXSW in Texas.
How did I.R.O.K. form?
Imagination, desire, opportunity. Like most relationships you go in with your heart but you use your head too.What inspires your music and how do the band go about creating a new track?
What inspires getting out of bed in the morning?
Are there any artists who inspire I.R.O.K.?
Sun Ra, Prince, James Brown, Dead Kennedeys, Frankie Knuckles, Fela Kuti, Nine inch nails……I could go on forever.
I have been reading a lot of very positive reviews of your work online. How does it feel to receive such kind words about your music and live shows?
It’s much better than people saying they hate you. In reality though neither of these outcomes matter on a personal level. Words are not important but actions are.
You dont want to clear a room. I think that people voting with their feet is the most important thing but getting them in the room in the first place comes from these words.One of your recent African tours was filmed. How did that documentary come to be made and what did you think of the finished product?
We filmed it all on our phones and then I came home and gave six hours of material to my friend Jose who then turned it into four minutes. We thought 4 minutes would be the right length.
Finally may we ask how the band wind down and relax after a performance?
Exactly the same way that Lenny Kravitz does.
To celebrate the release of I.R.O.K’s debut album, The Independent Republic of Kongo, they’re throwing a FREE party this Saturday 12th January at Birthdays in Dalston. The line-up is superb:
I.R.O.K – on stage approx 12am
Temple Of Coke
Man Like Me
Photos by : Steve Burke, Marina Novelli HQ and Alex Sainsbury.