With their powerful second album, ‘O Monolith’, which is just as massive as its title suggests, the Brighton quintet have given British rock a breath of fresh air. Meet the band.

Squid | Qobuz Interview


Squid, like so many other bands, is first and foremost a bunch of mates having a ball. Ollie Judge (vocals, drums), Louis Borlase (guitar), Arthur Leadbetter (keyboards), Laurie Nankivell (bass, horns) and Anton Pearson (guitar, vocals) started playing together in 2016 in Brighton where they were studying, without any specific goal in mind. The move to recording eventually came very quickly: first self-produced singles, then the Town Center EP in 2019 on Speedy Wunderground, the label of the much-loved Dan Carey. Then the legendary Warp Records immediately sensed their potential and signed them for a debut album of edgy punk music, Bright Green Field, on which Ollie screams into the microphone - he explains why he didn’t really have a choice in the interview.

For their second album, the Englishmen delve deeper into the subtleties. The nuances of an experimental, abstract rock, on the verge of chaos and movement. It’s elusive, no doubt because its singular gestation began directly on stage, during their Fieldworks Tour across the English countryside, in front of an audience seated in tiny halls. This real-life test enabled them to sculpt their songs on the spot, to take the pulse of the audience, before continuing with the demos in Bristol and completing the whole thing at Peter Gabriel’s prestigious Real World studios.

There, the pastoral charm of Wiltshire and the pampering of the local experts gave birth to O Monolith, which we awarded a Qobuzissime when it was released in June. Ollie Judge and Louis Borlase talk to us about their rapid evolution as a band, the unusual incubation of O Monolith, their exploration of sound and structure, their incessant need to move forward, and their hesitations, right up to the liberation of the recording.