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Music

Interview: Aled Rheon

aled

You’re from Cardiff? Is this your first time in Wrexham?

Yeah, I’m having a really good time in Wrexham. It’s my first time in Wrexham.

Tell us about what it means to be involved in something like Focus Wales.

It’s great to be involved in Focus Wales. It’s a showcase of great talent from all over Wales really. It’s a privilege to be able to play here.

Do you think a festival of this type is great for music and for up-and-coming acts?

Yes I do. I think it gives people I chance to see bands that they possibly wouldn’t have even heard of before. I was at Central Station last night and it was great because they had two stages. So you’d have one band playing and then another. So you had the chance to watch the bands, or not watch them, but you could still listen to them all. It was a great way to showcase the great bands from Wales.

What style of music do you play?

I guess, you get put in the singer / songwriter bracket which is fair enough. How would I describe it? Finger-picky and mellow.

I did notice the long nails on your right hand.

Yeah. It’s not the most aesthetic thing but it’s kind of suffering for my art.

Who do you draw on as your influences?

All sorts really. From when I first started listening to music it was kind of Britpop. So being from Wales; Super Furry Animals, Gorky’s, Manic Street Preachers but also Oasis, Blur, Pulp and Radiohead. That was a great time to start listening to music because it was like an explosion of bands. But then I started looking at my Dad’s record collection and saw all these singer / songwriters from the ‘60s; Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, people like that. So obviously they influence you – and Hendrix and Pink Floyd – everything you hear influences you in some way, whether good or bad. So hopefully you’ll be able to pick out the essence of different artists in my music.

So quite an eclectic mix then. Does that come across on the EP?

Yeah, I hope so. I put a lot of thought into writing my songs and my lyrics and I hope that comes across.

Tell us about the new EP.

The EP is called Ser Yn Disgyn which means Stars Are Falling. It’s taken from one of the lines in one of my songs on the EP. It’s a Welsh language EP, released last year. It’s my first EP, it’s got six songs so it’s kind of a long EP or a short album. It was great to get a chance to record my Welsh songs. My first language is Welsh and it’s great to be able to sing in Welsh.

So, as you’ve said, all the songs are in Welsh on this album; is that the usual thing or do you do some in English and some in Welsh?

I used to write in English exclusively because I was a bit scared of writing in Welsh. I think it’s a beautiful language and I didn’t know whether I could… I think I was just a bit nervous about doing it because I wanted to do it justice. I don’t know whether I was just thinking too much into it, I’m not sure. But I also write songs in English as well and at the moment I’m working on English material.

Which do you prefer recording music in; Welsh or English?

I treat them both as being the same. It’s great, obviously, to be able to sing in Welsh because it’s my first language and I’m really proud of my Welsh heritage. But also, I would never translate one of my songs from English to Welsh, or Welsh to English, because it’s work by itself. You write a song with lyrics for that particular song and if you translate them, it kind of loses a little bit. I think anyway, that’s personally how I think about it. So I keep it as every song is different.

Fitting the mood with the language, if you like?

Exactly. They’re different languages. It’s the flow of words and everything like that. It has a massive impact going with the tune so I think they’re all unique pieces. I don’t prefer either language.

Where are you playing tonight?

I’m playing tonight at Un Deg Un at 7.30.

What can people expect from the set? Are you looking forward to finally getting on stage?

Yes I am, actually. As I said, I came down yesterday to have a look at some of the music. I walked around some of the venues and there’s some really great venues here. I went to the Church, which is just amazing, there’s amazing acoustics there. Then Central Station, where they’ve got two stages. They’re great venues so I’m just really looking forward to it now. When you’re seeing other people play, you just want to be on stage!

What can we expect from the set?

I’m going to play a mixture of Welsh and English songs. I’ll play some from the EP Ser Yn Disgyn, I’ll play some English ones and hopefully I can play a couple of new ones; never heard before. Fingers crossed they’re going to go well! I was practicing them last night.

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About Alex Watt

I’m a writer, not a fighter. Freelancer, NCTJ student and comedian. Write for the Mirror, 411mania, the Denbighshire Free Press and more.

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