Adwaith, the ludicrously talented Carmarthen-based outfit, first came to our attention last year with their stunning debut single, Pwysau. Sung in Welsh, Pwysua was a song that went beyond mere language, in its subtle melodies and melancholies it had us declaring Adwaith the future of Welsh music, and we’ve heard no reason to change our mind since.
This week the band returned with a brand new double-A single, Femme/Lipstick Coch. The release once again showcases Adwaith’s versatility as songwriters; Femme is a classically indie-pop track in the mould of The Go! Team or Camera Obscura, while Lipstick Coch is gorgeous, sun-kissed psych-pop. Lyrically, Femme is their most obviously angry song to date. Beneath the track’s pop overtones lurks a cry for true gender-equality, as Hollie sings, “I love being a women, men can grope us and get away with it” and latterly, “someone please explain because I don’t understand, thought I was a slut but I was acting like a man”. A powerful message lurking beneath a shimmering track of melodic perfection, it’s simply one of the year’s finest singles.
Read on to our Q&A with Adwaith, where they discuss future plans, the importance of bands being political and how they ended up eating soggy cheese sandwiches outside Datblygu’s house.
FTR: For those who don’t know already, who are Adwaith?
Hollie: We are a 3 piece experimental post punk band from Carmarthenshire, Wales. Adwaith consists of Hollie Singer (vocals,guitar), Gwenllian Anthony (bass, keys, mandolin), and Heledd Owen (drums).
FTR: Your name translates as Reaction, what’s the thinking behind it?
Hollie: One of our mothers asked what reaction was in Welsh, and we just thought “Oh, that would make a cool band name!”
Gwenllian: Yeah we were really lazy about it to be hones!
FTR: You’ve got a Double A-side single out now, what can you tell us about recording FEMME/Lipstick Coch?
Hollie: We recorded the tracks in Musicbox Studios, Cardiff. We worked with producer Steffan Pringle (the same wonderful man who we have worked with on the last 2 singles), and it was amazing. Steff just really gets our sound and adds so much to the songs. Working in a creative and focused environment as a band and with Steff, we get so much done! We’re so excited to share them with everyone.
Gwenllian: We get 2 songs done in a day, it’s incredible. He completely understands where we want to go with our music! We recorded Lipstick Coch in Maida Vale a couple of months ago which was insane!
FTR: The record is coming out on Libertino, how did that come about?
Hollie: Our lovely manager and record label Gruff Owen, came to see one of our gigs around a year and a half ago. He messaged us not long after to go for a meeting about being on a label! He does so much for us and we’re so grateful. The label really gives us a certain drive as a band.
Gwenllian: We wouldn’t be anywhere without Gruff, he’s our kick in the behind!
FTR: Do you think labels are still important?
Hollie: 100% definitely still important. They always will be, especially in small towns like where we are from. It’s a way to get your music out there in a professional way so people take you seriously. It always keeps us on our toes as a band to be writing material and being focused.
FTR: What are your earliest musical memories?
Hollie: We’ve all grown up around music. Between the 3 of us, many of our family members have been in bands. We started playing our instruments when we were younger and therefore have always been a part of our lives.
Gwenllian: Yeah my dad is really into music and has always forced me to listen to good music, even though I did go through my awful charts/dubstep phase!
FTR: Your press release has probably the most eclectic list of influences we’ve ever seen. Who inspires you to make music?
Hollie: We have so many inspirations. Mainly we could collectively come up with – The Slits, Happy Mondays, Velvet Underground and Wolf Alice.
FTR: What about influences outside of music? Are you interested in other art forms?
Hollie: We’re definitely all interested in the arts. There’s so many ways you can express yourselves, but music has always been our number 1.
Gwenllian: I think day-to-day life inspires me! working in a bar, we get a massive array of people from different background and really inspires me to write songs about them.
FTR: You worked with Patricia Morgan (Datblygu), how did that come about?
Hollie: Our label managed to sort out a session with her and we we’re all so excited! She helped us improve our first single ‘Pwysau’ by suggesting adding drums.
Gwenllian: ……and she locked us out of her house for 15 minutes, in the rain with soggy cheese sandwiches Haha
FTR: You sing in both English and Welsh, is promoting/maintaining the Welsh language important to you?
Hollie: It’s definitely important to us as a band. The Welsh music scene is thriving at the minute and people want to listen. It’s really encouraging.
FTR: Do you think music is a viable career?
Hollie: We do! With two members of the band going to music colleges in September we have our fingers crossed.
FTR: Why do you think so much great music come out of Wales?
Hollie: Probably because there’s nothing else to do. People have time to over think things and write good songs.
FTR: You recently did a session at Maida Vale. That’s obviously amazing for such a new act, what was the experience like?
Hollie: It was the most amazing experience ever! You could really feel the history of the place. We can’t thank Huw Stephens enough.
FTR: You’ve previously spoken openly about mental health issues, politics, feminism. Do you think it’s important that bands use their platform to talk about non-musical issues?
Hollie: It’s so important. You have a chance to educate and learn from people. Every band or artist should do it.
Gwenllian: I mean as a band, we’ve experienced sexism, mental health problems ourselves and I think it’s really important that we can give young people especially a place to talk and people to talk to.
FTR: Have you got any live plans? What can people expect from an Adwaith live show?
Hollie: We organised our own gig called ‘FEMME’ on the 7th of July in The Parrot, Carmarthen. The line-up consisted of Ani Glass, us, and Chroma. The money went to Woman’s Aid charity. It was a way of celebrating woman in the Welsh scene, we are arranging more FEMME nights around Wales and hopefully over the border in Bristol and London before the end of the year. We also performed at Latitude Festival on the BBC introducing stage last weekend and we have Festival No. 6 at the end of the summer, playing on the horizons stage! We are far too excited. Expect the unexpected.
FTR: What’s next for Adwaith?
Hollie: We have just recorded our debut album that will be out in the near future (keep your eyes peeled). But honestly, we have no idea. Things have happened so quickly for us! We’re just going to put our heads down and write as much as we can. We’re so thankful for the support everyone has given us.
Femme/Lipstick Coch is out August 25th via Libertino Records. Click HERE for more information on Adwaith.