When did you begin making music, and did you ever ponder a different career?
Gary – I learned to harmonise at about eight years old, listening to The Jam with my cousin – I was the Bruce Foxton to her Paul Weller. I started playing guitar about five years later; I bought a book of every Beatles song, and by the time I could play all those I was as passable as I’d ever get… As for a career, I always wanted to write in some way or other, and I’ve managed to keep my hand in by being a journalist – I edit the website for football magazine FourFourTwo… I was the replacement there for our drummer Nick Moore!
How would you describe your music?
Gary – “Various.” Some bands have a template they don’t stray far from – it’s a big deal if they get a haircut – but with us, we never quite know how things will end up, because we’ve all got different influences without having icons we slavishly copy. So it can end up in loads of different styles, or mash-ups of styles: the second side of this album goes from 70s riffrock to cowboy singalongs to Krautrock. It makes for an interesting creative process…
What have you been up to so far and what can we expect the following months?
Gary – We’ve recorded albums in Welsh and English, we’ve done gigs and festivals in loads of different places. We’ll be off out again in September and October to introduce the new album, but meantime we’ll be working on new stuff; we know of a lovely old venue so we might record a live EP there and film it all. We like to keep busy.
If you could duet with anyone, who would it be?
Gary – I play this game all the time, harmonising along to whatever I’m listening to: Our drummer Nick thinks I’d do a good duet with my fellow north-westerners Guy Garvey from Elbow or Jimi Goodwin from Doves. I’d love to sing with Crosby, Stills & Nash, but that wouldn’t be a duet, it’d be a quartet. And I must say I really enjoy singing with Griff (whispers: I have to say that or he’ll hit me).
What’s your desert island disc and why would you take this one album?
Gary – Excluding people I’ve already mentioned, and trying not to be too obvious, I might go for Supergrass’s I Should Coco. Starts off like a train on amphetamines and ends up, a dozen cracking songs later, in a gentle narcotic haze. So I could build a coconut raft in the fast early bit then listen to the last bit as I drift home over the ocean.