AfterDark’s Dean Hodge Talks With Super Furry Animals’ Cian Ciarán – ‘The shows have sold really well so the pressure is on to deliver’

Cian Ciaran

Published on Cardiff AfterDark (30 Apr 2015)

This coming Friday in Cardiff marks the comeback of arguably one of its most revered exports – as 90’s psych-indie kings Super Furry Animals grace the Cardiff University Great Hall on May 1.

With a sell-out crowd awaiting the return of the Welsh rock icons, not an ounce of the huge sense of anticipation is lost over SFA member/synth maestro Cian Ciarán. Yet he shrugs off any nerves in his imitable laid-back, unassuming manner.

As if returning to duties as the synth wizard of SFA for their first UK tour in six years wasn’t enough to keep him busy, he has many other things to keep him occupied – he is currently touring with his new band Zefur Wolves (with his partner Estelle Ios among the line-up) in promotion of their self-titled debut album released earlier this month, and a solo album coinciding with the general election is set for release this summer. Continue reading

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Inside Cardiff: AfterDark Talks with John Rostron – ‘The Welsh scene has an independent, self-driven aesthetic that needs to be nurtured’

Published on Cardiff AfterDark (10 Apr 2015)

Dean Hodge talks to John Rostron ahead of the return of DimSwn to Cardiff this weekend.

One of the living symbols of independent Welsh music, John Rostron has played an instrumental role behind the scenes in shaping a musical culture that has helped put Wales firmly on the musical map, and arguably embodies the maverick ‘indie’ spirit that has come to define the scene.

Along with BBC Radio 1 DJ Huw Stephens, both men co-founded what is arguably one of the biggest indie festivals nationally Swn Festival, and the first National Music Prize for Wales, the Welsh Music Prize.

Like many shining lights in the music landscape, the Swn Festival found itself in a temporary moment of darkness as it was forced to scale down to an one-day event last year as opposed to the usual four-day marathon due to costs. Rather than bury its head in the sand, the festival rebranded itself as the aptly named DimSwn and responded with a colossal line-up of rising acts in their ascendancy, all condensed into one October day of musical majesty that proved Swn was far from being a sunken ship.

This weekend as the sunshine reappears, DimSwn recommences again in a new spring timeslot. Continue reading

Horizons/Gorwelion 2015 – New class of Welsh up-and-coming artists announced

Published on Cardiff AfterDark (7 April 2015)

A year ago, the Horizons Cymru project was launched for the very first time, with twelve homegrown acts chosen for the scheme by a panel of music industry experts.

Horizons/ Gorwelion is a scheme developed by BBC Cymru Wales, in partnership with Arts Council Wales, to promote new, independent contemporary music in Wales, with the main aim of supporting and endorsing emerging Welsh music talent to wider audiences. Last year, a dozen acts – Baby Queens, Candelas, Casi Wyn, Chris Jones, Climbing Trees, Gabrielle Murphy, Houdini Dax, Kizzy Crawford, The People The Poet, Plu, Seazoo and Swnami – were chosen to represent the scheme in its inaugural year, and have seen themselves elevated to new heights of attention and accolades over the eventful eight months since the project began.

As BBC Radio Wales host and Horizons project manager Bethan Elfyn said in her previous interview for AfterDark, “What I hope Horizons has achieved is giving all these artists the extra ambition to carry on and go even further then they would’ve, and in terms of success think more on an international level rather than nationally.”

The scheme has arguably shined a light on the Welsh music scene which has largely been overlooked, and flown the flag for the high quality of Welsh acts. With its mission to promote up-and-coming homegrown artists achieved to a highly respectable degree, Horizons now returns for its second instalment.

The lucky dozen chosen for Horzions 2015 has been announced this week – Aled Rheon, Cold Committee, Cut Ribbons, Dan Bettridge, Delyth McLean, Hannah Grace, HMS Morris, Mellt, Peasant’s King, Violet Skies, Y Reu and Yr Eira all make up the new, highly diverse batch of home-produced talent. AfterDark’s Dean Hodge guides you through the Horizons class of 2015 which you can expect to hear a lot more from over the next twelve months. Continue reading