Ah, Radio Luxembourg, young, gifted and Welsh. The talented quartet who are quite partial to multi-coloured shirts are: Alun Gaffey (guitar/backing vocals) Meilyr Jones (bass/ Vocals) Dylan Hughes (keyboards/guitar/backing vocals) Ben Herrick (all manner of the percussive experience). I exchanged notes with the lovely Dylan to discuss music and misfits who kill old ladies...
Soundsxp: Who are Radio Luxembourg and what's with your name? In wikipedia your name is snuggled beside radio stations that bear that name. Is your name a nod to these stations? Is that an obvious question?
Dylan: Radio Luxembourg are a four piece psych-pop band from Aberystwyth. Our name was inspired by the ethos of pirate radio - standing for creative and exciting music that’s slightly left of mainstream + we just thought it was a cool name really!
Soundsxp: So tell me about your single ’Cartoon Cariad / Where is Dennis’. It's had some good reviews and so it should, for it's quite a lovely affair. P.S Who is Dennis?
Dylan: It was a single we released on Peski records last October on 7” and download. 'Where is Dennis?' is the sinister tale of a teenage boy's misadventures abroad. It's sort of a murder mystery song, about a quiet boy who's a misfit, and there is growing speculation as the song progresses that he is abusing/killing old ladies (but the song addresses the dark theme in an upbeat kind of way I hope!). It's quite inspired by Alfred Hitchcock and Syd Barrett. The second track 'Cartoon Cariad' (Cartoon Love) is a sweet pop tune about being in love in school.
Soundsxp: How hard is it to master the Welsh language. 'Sut dach chi.' I hope that means 'How are you?' That's what I was told it meant. Apologies if that was an insult!
Dylan: Aye it does mean ‘How are you?’ I guess it’s quite hard to learn any language (German GCSE was anyway!), we haven’t really thought of it 'cause it’s our first language.
Soundsxp: Joking aside, your nationality and keeping your language alive is obviously important to you?
Dylan: Aye it is, but in the context of the band we don’t really think of it that much. We’re Welsh as far as (a) we’re from Wales and (b) speak Welsh etc but music-wise I’m not sure that what were doing is distinctly Welsh? – but I don’t know. We’re not ‘world music’ if you know what I mean?! We’re doing the same toilet venues as the average band etc. But yes our language and nationality is important to us.
Soundsxp: They say you should judge a band by the company they keep (they don't, but pretend). Tell me about some of the bands that you have played with and whether or not they have been a positive influence.
Dylan: Ymm – we’ve played with quite a lot of bands so it’s hard to remember. We went on a tour with Euros Childs (who has also produced a few of our singles), and he was a really positive influence musically/recording. We tend to get on with everyone really (to an extent) – we got on well with Riz Mc when we did the Electric Proms tour in October, and it was amazing seeing him perform every night. But socially unless it’s a gig/festival we tend to hang around with non-band friends – we’re not too interested in climbing the social indie ladder or whatever. We get on with just about everyone who’s nice and cool, some are good influences, other are not!
Soundsxp: I really liked your EP, Diwrnod efo’r Anifeiliaid (A Day With The Animals) Could it really chase away the winter gloom? And what inspired its creation?
Dylan: Thanks. We just wanted to make a really cool and poppy EP that was quite summery and melodic. There isn’t a concept of Animals running through it, but all the songs sit well together (I hope) and it feels like it works as an EP.
Soundsxp: Are zoos the new rock and roll?
Dylan: Ymm…I’m not sure if zoos will catch on. Seeing a monkey sleep on a branch is only fun for about 2mins tops!
Soundsxp: I still love the video for 'Os Chi’n lladd Cindy' though my Welsh fails me when trying to decipher what is going on in the song. Is it about a girl who you knock down and immortalise into doll form for your sins? Or is the song about something entirely different and you're just having a laugh with the video? Who was the force behind that video because it's pretty impressive.
Dylan: Glad you like it. That was done by the graphics company ‘Rough Collie’ in Cardiff. We did the video for a Welsh music program called ‘Bandit’ (one of the perks of being Welsh!) Yes, it’s about knocking a girl called Cindy down, but in a fun/happy way!
Soundsxp: Who influences Radio Luxembourg, if anyone?
Dylan: (in no particular order) The Beatles. E.L.O. Love. Murry the Hump. Syd Barrett. (early) Pink Floyd. Super Furry Animals. The Brian Jonestown Massacre. Serge Gainsbourg. Grandaddy. Meic Stevens. The Beach Boys. Radiohead. The Crimea. Lou Reed. Tontos Expanding Head Band. Scott Walker. The Libertines. Zabrinski. The Doors. Queen. The Rutles. George Formby. Gorky's Zygotic Mynci. Euros Childs. The Byrds. David Bowie. Doo-wop. The Kinks. Fiery Furnaces. The Velvet Underground. Incredible String Band. Animal Collective. Vashti Bunyan. Rocket Science. The Coral. The Zombies. Os Mutantes. Harry Partch. Hot Chip. Daniel Johnston. Kevin Ayers.
Soundsxp: What is wrong with the world today?
Dylan: People are buying records less and are easily influenced by certain media…also war and famine and all that!
Soundsxp: Are you 'Only the band The Beatles could have been' or is that a reference to an Alan Partridge quote?
Dylan: 'Tis an Alan Partidge quote we thought was quite funny.
Soundsxp: So I've been sifting through your pictures (on your website not your personal albums) and sometimes brightly patterned shirts are the order of the day. Does your clothing style reflect your psychedelic sounds or do you give your wardrobe little thought?
Dylan: I’m not sure – I guess we wear them (a) because we think they look cool, (b) to turn a few heads (c) because they're NOT fashionable and you wouldn’t see an indie scene Camden band wearing them! We really like 60s fashion/music and the shirts reflect that I guess.
Soundsxp: Who is laughing at the end of 'Mostyn a Diego'? It's a cheeky laugh.
Dylan: That would be Meilyr (who sings), he was doing a vocal take, and we were piling harmonies on to the end bit, and the highest one sounded so ridiculous he just burst out laughing (we kept the laughing in…and the harmony as well).
Soundsxp: Are you doing any festivals this year?
Dylan: Aye – we’ve confirmed a few and still trying to finalise other. All info will be on myspace shortly.
Soundsxp: How do you say 'Yes, we'll do a version of Mr Blue Sky for you, Mary.' in Welsh?
Dylan: (Mr Blue Sky – great song, even better band). “Ie, newn ni neud fersiwn o Mr Blue Sky I ti Mary”.
Soundsxp: Finally when it gets to December 31st of this year what will Radio Luxembourg hope to be able to say?
Dylan: “Fuck, I really didn’t expect to be on Jools Holland Hootenanny with Super Furry Animals, Radiohead and Lou Reed”.
Now that is one Hootenanny I would tune into especially seeing as you're going to do a cover of Mr Blue Sky for me...oh yes, you agreed, Dylan. It's in print...