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Music Interview: Gwenno

Words By: Laurent Shervington

Hello, how are you? Where in the world are you currently?

I’m good thanks. I’m in Cardiff, at home. It’s just gone half past nine in the morning here.

So your awesome debut album ‘Y Dydd Olaf’ is nearing it’s 2 year anniversary, how do you feel about now looking back on it?

It’s been quite nice as I’ve been recording the second album recently so I’ve had some time to reflect on everything. I think when you travel a lot you don’t get a chance to take everything in as well because you’re constantly moving. But it’s been a bit of whirlwind, the whole period has been crazy, I’ve had a baby in that time and it’s been fantastic. It’s been an incredibly positive and welcoming experience looking back.

How did you find the songs translated to a live setting?

It’s kind of been evolving over the past couple of years really – there’s always been a constant balance between the electronic side of what I’m doing and the live side. The last album was made on a laptop with a lot of processing and work from the producer, so I think the sound has evolved a lot from their original form. It’s a learning experience for me, but they’re still pop songs as well and I have a sense of story behind them.

Do you prefer recording/song writing to live to live performance? Which do you think is overall more satisfying?

I really like both, I’m recording my second album now and it’s really exciting. With writing there’s this initial fear and you worry and agonise for a long time about what you’re going  write about. You can kind of forget that that you’ve ever written a song and then all of a sudden something triggers your imagination and you’re in the middle of it. There’s nothing more exciting then discovering sound and discovering chords and lyrics and all of those things that happen when you write a song. Playing live is brilliant because you connect with other people, it’s an open-ended conversation essentially as a performer. It’s a call and response that you have with the audience. They’re very different experiences, but I love them both.

You mention you’re working on your new album, what stage are you at with that?

Yeah! I’m getting there. I have a framework of what it is, I’ve written a lot of the songs and I’m really excited about it. It’s nice reflecting on what I’ve got so far, like looking back on the debut. It’s exciting and feeds into playing live, which I’m very excited to do in Australia.

Would you say the second album is in a similar vein to your debut, are you pushing a particular part of your sound further?

I think in sentiment, I was born in a Welsh-Cornish household and I’m interested in a kind of alternative history to mainstream narriatives. I suppose it is on a similar path, exploring more and I think I’ve learnt a lot since then. I’m hoping it’ll be an evolving thing.

Any release dates in mind?

I think probably next summer. That’s the idea I think, I’m really excited about it.

So I understand you’re going on tour soon, what places are you going?

Well I’ve got a couple more gigs in the UK and then one in the Netherlands, it’s been quite a busy period.

I understand it’s your first Australian tour, are you excited?

As a solo artist yes it is, I’ve been a few times with my old band in 2008 and I played keyboards with PNAU so I’ve been a few times. Really enjoyed it, very very excited to come back.

Catch Gwenno at Mojos on the 8th of October – Tickets here