How did it go for you?

Wednesday 14 December 2011, 13:47

Bethan Elfyn Bethan Elfyn

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Back in January 2011, a long long time ago, I wrote a blog post about all the bands I was excited by who had big plans afoot for the year. Before I write about a whole batch of new bands, I caught up with four of the bands from last year to see how they got on, to see if was indeed it was a good year for them.

Tom Winfield, Vvolves

Vvolves

Vvolves

What have you been up to in 2011?

"In 2011 we recorded and released our second EP When I'm Down. We've gigged all over the place: London, Manchester, Cardifff. It's been great! As well as releasing our own EP, we also got asked to be part of a Small Town America Records compilation album, that has since been released on 12" vinyl."

Can you tell me a couple of highlights from the year?

"The highlight of the year was definitely our release show at the Buffalo Bar in Cardiff in October. Although the gig didn't go terribly well, it was such a relief to get the record out. Four months' work paid off with most of the 50 handmade CDs sold on the night!"

What's next in terms of early 2012?

"I think we're recording two new singles at Christmas that will hopefully be released in January or February. Then summer 2012 will be EP number three time! We just want to continue playing."

Carwyn Ellis, Colorama

Colorama

Colorama

What have you been up to in 2011?

"Well, we did a bunch of touring, a bit of writing, a lot of recording, and released our first predominantly welsh language CD, Llyfr Lliwio/Colouring Book."

How was the experience?

"Very good all round! We recorded on the Isle Of Wight during the heatwave at Easter - that was particularly delightful. I did a couple of solo gigs at Home Game festival up in Fife in Scotland which was particularly fun, both as a performer and as a punter - lots of new music to digest. We played at Glastonbury too which was made fun by the company I kept, especially a night with The Bees after watching them play."

Do you have any concrete plans yet for early 2012?

"Lots on the way - we'll be re-releasing our early albums on vinyl, including our first album Cookie Zoo which has only hitherto been available in Japan. The next brand new album is also recorded (with Edwyn Collins producing) and will probably be out in the spring.

"It's rather different to our previous releases and we're particularly excited with the results. We'll be starting back on the road in late February too so come out and see us!"

Daniel Barnett, Samoans

Samoans

Samoans

What have you been up to in 2011?

"In March 2011, we released our debut single Somersault on 7" vinyl as a split with our good friends Strange News From Another Star, then another single Brothers/Blisters was released on limited edition cassette in June. We toured the UK twice, recorded a BBC Radio 1 live session and played Sŵn festival for the second time."

Can you tell me a couple of highlights from the year?

"This year has been great for us in terms of progress. We've worked hard to get our name out there a lot more by touring and playing as much as possible. One of our highlights has to be recording the BBC session for Jen Long's show. We were ecstatic when we were asked and to hear our new material on the radio made us believe what we are doing is right.

"Other highlights have included touring with awesome bands such as Nottingham's Without Maps and of course, Kutosis. But we'd probably all agree that playing Sŵn Festivalthe highlight of the year. So many people came to see us and the energy from the crowd was incredible. It was unlike any other show we've ever played."

What's next for Samoans?

"We have been steadily writing our forthcoming EP and are ready to enter the studio in the new year to record. We hope to release in the spring and then tour as much as possible throughout the year."

Angharad, Trwbador

Trwbador

Trwbador

What have you been up to in 2011?

"We released our début EP on 27 December 2010 so 2011 has been a really big year for us. We released our second EP, Sun In The Winter, in August and played a few festivals including Laugharne, Green Man and Sŵn. We played our first London gig at The Social for one of Huw Stephens' nights. We spent most of the year developing our ideas for an album and trying to find a comfortable live set up ready for 2012."

Can you tell me a couple of highlights from the year?

"2011 has been really cool. We've done a few radio sessions and had a lot of fun. Playing on S4Cs Bandit was a big highlight for us. Green Man was as well. These were two of the main goals we had as a group when starting out so it's great that we managed it."

Do you have any concrete plans yet for 2012?

"We will release a Welsh language single very early on, probably February. That will be followed by two English language singles and then our first album will hopefully be out by the summer. Fingers crossed, we'll still be getting asked to play gigs this time next year."

Hywel Evans, Truckers Of Husk

Hywel of Truckers Of Husk

Hywel of Truckers Of Husk

What have you been up to in 2011?

"Hello! In 2011 we eventually released the album we've all been working on for the past two or so years. So we're all super excited to have that finished."

Can you tell me a couple of highlights from the year?

"The gig at Sŵn festival was definitely a highlight. Although Ben said he will never play on stage with his top off again, we definitely will try to persuade him. Sŵn as a whole was a memorable weekend. Great bands from start to finish. Also the album launch at Clwb Ifor Bach was an awesome night. Like Kevin Costner said, 'If you build it, they will come'."

What's happening for you in the new year?

"We've started recording what might be an 7" or maybe even an EP to release around February/March, then as many gigs as we can manage (probably about three!)."

There have certainly been the bands people have been talking about this year, and I've really enjoyed their music, their releases, their gigs, and look forward to seeing a lot more of all of the above in 2012.

Tom, Man Without Country

What have you been up to in 2011?

"Quite a lot! We finished producing and recording the album in our home studio and worked with Ken Thomas (Sigur Rós, Moby, Cocteau Twins, etc.) on mixing the release. We played a showcase in LA, lots of UK shows and small festivals, supported Moby in London, did a small European tour with M83, and recorded a Maida Vale session for Huw Stephens.

"We did a few remixes for artists such as M83, Active Child, Moby and a few others which are due to be released in 2012. In August we released an EP titled King Complex, as a taste of what's to come from our album."

What were your highlights from the year?

"It's been a really great and productive year for us. The main highlights would have to be meeting Moby in his Hollywood castle and supporting M83 in Heaven, London."

What's next in early 2012?

"Our next single is released in February and the début album is set to be released in the spring. And lots of touring!"

Leon Stanford, Tiger Please

What have you been up to in 2011?

We spent most of the first part of the year on tour with bands like The Crave and Welsh heroes Funeral For A Friend, playing to some of the biggest crowds we've ever played to.We also had the chance to play the Cardiff City stadium on the opening home game of the season and also play our first ever headline tour around the UK.

We've also continued to write and demo new tracks for our début album, as well as recording two singles with Grammy Award-winning producer Gil Norton (Foo Fighters/Counting Crows/Pixies) and his engineer Dan Austin (Doves, Cherry Ghost etc) at the iconic Monow Valley Studios.

We finished the year off with another sold-out hometown show in Cardiff where we were joined by our string section and the beautiful voice of the young Greta Isaac, who has recently started recording demos with us to help achieve the sound for the album.

Can you give us a couple of highlights from the year?

Recording with Gil Norton and Dan Austin at Monnow Valley on album tracks was possibly one of the best experiences we've ever had.The recording took us into the early hours every night but we barely wanted to sleep anyway as the whole thing was like a dream. Gil has worked on albums that inspired me to want to be in a band, such as Counting Crows' Recovering The Satellites.

Writing our first album has been a hard, scary, emotional, but most of all brilliant experience. We've managed to write tracks that we're so proud of.The experience has been the highlight of my life let alone the year.

When we decided to write an album almost two years ago about other people who would send their life stories in to us, I never realised how much we were taking on. It's been very emotional, but that amazing feeling you get when you play the song to the person who it's about , for the first time at live show, makes it all worth it.

At our sold out show in Clwb Ifor Bach at the end of this year, we played a brand new song to a guy called Paul, who sent in a story about what it is to be a dad, and to see his face when we played it to him for the first time made the whole experience worthwhile. He later told me that he had told his eight-year-old son that we were writing a song about him and his dad, and his son was over the moon.

My main highlight of this year is meeting the brilliant and brave people that have let me into their life and let us tell their story in a song.They've truly inspired the band with their stories and made us very honoured and grateful about how beautiful the life we live is.

What's next in terms of early 2012? Have you made any plans yet?

We'll be recording the album as soon as possible, and then getting back on to the road and touring as much as we can until everyone has a copy of it!

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