Every Monday we will be bringing you an unsigned singer or band as part of our Independent Music Monday feature. This week, we caught up with Oblong find out more about them…
Who is in the band, how did you meet, where are you from and how did you come up with the band name?
The band is oblong, and we are Rob Daniels (bass and vocals), Hyws Grav (drums) and Andrew Clement (guitar and vocals). We've known each other for most of our (long) lives, having grown up together in a small village in West Wales called Llangennech. Andrew and Hyws played in various bands together in their teens and 20s, including The Hepburns and the legendary Gerald & the Infant.
Many years had past when Rob and Andrew stumbled out of an inspiring Sauna Youth gig in Cardiff in 2015 and decided to form a band of their own. Hyws joined them at the end of the year, and oblong was born.
The name is intentionally oblique, although one reason we chose it is that it means the same in Welsh and English. It also looks good written down.
Who were your musical influences when you were growing up and who are your influences now?
Our teenage influences were mostly British new wave bands, in particular XTC, The Undertones, The Jam, The Stranglers, Killing Joke and maybe The Skids, Ruts and stuff like that. The Undertones are still a huge influence, but I'd say the Pixies, Teenage Fanclub, The Wedding Present, Nirvana and contemporary bands such as Sauna Youth, Monotony and even The Lovely Eggs all inform our sound. Listen and you'll probably hear a lot of Graham Coxon in the guitar playing.
How would you describe your sound?
Our sound is literally the culmination of 30 years of listening to all the above, but is essentially quirky, guitar-driven post-punk pop noise. Singing in Welsh and English gives our sound an unique flavour.
What is your latest single called and what was the influence behind it?
We don't have a single out at the moment but have just released our debut album, "Brilliant - Gwd".
What’s your local music scene like?
The broader Welsh music scene is very eclectic and diverse, but locally there's very little audience for anything other than rock covers bands/tribute bands/heavy rock and metal grunge sort of stuff. Having said that, The Masons Arms in Llanelli is great and the audiences are very enthusiastic! And The Parrot in Carmarthen is another wonderful venue which admirably puts on the cooler bands from the Welsh music scene.
What do you have planned for the next 12 months? Any albums or festivals?
Our debut album came out in May and has received some solid reviews and has been played on BBC Radio Wales and BBC Radio Cymru, particularly thanks to Rhys Mwyn and Lisa Gwilym who have played us nearly every week. We are trying to finalise a gig in Cardiff for September, and currently storyboarding a new video, but otherwise we're just working on new songs for the difficult second album, which could conceivably be ready by the end of this year. Beyond that is anyone's guess!
Is there anyone you’d love to collaborate with?
If there is one person we'd love to collaborate with it would be Poison Ivy Rorschach out of the Cramps, originator of the backhander and coolest guitarist ever!
Any funny stories surrounding your live performances?
Apart from the bewildering between-song banter, there's nothing funny about our live performances, although I did trip over a cable once while reaching over to adjust the gain structure on my amp.
What is the one thing that you want readers to know about your band?
If there's one thing we'd want readers to know about us it's that we don't really know what we're doing but we do it all the same. We are old and ugly enough to not give a shit.