Thursday, 31 March 2016

On Stage: Only The Brave, Wales Millennium Centre

Based on the real lives of men and women caught up in the D-Day landings, Wales Millennium Centre’s first full scale musical, Only The Brave certainly packs a punch with presentation.

Both heart-breaking and inspirational, the musical recounts the true story of two couples brought together by events in World War II, Captain John and Joy Howard and Lieutenant Denham and Maggie Brotheridge.

Only The Brave commences with a senior version of John Howard (played by Second World War veteran Peter Davies) looking back at the events from a hospital bed. The passion, camaraderie and courage that men and women displayed leading up to the D Day landings weaves in and out of events in England and occupied France, accompanied by an original musical score from Matthew Brind and Steve Marmion.

David Thaxton and Neil McDermott are at the forefront of the action as Captain John Howard and Lieutenant Denham Brotheridge respectively. Not only do they deliver believable characterisations but also lead their platoon with vocal strength on songs Only The Brave and Band of Brothers.

The musical's strengths lie in its more humane moments , from the companies’ rendition of Cuppa Tea (a tribute to the essential front-line beverage) to Wally Parr’s questioning of events in What The Hell Am I Doing? sung with conviction by Thomas Aldridge.

Other moving moments are the ladies of the company performing Regret and Sympathy, while French resistance captives Isabelle (Nikki Mae) and Madame Vian (Helen Hobson) face the prospect of an uncertain future as they duet on Can It Be True?

Hitting the right notes both cast and musicians had a deserved standing ovation at the climax of the Thursday evening performance, a strong indication that this could be the first of many successful presentations of Only The Brave.

On Stage: Jem & Ella, Newport Riverfront

As I'm a forty-something Dad with a teenage daughter, I felt it important to visit The Riverfront studio on Thursday afternoon to catch Run Ragged Productions latest dance show, Jem & Ella which is currently touring theatres across Wales.

Directed by Paula Crutchlow and performed by father and daughter team Jem and Ella Treays, the show focuses on change and transition in the pair’s lives through dance, dialogue, sign language and mime.

The show itself is a culminate snapshot of Jem and Ella’s father and daughter relationship of the last two years. Ella, a 12 year old, soon to be teenager is constrained to fitting in her passion, ballet, between school timetables, washing up and Netflix. Jem is also dealing with his own pressures as a dance artiste, while developing a bald patch, fixing the shower, sending belated greeting cards and hitting the milestone age of 50.

A celebration of the father/daughter relationship, Jem & Ella brings a personal scenario to the forefront with a beautiful honesty. The show highlights the importance of giving each other space and accepting each others differences through solo dance routines. Importantly though it also displays through carefully placed choreography the importance of putting differences aside and how strength and trust can be found in collaboration and communication.

Accessible, identifiable and even challenging, Jem & Ella is a must-see show for all the family, particularly fathers and daughters! There are three further performances to catch at Cardiff’s Sherman Theatre on April 8 and 9. Visit for details.

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

On Stage: Jacqueline Wilson's Hetty Feather, New Theatre, Cardiff

‘You can be whoever you want to be’ is the message that comes through in the musical adaptation of Jacqueline Wilson’s best selling novel Hetty Feather currently playing at Cardiff’s New Theatre.  The show follows plucky Victorian heroine, Hetty, through the trials and tribulations of her life. As a baby she was left at London’s Foundling Hospital and is now set on finding her mother, via foster families, tyrannical matrons and a travelling circus.

Of course in true Jacqueline Wilson style, there are a fair share of laughter and tears along the way with the story keeping one foot in the world of gritty realism as well as imagining the hopes and dreams of a Victorian Orphan.

Writers Emma Reeves and Sally Cookson along with composer Benji Power have breathed further magic into Jacqueline Wilson’s story book and brought Hetty’s story to life for the whole family to enjoy.

Envisaging Hetty’s dream of joining the circus, her story is related from a circus ring made up of hoops, ribbons and ropes and told through a talented team of five actors and three musicians through music, song and dance.

Phoebe Thomas heads the cast with an endearing and dynamic portrayal of Hetty, which sees the actress literally pushed from pillar to post as the action unfolds. Her co-stars similarly follow through with dynamic performances, frequently doubling up as orphans or circus characters (including a particularly Monty Python-esque circus slot as show horses).

The accompanying music provided by Luke Potter and Seamas H.Carey provides further atmosphere to the show, including a cheeky Victorian rendition of Eye of The Tiger accompanying the circus’ Strongest Man In The World routine.

The theatrical family treat for Easter, Hetty Feather continues at the New Theatre until April 3.  For further details about the show or to book tickets visit or call the Box Office on (029) 2087 8889.

Friday, 25 March 2016

Meet The Artist: Jeff Rosenstock

American singer/songwriter Jeff Rosenstock visits Cardiff’s Clwb Ifor Bach on March 31 with London rockers Great Cynics. Jeff willbe playing songs from his latest release We Cool? which features his own twisted version of an indie-pop/punk while maintaining a penchant for keeping things weird and fun. Andy Howells recently put questions to the performer who delivered his answers in an equally fun style…

How did you get started in the music industry?
When I was about five years old I played a tornado in a community theatre production of the musical Wizard of Oz. My task as a child was to push a small platform on wheels around the stage, and it got out of my tiny hands and fell off the stage. Afterwards I was yelled at by the owner of the theatre for being a failure thus beginning my thrilling career in the music industry.

How would you describe your music?
Enthusiastic pop with a weird chord here and there but it's kinda always the same weird chord so it's not really weird anymore huh.

Who are your musical inspirations?
For me it would have to be the three B's: Bach, Beethoven, Baha Men.

Can you tell us about your most recent album?
No I'm so sorry, the label has forbidden me from discussing it (you know piracy Napster etc) but I will say this - we used over 2,000 microphones to record it.

What’s been your live show highlight so far?
It's gotta be Billy Joel live at Madison Square Garden. Wow! What a gig!

What can we expect from your forthcoming Cardiff Gig?
You pay some money, you walk in, you wait in line for the bar and then you get a drink... You browse the merch you think "maybe later" then you watch Jimmy and think "hmm... This is pretty good!" You go to the bathroom or water closet I don't know then you're back at merch and you spill a little beer on a record and hope Christine doesn't notice and then you think "that's the shirt" but Great Cynics have started so you watch them and you're like "wow this is good" so you watch them. Then another drink seems likely and then we start playing and you're watching and like "OK this is cool" then you yell for a bomb the music industry song and we don't play it and you'll be like "oh well but OK" then the show is over and you queue up for merch and then the person in front of you buys the last medium shirt of the design you wanted and you're a medium.

What can we expect from you in the future?
Flying cars.

  • Jeff Rosenstock plays Cardiff’s Clwb Ifor Bach on March 31. Visit for further details.
  • A version of this Q&A appears in The South Wales Argus entertainment section The Guide on March 25, 2016.

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Meet The Artist: Ant Law

Guitarist and composer Ant Law is back on tour this Spring performing with his new trio music as well as favourites from his critically acclaimed debut album. His tour brings him to Monmouth’s Queen’s Head on March 30 where Matt Ridley joins him on double bass and the drum chair is split between Asaf Sirkis and Dave Hamblett.

Over the last decade, Law has established himself as a significant compositional talent with an unorthodox yet original guitar approach working in new improvisation-focused music. He studied at Edinburgh University and Berklee College of Music and now lives in London, regularly performing with renowned musicians such as Tim Garland, Jason Rebello and Paul Riley. Law is a pioneer in the ’Perfect Fourths’ tuning system for guitarists and is a published author on the subject. Andy Howells recently put questions to him.

What lead you to becoming a musician?
My Mum put headphones on her belly when I was in the womb – it probably started then! And when I was born I emerged strumming my umbilical chord! Seriously though, in my family we always listened to lots of music. I had a Queen video and a Guns 'n' Roses video, Brian May and Slash were both very inspiring. More practically speaking though, it wasn't until I started to study for a Physics degree that I realised that subject wasn't for me, and that I had to some way be able to survive by playing music! So I started to practice all day instead of going to lectures!

Who or what has inspired you most on your musical journey?
Every now and then I am fortunate enough to travel a little, and I find that inspiring from a life point of view. In other words, it inspires me to live, and since music is a part of my life, that means practice, composition etc. It's not that I am influenced by music from other cultures directly. For example, I went to Brazil, I love the music there and certainly found it inspiring, but you won't hear anything that sounds Brazilian in my music. I don't know if that makes sense...?

Can you give us some background about your most recent album?
My most recent album was Zero Sum World, released last year on Whirlwind Recordings to great acclaim. In the international press in particular it was very well received, which was nice. That features the UK's finest Michael Chillingworth (alto sax, bass clarinet), Ivo Neame (piano), Tom Farmer (bass), and James Maddren (drums) and is all my compositions. It's my second album as a leader and is basically a modern jazz quintet playing music that is an amalgam of everything that has ever gone into my brain, from Gnawa music from Morocco, Messaien, Jazz, Blues and so on.

You’re touring shortly are you looking forward to that?
I am really looking forward to it. I have toured the UK extensively over the last 3 or so years, but never with a trio, it's always been larger ensembles like quintets or quartets. When it's just bass and drums, there is much more room to explore! And being a guitarist who owns lots and lots of pedals and effects, it's really exciting to experiment with those types of things and see what weird and wonderful sounds I can create. The drummer on the tour is Will Glaser, he is a very exciting young cat that seems to have everything together, and has played my music lots in the past. Matt Ridley will be on double bass - we have a chemistry that has developed over years of playing together in my band and other bands too. It's always very very good musically to do tours, even though they can be gruelling in some ways!

What can people expect from your forthcoming Monmouth gig?
It's going to be an exciting evening full of virtuosity and spontaneity. There'll be lots of interesting rhythmic stuff going on, and it'll be nearly all my own original music. It's influenced a great deal by music from South India, but this isn't always audible to the untrained ear, since we don't use Indian instruments.

What are you enjoying listening to at the moment?
It's always a bit of a range of stuff; I have been really digging Eddie Harris of late. For jazz guitar type music I check out lots of Ben Monder and Kurt Rosenwinkel. Ben, Mark Giuliana and some other amazing jazz musicians are on the new (and final) Bowie album which is a really interesting listen. Classically speaking, a friend introduced me to Thomas Ades last year, and I'm really into him, I also saw Ravel's Waltz performed which is one of my favourites! In terms of more popular music, I have two albums by Hiatus Kaiyote, and I like Knower too...

  • Visit Ant Law's official website.
  • A version of this Q&A appears in The South Wales Argus entertainment supplement The Guide on March 25, 2016

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Revitalised Reef Back On Tour - Jack Bessant Q&A

Following  their recent guest appearance on the newly resurrected 90s hit show TFI Friday, performing an acoustic version of  their worldwide hit Place Your Hands, London Alt-Rockers Reef are back on tour and heading to Cardiff's Tram Shed venue on March 25.

Vocalist Gary Stringer, bassist Jack Bessant and drummer Dominic Greensmith will be joined Jesse Wood who replaced  Kenwyn House on lead guitar last year.  Formerly of the Ronnie Wood band/Faces/Red Racer, and a long time fan of the band, Jesse has given Reef a fresh impetus with his enthusiasm and energy. Andy Howells put questions to Jack Bessant about the bands current tour.

Reef are back on the road are you all looking forward to getting your music back out there?
We are all really enjoying playing so much right now and the sound we are making is really appealing to the modern rock fans out there. We are having a blast and Jesse on guitar is adding a fresh element along with the keys provided by Andy Wallace. Really happy to be a part of this tour and we have the best crew of people to travel and work with..

Whats been your best live experience as a band and why?
With this current line up the best experience has been doing our live recording at St Ives, Guildhall with George Drakoulias. He came over form America to oversee the gigs and we had such a great couple of days surfing, hanging out and focusing on the music. The live album sounds really good and can be purchased on the tour..

You’ve got a new band member – how has that affected the direction and style of the band as a whole?
It's just a fresh time and we are enjoying writing, It seems natural. Some songs have been brought to the party in a near finished state but there is also the four of us jamming and coming up with songs and riffs in a spontaneous and creative way. Similar to the vibes we had going on when Reef first started. Jesse is a lovely gent to hang out  and work with in this creative manner. Nice one Jess!

You’ve got a new single called How I Got Over– can you tell us about that?
Yes the new single came out on March 12 and it has just been A listed on Radio 2 which is amazing for us. As mentioned before we have been working with George Drakoulias again and we recorded this song on the Sunday following the St Ives Shows. We made our way up to London and recorded it in Richmond 'State of Arc studios'. Then Gary went to L.A to record the vocal a few weeks later with along with some backing Gospel singers that George knew and extra keys. The song choice was different for Reef but we all liked it straight away and it was a real challenge for us.Super cool!

There's also a new album in the pipeline. What can you tell us about that?
We are playing number of new songs on the tour and we are hoping to record an album or an EP after the tour to keep Reef's momentum going. There is nothing better than trying the songs out in front of a live audience.We are just talking again with George to see when we can get down to it . Where, when, which songs? etc. It would feel and be great to continue working with George as he is a lovely creative music man.

You created such an iconic track in the 90s with Place Your Hands – did you realise it would become such a classic when you were putting it together?
We were having fun with music at the time and had some interesting and experienced people working with us like Muff Winwood and Lincoln Elias. They picked up on the song as being a strong contender for a hit and when George put his magic touch to it anything was possible, the whole album ended up being a great sounding record and we are really proud of it..

Your visiting Cardiff soon, do you have any memories of your first gig in Wales?
I can remember playing at one of the Universities and it being a great punk rock n roll show. Massive buzz in the room after. A real rock out with energy coming off band and crowd. More please!

What can people expect from your forthcoming Cardiff show?
We would love for people to be going home with big smiles on their faces!

  • A version of this Q&A by Andy Howells appeared in The South Wales Argus entertainment supplement The Guide on March 18, 2016
  • For more information on Reef, visit their official website.

Friday, 18 March 2016

Meet The Band: Heck

2015 was a difficult year for Matt Reynolds, Jonny Hall, Paul Shelley and Tom Marsh AKA Heck. Having cemented their reputation as Baby Godzilla since 2012, with a deserved notoriety for redefining the word havoc, their live performances a ballistic barrage of flaying limbs and hurled instruments, out of nowhere came the news that the Japanese cinema giant were legally forcing them to change their name. Whilst this caused no end of grief for the Nottingham based chaos-quartet, delaying the release of their much anticipated debut album, it did not, and nothing will, stop them.

October saw the release of The Breakers single, the first new music under the new handle. A barrage of monstrously heavy riffs and wild-eyed energy, it firmly stated that although the name had changed, the mission was the same and now Heck are primed and ready to take 2016 by storm with the release of their debut album and a tour across the UK Their only Wales date will be at Swansea Sin City Riff Raff venue on March 18. Andy Howells recently put questions to Matt from the band.

How did the band form?
Like most bands we were just like-minded friends. We all played in separate bands in the same town and respected each other as players before we started our own thing. I guess we all wanted something more and saw each other as a way of getting that. I think at the time we thought we were re-inventing the wheel when in reality we’d just poached each other out of our local bands to practice as quietly as we could in the living room of a terraced house. We crafted a drum kit out of an armchair, some pillows and a set of bongos though. I think being cooped up for that long effected us, the frustration definitely translated as ferocity as soon as we were able to play our songs full whack to 5 or 6 unsuspecting onlookers. That’s certainly a quality we’ve held on to in our attitude to playing live, it’s very important to have fun, otherwise you may as well be trying to not disturb the neighbours in your front room.

Can you give us some background about your forthcoming album?
Instructions is the culmination and celebration of our work as a DIY band to date. It’s a build up of frustration and a release of pent up anger and emotion. It’s been such a hard road getting to the stage of this record coming out. By rights we should have been at this point 18 months ago, but through meeting every brick wall we ever could in this ever more fickle and restrictive industry we have found ourselves here. The record itself has picked up all the sedimentary bricks and mortar from every wall we’ve managed to break past. I’m very proud of what we’ve come out with.

You’re touring shortly are you looking forward to that?
Tour is the best place on Earth to us and there’s no place we’d rather be as a band. However the build up to tour is one of the most intense and potentially stressful experiences imaginable. All of our stuff is generally in a state of disrepair, so you find yourself in the month(s) leading up to being on the road accounting for every eventuality that could go wrong. Scrambling around for components, frantically “road testing” guitars (this usually means swinging it around and bashing it into things to see what falls off). Then there’s each of our rigorous pre-tour work-out rituals to get our stamina up. It’s exhausting, but once we get out there it’s all worth it.

What can people expect from your forthcoming Swansea gig?
Last time we played in Swansea there was blood, broken glass and a shout off outside in a bus lane. However doing the same show twice has never really been our thing so expect none of that. It could go one of two ways, it will either be that times ten or a nice civilised affair with a Q & A and tea and biscuits at the end.

What are you enjoying listening to at the moment?
All the wonderful silky smooth pop music that I can cram into my ears. Every now and then it’s nice to go on a big pop binge; it’s like taking your ears on a holiday. My particular favourites are Hall and Oates, Steely Dan and I have a ‘not so secret’ love for the more recent Panic! At the Disco material; the last two albums are pop masterpieces. So all of that plus Purple by Baroness because it’s incredible.

What else have you got planned for the rest of the year?
From the release of our album we hope to pack our bags and not come back for a very long time. Tour, tour, tour. We’re also going to squeeze in a bunch of festival appearances too starting with our return to Download festival.
  • For further information on Heck visit their official website
  • A version of this Q&A by Andy Howells appears in The South Wales Argus entertainment supplement The Guide on March 18, 2016.

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Paul Daniels 1938-2016

I had the privilege of interviewing Paul Daniels back in 2013 when he was preparing for his First Farewell Tour with Debbie McGee. Paul, I, have to say was a bit of a legend to me, I had memories of watching his magic show on TV back in the late 1970s/early 1980s.

It was quite thrilling when the phone rang and both Paul and Debbie were at the other end of the line, discussing their forthcoming show, how they met and Paul's career on television. Paul, of course, was honest when he gave me his own take on his TV success back in the 1980s:
“Television is the theatre on the wall or on the stand in your living room, if you’re doing workingmen’s clubs you have one set of performance rules, if you have cabaret clubs it’s different again. Come television time, I would get American guests for example and they’d go “We’ve got 16 million viewers!” and I’d say “Whoa! you’ve got four! They’re sitting 12 feet away from you on a settee” Once you perform to that technique you become a much better television presenter.”
I can't pretend to say that I knew Paul Daniels, but in a way, I did know him through the medium of the TV set of which he came into our homes every Saturday evening in the 1980s as our family, like so many others, united in watching his latest magical performance - and that WAS magic! Thank you Paul!

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Meet The Artist: Steven James Adams

Steven James Adams, the former songwriter/singer/guitarist from the critically acclaimed Broken Family Band plays Cardiff’s Moon Club on March 15.

Steven will be playing tracks from his second solo album, Old Magick. The album with minimal instrumentation is, in part, a reaction to his first solo outing House Music (2013), recorded in his living room and featuring an array of musical friends, including members of bands as disparate as pop-rockers The Vaccines and folk-idols Lau.  Andy Howells recently put questions to the singer/songwriter.

How did you become an artist?
I don't know how I became an artist. I was always a bit of a show-off when I was a kid and I got into writing songs when I was a messed-up teenager.

Where are you from?
My family moved around a lot but for most of my childhood we lived in South Wales, near Monmouth. When I was older we moved just over the border but I went to school in Monmouth. Normally when people ask where I'm from I say "I say I'm from Wales but I'm not".

How would you describe your music style?

What's been your best live experience?
Impossible to say. Too many to mention! A lot of them have involved booze, which makes it hard to make a sound judgement.

You have a new album out  can you tell us more about that?
It's called Old Magick and it came out on March 4 on Fortuna Pop! It's a kind of stripped-back, folky, indie rock record, without too much rock. Or folk. I've made a lot of records with bands and as a solo artist and this is probably the best one.

What can people expect from your forthcoming Cardiff gig?
They should expect me to play some songs and talk a lot. I like to make each show feel like a one-off and work the room, like a bad DJ with no record decks. It's my birthday that night so I might forget the odd lyric.

Will you be returning to Wales sometime in the future?
As often as I can. The next time I'm playing in Wales is at Green Man Festival, which will be a blast.

Where can people hear your music?
All the usual places; record shops, iTunes, my website: 

  • A version of this Q&A by Andy Howells appears in The South Wales Argus entertainment supplement The Guide on March 11, 2016

Laughter Lines - Gein's Family Giftshop Trophy Tour Comes To Wales

Following total sell out seasons at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe (2014 and 2015) and acclaimed seasons at London’s iconic Soho Theatre, the award-winning Gein’s Family Giftshop will perform at Cardiff's Clwb Ifor Bach next week on their debut UK tour.

The group, made up of Kath Hughes, Edward Easton, James Meehan and Kiri Pritchard-Mclean,(the silent member in name only), has been gigging for just over three years.  They met whilst studying at The University of Salford, quickly bonding over a shared love of black comedies, serial killers and Walton Ford.  Andy Howells recently put questions to the team..

First things first, how did Gein’s Family Giftshop come together and where did you all get the name from?
We all met in the wilderness of higher education, the University of Salford to be precise.
Our name is a combination of our favourite things-

  • Murderers (Ed Gein)
  • Family (never know when you might need a kidney)
  • And Giftshops (We love pencil toppers).

What makes you all laugh?
Kath's impression of her Music teacher singing in French, it's a travesty we've not managed to work it into a show. Maybe that can be a special for the tour?

Who are your comedy heroes and inspirations?
We all love The League of Gentlemen,  Jam, Spaced and that goat who yells like a man on YouTube.

Gein's Family Giftshop
Photo: Drew Forsyth
Gein’s Family Giftshop’s Trophy Tour will be your debut tour, so what can people expect from the shows?
Nudity. For real, you should know that before you arrive. It is fleeting though, like all the best nudity/feelings of nausea. The show is a combination of our two Edinburgh shows, the best bits of course. Normally people wait a career to do this stuff so don't be surprised if we implode after this tour.

You’re coming to Cardiff and you’ve previously had work featured on BBC Radio Wales can you tell us more about that and how was that received?
We loved working with Radio Wales. We met our producers, Rubber Chicken, at the fringe as Tom Price (joint head chicken*) was performing in the same room as us. They managed to wangle us three half hours on the radio and it was so fun. Radio Wales are very supportive and by that we mean they let us swear a bit.
It's been really nice because each half hour was totally different and unrelated and everyone seems to have their favourite.

People may have also recently seen your work on Dave TV’s Crackanory and your Christmas Comedy Short for Sky TV – were they fun to do?
They were both glorious adventures and steep learning curves, like climbing Mount Everest or writing for TV. Exactly like writing for TV.

What has been your funniest or most bizarre experience as a team so far?
When we all ordered the exact same thing from KFC, sort of a melding of minds moment, you know when you're so in tune with other people and then BAM! Four Wicked Zinger Tower Burger Meals with Pepsi Max. Heart stopping stuff.

Looking ahead for 2016 – what can we expect from you all beyond the tour?
Well, hopefully Radio Wales will let us swear on the radio again. Jim and Kiri are going up the fringe with their first stand up shows. Fingers crossed they go really badly and we can all go back to flogging this ailing horse again. If they go well Kath and Ed have vowed to avenge all those that have wronged them, or inter-railing around Europe, not decided which yet.

Where can people find out more about your work?
We have a website- We also have a Twitter and Facebook we post on all the time. You have to find those yourself though, that's sort of the first challenge.
  • Gein's Family Giftshop will play Cardiff's Clwb Ifor Bach on March 15 visit or for ticket details.
  • A version of this Q&A by Andy Howells appears in The South Wales Argus entertainment supplement The Guide on March 11, 2016.
  • *This means he jointly owns the company. It is not a delicious dish from KFC, it should be though.

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Meet The Band: Flowers

London trio Flowers, are back this month with their second album Everybody's Dying to Meet You. Over the course of ten intensely thrilling pop songs, singer Rachel Kennedy’s ethereal vocals and Sam Ayres textured guitar are backed by the powerful, metronomic beat of drummer Jordan Hockley.

Flowers began with Sam’s year-long search for a singer, and when he posted one last fateful advert, stating he wanted to make pop songs like "early Madonna through a broken tape machine", this led him to Rachel. Their initial demos were polished up by none other than Bernard Butler, and turned into their album debut Do What You Want To, It's What You Should Do released in 2013.

For Everybody’s Dying to Meet You the band retreated to Bark Studios in Walthamstow to work with producer Brian O’Shaughnessy. They are also currently touring the UK and will play Cardiff’s Moon Club on March 4. Andy Howells recently put questions to Rachel Kennedy from the group.

Who are you and how did you come together?
We're Flowers, individually Sam, Rachel and Jordan. Sam formed the band, he'd known Jordan in college and remembered he was a really good drummer, and he found me through an ad looking for a singer!

Where are you from?
Sam and I are from London, Jordan's moved around all over the place but now he lives in London too.

How would you describe your music style?
Sometimes noisy indie pop.

What's been your best live experience?
There have been a lot of different "best"s... For example, we did a show in New York a couple of years ago and we thought it was the WORST we'd ever sounded, but it went down the best ever with the crowd, maybe because they'd been waiting a long time to see us there, so even though we thought it was a disaster at the time the audience's reaction made it one of our favourite ever shows, I guess the flood of relief helped!

Can you tell us about your new album Everybody’s Dying to Meet You?
Yes we're very excited everyone gets to hear this album soon! It always seems like an eternity between the time you finish recording an album and the time everyone gets to hear it, by the time it comes out we've gone through being really excited about it and then a bit nervous about it and we start second guessing a lot of things. It's a great feeling when people have positive reactions to it, makes us feel a bit less crazy for making it in the first place! This album sounds quintessentially like "Flowers", to us at least. It's a mixture of our home demo sort of sound, lo-fi and tapey, and our live sound. Our first album came out sounding a lot cleaner and more polished than we'd hoped, so it's nice to get the more analog sound we love on this album.

You're touring shortly are you looking forward to that?
Yes very much, we love touring! And we're very happy that we'll be seeing more of the UK on this tour. It's great revisiting places we've been before and seeing so many friendly faces, and it's also very exciting turning up somewhere new, and having no idea whether one or a hundred people will turn up, getting to meet them and talk about music, play for them, and go to the next place, you feel like a nomad for a couple of weeks and it's wonderful. We'd never want to come home if it wasn't for our dog!

What can people expect from your forthcoming Cardiff gig?
Lots of new songs, and a few old ones too, it's near the end of the tour so you guys will have us at our peak performance (nicely warmed up, but not too exhausted and ill yet)!

Will there be more visits to Wales?
We’ll definitely be back yes! We've been lucky enough to play Cardiff a few times actually, so next time it'd be great to play some different places in Wales too, it's so beautiful there.

Where can people hear your music?
The best hub for information is our Facebook, - we often put up links to new songs there, as well as information about shows etc. You can also go to our Soundcloud for songs or if you have Spotify we're on there too! (or just search for "Flowers", we're the first artist listed under "Brandon Flowers")

  • Andy Howells is a freelance entertainment writer.
  • A version of this Q&A appears in The South Wales Argus entertainment supplement, The Guide, on March 4, 2016.