Independent Venue Week is finally upon us, starting today - the 30th of January - and we are excited about all the amazing shows set to take place across the UK this week. This year the number of partaking independent venues has grown to an amazing 300+ venues and we can't wait to see the talent each artist and band has to bring.
We got the chance to speak with Carmarthen, Wales-based indie-rock Welsh Language trio Adwaith! They are set to play at The Live Rooms, Chester on Friday 3rd February and Cwrw, Carmarthen on Sunday 5th February - the final day of #IVW23.
For those that haven’t heard of you before, tell us a bit about yourself and how Adwaith came to be.
Hey! We’re Adwaith, a band from west Wales and we sing in Welsh. We came together as teenagers (quite a few years ago now) and haven’t stopped making music since!
How does it feel to be performing as a part of Independent Venue Week 2023?
It feels great, we’re really proud as well to be ambassadors of IVW this year - it’s a real privilege. We always love playing grassroots venues, as it’s where we started out gigging and have played some of our most memorable gigs in these venues.
Is supporting independent venues something important to you as a band?
It’s really really important to us, we wouldn’t be a band without independent venues, like so many other musicians. We owe a lot to these places, they really nurtured our confidence in the first few years of being in the band.
2022 saw many affirming milestone performances for Adwaith. What was it like performing at Glastonbury and Green Man last summer?
It was pretty amazing. Both of those shows were big highlights for us last year. Green man is a really special festival for us, it really feels like home! Playing Glastonbury has been a dream of ours for a while, so it was pretty mad to be playing. There were so many welsh bucket hats in the crowd, it was incredible haha.
Last year, Adwaith became the only band to be awarded the Welsh Music Prize twice. How did this moment feel for you all?
It was very surreal to be honest, we really weren’t expecting it as we’d won it before and the shortlist was very strong last year. It was a really special moment for us as a band and the welsh music scene has supported us from day one, so we feel very lucky to have won it twice.
In a Time Out article, you all discussed how “exhausting” it has been trying to convince the London-centric UK music industry that Welsh Language Music was marketable. Why is it important to you all that this genre of music gets the recognition and push it deserves?
For Anyone who’s making music outside of the London scene it’s difficult to even get a slight bit of recognition. When you then throw something a bit unusual into the mix, i.e. singing in Welsh, it makes it even more complicated for the London industry haha. I think it’s the fear of the unknown for them, it’s quite unusual for artists that sing in welsh to break outside of Wales, so in that respect it might be something they’ve not really seen before. But it just feels like the industry in London are so focused on what’s going on there, that they forget or simply dismiss what’s going on elsewhere a lot of the time. We’ve played loads of shows in London, which have been amazing! The fanbase is there - but for some reason a majority of the industry in London still seem to question our longevity and how marketable we are because we sing in Welsh, which is slightly ridiculous.
You’ve mentioned, as a band, that you want to delve into the European music industry and bypass the London music scene. How did you reach this decision, and have you had any successes breaking through so far?
We’ve played quite a few shows in Europe over the years and the reaction is always incredible. We played Eurosonic in the Netherlands recently and we had the best time there. The crowd and industry just seem to get us in Europe and make us feel instantly at home. There’s never an uncertainty of whether we’re gonna last or not, they actually really like the fact that we sing in Welsh and can see a future in that, which is really nice and affirming. We’ve just had enough of trying to sell our souls to some of the London industry haha.
Since the release of your first album ‘Melyn’, in 2018, how much have things changed for you?
Things have changed a lot for us as a band since the release of Melyn. Our audience has grown a lot over the past few years, especially post pandemic. It’s great to see so many people at our shows now! We played a headline show in Amsterdam a couple of weeks ago and somebody in the crowd said they’d been waiting to see us for three years, which is mad for us! It's lovely to see our music stretching beyond the UK now.
Back in July 2022, your second album ‘Bato Mato’ was released. The album is full of upbeat, exciting, and entrancing rhythms that make you want to blast it through your headphones. Are there any songs that resonate the most with each of you on the album?
Thank you! For me, Yyn y Sŵn is a standout track on the album. It’s slightly different sonically and rhythmically to the other tracks. We collaborated with Massimo, a friulian musician and created something really special in my opinion.
What can the rest of 2023 see from Adwaith post #IVW23?
We’re currently working on a third album, which is very exciting! We’ve got some headline shows coming up in the year and some festivals booked for the summer - so it should be pretty busy as usual!
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