(entry on link2wales)
Gwacamoli – band from Bangor area (c2001), feat; founder member, Gethin Thomas (voc,gtr) (later Diablo Rojo), Dyfed Roberts (gtr), Dylan Thomas (bass), Sion Llwyd (keys), Deian Elfrym (drms). Gareth Huws (ex Tynal Tywyll) also drummed for them at some point. Managed for a while by Rhys Mwyn. 1st CD Topsy Turvy. Rel EP Clockwork on Topsy Recs (May 2001) after leaving Crai. (gig review) More info req’d.
I met up with Geth last year during rehearsals at Gelfa Studios (pic above) for a one off gig with Anhrefn’s Rhys Mwyn and Dewi Gwyn and Sera Louise and Owen Cob’s – it was dubbed Welsh Rebel Outpost. The gig was played on a Sunday afternoon in Nant Gwrtheryn (which is as mediaeval as you can get without actual time travel). The gig, the rehearsing and the whole vibe was one of great fun…
Geth is/was at the time in Diablo Rojo, a two-piece noise machine that is totally uncompromising, and so far sadly unseen by my eyes as the one time I was to see them, Geth had somehow injured his hand in a bizarre accident removing slugs from his lettuce collection (or something like that…)
When news was announced that Gwacamoli were intent on reforming after splitting in 2000, I thought it was nigh on time we had a little insight into the band.
Gwacs (as the locals called them) have had 4 line ups since they formed in 1998…
Mark 1 – Geth (guitar vox). Butty (bass). Arwel (trombone – drums)
Mark 2 – Geth (guitar vox), Dyl (bass), Gareth (formerly Tynal Tywyll) (drums)
Mark 3 – Geth (guitar vox), Dyl (bass), Deian Elfryn (drums), Gareth Lewis (former Serein singer) (guitar)
Mark 4 – Geth (guitar vox), Dyl (bass), Dei (drums), Sion Llwyd (keys), Dyfed (ex Wncl Ffestr) (guitar), Guto (ex Wncl Fffester) (occasional bongos and percussion)
With Gwacs threatening to reform after 13 years away, can you give us bit of an insight as to what initially inspired you to form a band in the first place? Were Gwacs your first band? And what music were you listening to at the time?
Me and my brother were always jamming away at a very young age. We didn’t have electric guitars or amps so we attached pick ups to acoustics and put theme through old hi fi’s. Its hard to pin point what exactly made us want to form a bands, but I can narrow it down to a couple of moments…
I think one of them was watching an old Deep Purple DVD, ‘Live In 1971’ or something. Watching Jon Lord for me was enough to make me want to form a band on the spot. Then I went and bought Deep Purple ‘In Rock’ and that was it.
The lack of ‘loud’ band in the Welsh scene at the time was definitely a factor. We definitely thought there was a lack of ‘noise’ in the Welsh scene at the time, and then we heard Anhrefn play and it all changed.
My first proper band was Gwacamoli, but I was in a few metal bands before then – a band called Mwrthwl was one of the main ones. We did a few gigs, supported Super Furry Animals a couple of times but nothing really came of it except some good times and some stage craft!
When I formed Gwacamoli I was listening to a lot of Neil Young, T-Rex and Bob Dylan. But I never forgot my heavier roots of Slayer, Entombed and a bit of Discharge.
Where was your first gig? Who with, what happened – Also your best gig and worst?
My first proper gig was in the Ship n Castle with a band called Calon y Ddraig. My late friend Tecwyn was in that band and we spent the night trying to out riff each other!
We gigged so hard with Gwacamoli it’s hard to think of a best or worst gig. Great gigs were when we played a bilingual set over in England and went down a storm. Unfortunately, we copped a lot of flak for doing the same on home territory. Shame that.
What were your releases and on what labels?
We released our first EP with Crai. It was called Topsy Turvy. By this time we had matured as a band and were on our second ‘batch’ of songs. We released it with Rhys Mwyn at the helm, and toured the hell out of it. After parting ways with Mr Mwyn and co. we released ‘Clockwork’. We recorded this at Melys Headquarters [in Betws-y-Coed] and it was a self-release.
What would you say Gwacamoli’s highpoint was..?
I think our high point was when we realised we could fill a venue with our own ‘fans’. The feeling of turning up to your venue and seeing kids queuing to get in. was brilliant. Made a change from playing empty venues on a Monday night.
What have the others been up to in the 13 year gap?
We’ve all been doing different stuff. Deian has done bits n bobs with other bands, mainly Queensbury and Amsterdam. Dyfed (pic below) did a stint with Pocket Venus I think, and Sion played bass for Elin Fflur‘s band. My brother became a head chef.
What do you hope to achieve with the reunion..?
We want to get back into the rehearsal room and see if we can still play…..
We want to do some shows and see where it goes. I still think we could put a pretty good live show.
Tell us a bit about Diablo Rojo – why and any future plans?
Diablo Rojo was formed 2 years ago with my friend Gonk. I had been out of the music scene for a while and was listening to a lot of Lightning Bolt. I decided to buy a bass, a very big rig and form a Noise Duo…….the result being Diablo.
We’ve done a few shows, but our noise level is a problem for a lot of venues. The Diablo doesn’t have the same impact at a low volume! The one thing I am proud of with Diablo is that nobody sounds like us. And lots of bands out there sound the same…
What local bands have rated, do you rate. Any you despise and why…?
I haven’t seen anything recently that has made me sit up and listen. There’s a really great scene Holyhead way and I’ve been lucky to be introduced to this through Diablo. A band that I have seen and like is We Are Animal. Owain used to be a young teenager in Gogz when we were in Gwacamoli and was a great musician then. Any bands I despise? No I don’t think so, its only music.
What was it like playing alongside that axe legend Dewi Gwyn as part of Welsh Rebel Outpost?
Ha! That was a great gig. I look forward to the next one. Dewi is probably one of the best guitarists I know. It was nice to be on stage with Dewi rather than have him shouting abuse at me with his brother in the Breeding Ground in Rhyl.