Music

Ten minutes in Clwb Ifor Bach with Huw Stephens

Huw Stevens

 

Away from the bustle and noise of Welsh Music Day in Castle Emporium is the relative sanctuary of Clwb Ifor Bach. Practising in the room next door is Eden, one of the biggest Welsh language bands of the 90s, gearing up for their nostalgic one-time reunion gig. It’s now at least possible to hear the voice of DJ Huw Stephens. Having worked for the BBC since 1999, Huw now owns the 10pm-1am slot on BBC Radio from Monday to Wednesday. Having given numerous Welsh bands their first big break on his national radio show, his status as a cornerstone of the Welsh music scene is a testament to his unrelenting enthusiasm for the genre. Cardiff born and bred, venues such as Clwb Ifor Bach have been pivotal in shaping his well-regarded music taste and eye for new talent.

Why do you believe encouraging and taking part in events such as Welsh Music Day is important?

As someone who speaks Welsh I know how good the music scene is and there are so many interesting bands and nights and I feel lucky that I can hear this music in Welsh, and naturally I want to be part of its promoting.

Do you think streaming websites such as Spotify and SoundCloud have been beneficial or harmful for Welsh music?

It is very hard for bands to get noticed as English is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world so days like Welsh Music Day are really important as they draw attention to what’s out there, and if people want to listen to a Spotify or Deezer playlist they at least know that they exist.

Who are your favourite past and present bands from the scene?

I grew up coming here to Clwb Ifor Bach to see Gorky’s Zygotic Monkey, Catatonia, Super Furry Animals as well as bands such as Big Leaves, Topper and a Welsh rap band called Tystion. Over the years I’ve gravitated towards bands like Genod Drwg, Derwyddon Dr. Gonzo, Kentucky AFC and now bands like Cpt. Smith, Chroma, folk artists such as The Gentle Good, Huw M, electronic stuff like Gwenno and Pencadlys, there’s so much good music out there and I’m so lucky I can interview these artists every week.

Huw Stevens

Who are your favourite new artists?

Mellt, who’ve just played at Castle Emporium are brill, Adwaith are fantastic and a band from Caernarfon called Pasta Hull is very interesting.

With the Eisteddfod Pavilion Gig announced again for 2017, what did you think of the hugely positive response to the first ever gig last year and will it be possible to top it?

It will certainly be possible to as Mr. Phormula, Alys Williams, Yr Eira and Yws Gwynedd are all brilliant and playing with the Welsh Pops orchestra they’ll all sound great. I’ll obviously be presenting once again as well as it being televised, I hope the 1,600 tickets will all sell out as they did last year.

Is the Eisteddfod trying to change the image of the pavilion by enticing young people in with gigs and do you believe there will be a backlash from the older generation who may believe young people already have a youth section in Maes B and are degrading the maturity of the pavilion?

Of course taking part in the Eisteddfod is extremely important with literature and competing but too often is the pavilion empty for such events and getting young people into watch bands is brilliant as the language has to change all the time and has to appeal to different people or it will die. There may be a backlash by older people but unfortunately, they have to realise that Welsh in a modern world is different and what they grew up doing is not necessarily relevant to all young people.

With the Eisteddfod in Cardiff in 2018 there’s been much speculation about the setup of the Eisteddfod as well the youth section Maes B which there are often vast campsites, how do you see they’ll be executed in a city?

I remember Maes B being held at TJ’s in Newport and in Cardiff University’s Student’s Union and it was great so I think it’s great that the Eisteddfod is back in Cardiff. It’s a positive thing and a nice chance and I’m pretty sure it’ll save loads of money for the Eisteddfod too. As for camping, I have no idea, you’ll have to ask the Eisteddfod!

And finally, now that alcohol is sold in the main pavilion during gigs, should alcohol be sold in the literature tent?

It should! Why not? I say yes!

 


 

I ffwrdd o’r miri a’r sŵn yn hwb Dydd Miwsig Cymraeg 2017 yn Castle Emporium mae’r cysegr weddol dawel o fynedfa Clwb Ifor Bach. Gyda Eden, un o’r bandiau Cymraeg mwyaf poblogaidd o’r 90au yn ymarfer yn yr ystafell drws nesaf, mae hi o leiaf rwan yn bosib clywed llais DJ Huw Stephens. Wedi gweithio i’r BBC ers 1999, mae Huw nawr yn cyflwyno’r slot rhwng 10 y.h tan 1 o ddydd Llun i ddydd Mercher. Wedi chwarae nifer o fandiau newydd Cymraeg ar ei sioeau radio, mae ei statws fel un o’r asedau pwysigaf i gerddoriaeth Cymraeg wedi’w gadarnhau gan frwd ddi-baid. Wedi ei eni a’i fagu yn Nghaerdydd mae llefydd fel Clwb Ifor Bach wedi bod yn hollbwysig yn siapio ei flas mewn cerddoriaeth a’i lygad am dalent newydd.

Pam wyt ti’n credu fod hybu a chymeryd rhan mewn achlysuron fel Dydd Miwsic Cymru yn bwysig?

Fel rhiwyn sy’n siarad Cymraeg dwi’n gwybod pa mor dda ydi’r sîn gerddoriaeth a ma ‘na gymaint o fands a nosweithiau diddorol a dwi’n teimlo’n lwcus bod fi’n gallu clywed y gerddoriaeth yma yn Gymraeg, yn naturiol dwi eisio bod yn rhan o’i gefnogi.

Wyt ti’n credu bod gwefannau streamio fel Spotify a SoundCloud wedi bod yn fuddhaol neu yn niweidiol i gerddoriaeth Cymraeg?

Mae o yn anodd i fands cael ei clywed achos Saesneg yw un o’r ieithoedd mwyaf yn y byd felly mae dydd fel Dydd Miwsig Cymru yn rili bwysig achos mae o’n amlygu beth sydd allan yna ac os mae nhw eisio gwrando i playlist Spotify neu Deezer mae nhw’n gwybod bod un yn bodoli.

Pwy ydi dy hoff fandiau yn y sîn o’r gorffenol ac presennol?

Nes i dyfu fyny yn dod fan hyn i Clwb Ifor Bach i weld Gorky’s Zygotic Monkey, Catatonia, Super Furry Animals yn ogystal a bandiau fel Big Leaves,Topper a rap band Cymraeg o’r enw Tystion. Wedyn dros y blynyddoedd bandiau fel Genod Drwg

a Derwyddon Dr. Gonzo, Kentucky AFC ac nawr bandiau fel Cpt. Smith, Chroma, cantorion gwerin fel The Gentle Good a Huw M, stwff electronig fel Gwenno a Pencadlys, mae yna gymaint o fiwsig da allan yna a dwi mor lwcus fy mod yn gallu eu cyfweld bob wythnos.

Felly pwy ydi dy hoff fandiau newydd?

Wedi trafod bandiau fel Chroma a Cpt. Smith mae Mellt sydd newydd chwarae yn Castle Emporium yn bril, mae Adwaith yn ffantastig a hefyd band o Gaernarfon o’r enw Pasta Hull, sy’n ddiddorol.

Wedi’r newyddion mawr o’r Gig y Pafiliwn 2017 gael ei gyhoeddi, beth oeddet ti’n meddwl am yr ymateb mor positif i’r gig cynta flwyddyn dwethaf ac fydd hi’n bosib cynnal y safon?

Bydd yn sicr achos bod Mr. Phormula, Alys Williams, Yr Eira a Yws Gwynedd i gyd yn bril a gyda’r gerddorfa Welsh Pops dwi’n meddwl fydd nhw gyd yn swnio’n wych felly dwi’n gobeithio bydd tocynnau yn brin gyda 1,600 ar gael ac bydd y gig yn cael ei ddarlledu ar deledu eto.

Ydi’r Eisteddfod yn ceisio newid delwedd y pafiliwn wrth ddenu pobol ifanc i mewn hefo gigiau ac wyt ti’n credu bydd backlash gan y genhedlaeth hŷn gan fod Maes B a llwyfan y Maes yn barod i bobol ifanc ac eu bod nhw rwan y cymeryd drosodd aeddfedrwydd y pafiliwn?

Wrth gwrs mae cystadlu yn yr Eisteddfod yn rili pwysig gyda barddoni a chystadlu ond yn aml iawn ma’r pafiliwn yn wag ar gyfer felly mae cael pobol ifanc i fewn i weld bands ifanc yn beth bril achos ma rhaid i’r iaith Gymraeg newid trwy’r amser a gorfod apelio i bobol gwahanol neu fydd o’n marw. Falle bydd backlash ond mae rhaid i bobol hŷn sylweddoli mai beth odd Cymraeg pan roeddynt yn tyfu fyny ddim wastad yn berthasol i bobol ifanc.

Gyda’r Eisteddfod yng Nghaerdydd yn 2018 mae yna wedi bod llawer o glecs ynglŷn a setup yr Eisteddfod a Maes B, sut wyt ti’n gweld bydd Maes B a safle campio yn cael ei weithredu mewn dinas?

Dwi’n cofio Maes B yn digwydd yn TJ’s yng Nghasnewydd ac yn Undeb Myfyrwyr Prifysgol Caerdydd ac odd o’n grêt felly dwi’n meddwl bod o’n bril fod y ‘Steddfod yn

digwydd yng Nghaerdydd. Mae’n beth bositif ac yn newid neis a felly dwi’n siwr ei fod yn safio llwyth o arian i’r Eisteddfod hefyd. Ynglŷn a campio does genai ddim syniad, fydd rhaid i ti ofyn i’r Eisteddfod!

Ac i gloi, gan fod alcohol rwan yn cael ei werthu yn y pafiliwn yn ystod y gig, a ddylsa alcohol gael ei werthu yn y babell lên?

Dyle! Pam ddim? Dwi’n deud ie!

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