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South Wales: Indie music hotspot

If you’re an up and coming indie music artist in south Wales you’re in the right place, a local band told alt.cardiff this week.

The transformed Welsh music scene lends a helping hand to aspiring local talent with fantastic venues, patriotic support, and a friendly repertoire of performers.

Funk and groove band The Moon Birds are proud, and grateful, of their Merthyr Tydfil roots, adding that the world is looking more seriously at the area as a musical hub.

The Moon Birds won the Big Gig Competition 2016 and studio time with Charles Francis (producer of worldwide sensation REM), among other goodies

The Moon Birds won the Big Gig Competition 2016 and studio time with Charles Francis (producer of worldwide sensation REM), among other goodies

“A lot of musicians in Merthyr gained prominence due to the ‘Skint’ TV programme filmed here,” bass guitarist Sam Williams said. He added that the show about breadline families was a “blessing” in a sense. “People took offence and started a small ‘anti-Skint movement.’ Part of this was the music scene. Starting out in Merthyr should have been disadvantageous – no money, no industry – but it helped us start penning songs.”

Even south Wales’s inhabitants prove a popular topic. The Moon Birds deviated from writing about poverty and unemployment, and instead wrote optimistic songs about local people they knew.

Sam chuckled, “We’ve always been a bit more into telling a story rather than complaining.”

Vespertine’s lyricist and guitarist Matt Galloway also found inspiration in Wales’ culture. “Gwent is an easy place to get going musically,” Matt said. “There’s lots of musicians you gravitate towards. What I’ve found now is common camaraderie within local bands – we all watch each other’s backs, we network.”

Vespertine have only been recording for a few months, but their lyrical mentions of 'Hiraeth' strike a chord with locals

Vespertine have only been recording for a few months, but their lyrical mentions of ‘Hiraeth’ strike a chord with locals

Vespertine have only been recording for a few months, but their lyrical mentions of ‘Hiraeth’ strike a chord with locals

Matt encouraged Welsh bands to tour internationally and earn a world-wide name – but fundamentally, to remember Welsh roots.

Both bands highlight the importance of Welsh musical tradition and belonging in their music.

Matt said, “Looking at the mountains, I feel protected.  I can go to the top, look down at the Valleys, and sing my heart out.”

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