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Cardiff character: Sion Llywd

Sion Llywd is a busy man. What with touring as part of Wales’ most upcoming band and balancing an MA workload and social life, it’s amazing he has time for an interview at all.

Sion Llwyd

Multi-talented: Sion performs with Hud. Photo by Rhys Llwyd.

If his face seems familiar, you may have seen Sion playing at Gwdihŵ as part of Sŵn, the Cardiff music festival. “Gwdihŵ is a tiny tiny little place, but they managed to cram in 280 people, I think,” he recalls. “Blackout were playing in Clwb Ifor Bach at the same time, and they only got 100.

“It was sort of overflowing to the back, it was great – and it was minging! Everyone was sweaty, and it was horrible and hot. But it was definitely great fun.”

Creation of Creision Hud

Although the band play under the name Hud, the Welsh word for ‘magic’, old-school fans may remember the days when they were called Creision Hud. “When we started, we actually got a gig before we had a name,” explains Sion. “There was a book called Creision Hud, so we just put that name down. We just never got around to changing it until now!”

Sion, 24, has played with the other members of Hud (Rhydian on vocals and guitar, Ifan on lead guitar and Cai on drums) for about six years now. “We were all in the same year at Ysgol Syr Hugh Owen, apart from Cai, who’s my little brother. We’ve been friends since we were tiny little things. I think it was Rhyds’ brother being in a band that gave us the idea of having our own band.”

Did he always want to play bass? “Basically, how the bass came about was that at first the band was just me, Rhyds and another drummer – he had a drum kit, Rhyds had a guitar, and they needed a bass!” Sion laughs. “I mean, everyone wants to be the guitarist, don’t they? But the bass has worked out well.”

In the blood

Having your baby brother in your band might be a disaster for some people, but Sion seems typically unphased by the potential for complication. The family bond is clearly strong – Sion jokes that Cai is the only one who doesn’t write songs for the band. “He always complains that he plays the drums, so he can’t really do it. He just provides the eye candy, basically!”

Unsurprisingly, Sion comes from a musical background, and one particularly focused on Welsh music. His father was a music teacher before he became a headmaster, and Sion’s grandfather taught the Welsh opera singer Bryn Terfel. Sion says that music “is in the blood, I think.”

More surprising is Sion’s preference for what he calls “darker” music. “The band are inspired by Foals, and a few Vampire Weekend songs, but for me personally Radiohead have always been a big influence,” he says. “The darker sorts of music have always attracted me – although they don’t have the best basslines!” He thinks for a moment, before concluding: “Motown definitely has the best basslines.”

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