What goes into the making of a great album? From the creative throes of songwriting to the sometimes-spontaneous, sometimes-arduous process of recording a full album, Wales Arts Review dives into the making of some of the most iconic albums from Welsh music artists in our new series ‘The Making Of… ‘. This week, we kick things off with an inside look at Melyn by Adwaith.
Melyn is the critically acclaimed, award winning debut album from Welsh-language band Adwaith. Founded in 2015, the the group currently consists of Hollie Singer (vocals, guitar), Gwenllian Anthony (bass, keys, mandolin), and Heledd Owen (drums). Not only did Melyn go down a treat with the critics, it also collected the Welsh Music Prize in 2019 beating out considerable competition from more established names. BBC Radio 1’s Huw Stephens’ praised the album, describing “[the] beautiful music that captures what it’s like to be young, female, frustrated and bewildered at the world we live in.”
Melyn came in at 33 in Wales Arts Review’s 100 Greatest Welsh Albums of All Time, noted for its “prickly with post-punk riffs, fuzzy guitars and howling lyrics”. But what about the stories behind it? We hear from Gwenllian Anthony on the making of Melyn from Adwaith.
We started recording some singles in 2016, I think; we travelled around a few studios to do that. Then we recorded the rest of it in Giant Wafer, Powys, which was so much fun! Working with Steff Pringle was a match made in heaven. I can’t remember many hurdles to be honest. Some of the gear wasn’t working when we arrived but that was solved pretty easily. Oh! And Steff had his van locked in a car park in London the night before so I think he was late arriving. Other than that, it went smoothly. I vividly remember not being able to work the oven. It’s a gas one which you have to take a lighter to it. It was too old school for us young ‘uns. Going into a residential studio, we had the freedom to experiment and play around with different instruments and sounds which we hadn’t been able to do before. It was so nice to be able to try different sounds on top of what we can play as a three piece.
We started writing the album when we were around 16 and in school. I believe “Osian” was one of the first songs we wrote together and the whole album reflects on us growing up in rural West Wales.
We’re still very proud of the album. I can’t say that I could listen to a lot of the tracks after hearing them a million times but it’s still our little baby.