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20 Questions: Threatmantics

Maverick Welsh art-rock misfits Threatmantics recently released their third album ‘Shadow On Your Heart‘, recorded in Paris and Cardiff by French producer Anne-Sophie Ouvrier.

It is their first album to be released on 12” vinyl, with a limited edition, numbered run of hand printed covers by acclaimed Welsh artist John Abell.
We sent Heddwyn from the band our relevant 20 questions.

Hi, how are you today?

Unseasonably warm.

How did the band meet?

Huw and I met at his birth. We’re brothers. The band was formed in Cardiff Art School though the line-up is a bit different by now with Huw’s childhood friend Andrew joining on guitar and Cardiff indie hero Graf bringing the bass.

Where did your band name come from?

The Information Stupor Highway. Season three, episode one of Fairly Odd Parents.

How do most of your songs start life?

In the past, they’d usually start with a vocal melody or a hook on the viola or guitar. However, this record is our first with an actual real-life bass player. As a result, most of the songs on it started with bass and drums, with everything else built on top. So it’s all back-to-front now. Or the right way up, depending on your point of view.

What inspires your songs?

Oh! Lots of stuff. Especially on this record. Love, denial, clandestine trysts, fatally overambitious westerns, dental subterfuge, Richard Littlejohn, bilingual archaeology. The usual.

What was your first release?

‘Don’t Care’ on the Ciwdod singles club. It was an important launch pad for a lot of Welsh acts back in the day. Diolch Esyllt!

Vinyl, CD, Download or stream?

Shadow On Your Heart is available on all of the above except CD.

What’s the best cover version you have ever heard?

Best might be Devo’s ‘Satisfaction’. That blew my mind when it came on during Scorsese’s Casino. I think up until then I’d only heard covers that were wan tributes of the original. This seemed audacious and almost sacrilegious at the time and fit the scene perfectly.

With the closure of Gwdi hw and Buffalo bar, do you think the local music scene needs to be protected?

Gwdi Hw is a special case because it also involves questions of architectural history and preservation. With it we’re losing not just a venue but more traces of the old city of Cardiff.
What is also concerning is that in the past when we’d lose somewhere like The Toucan another space would step in to take its place. Given the current rate of losses (Dempsey’s, Buffalo and Gwdi Hw all in a relatively short space of time) I worry about Cardiff’s ability to regenerate and replenish the venues necessary to sustain its live scene.

What are your favourite local artists?

Silent Forum supported us at our album launch with a great set. They’ve an album of their own coming soon. Also Oh Peas!, Perfect Body, Gindrinker, Stung, Rosehip Teahouse, Fallow, She’s Got Spies, Omaloma, Gareth Bonello, Los Blancos, Serol Serol, Zefur Wolves.

Tell us about your new single/album?

It’s our first ever vinyl LP and our first ever self-release! As such we wanted to make it a bit special so each album sleeve is a hand-printed woodcut artwork by acclaimed Welsh artist John Abell.

What would be your dream collaboration?

To work with Mica Levi/Micachu would be amazing.

If you weren’t doing this what would you be doing?

Well, I’m doing a bit of sound design on the side at the moment. I have my first design on tour with the Theatr Genedlaethol production of Nôs Sadwrn O Hyd.

What five albums would you choose to take with you to a desert island?

L.A. Woman – The Doors
Under The Western Freeway – Grandaddy
Zatoichi (OST) – Keiichi Suzuki
Barafundle – Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci
Led Zep 1 – Led Zep

What’s the best record you heard recently?

Palimpsest – Three Cane Whale

Labour or Tory?

One of our songs is based around the idea David Cameron hides the top row of his teeth when he smiles so that people can’t tell how crooked they really are. #metaphor

Leave or Remain?

We recorded our album half in Paris, half in Cardiff, with a French producer I met while on tour in Europe with the Victorian English Gentlemens Club. None of this would have been possible without the right UK citizens have to travel and work freely in the EU. A right that is being stolen away by Farage, BoJo, Banks et al even while they slither into their dual-nationality passports and off-shore accounts. It’s like they all want to be both Captain and first rat overboard the good ship Brexsink.

Should Wales be independent?

I honestly have absolutely no idea anymore! Independent from what, into whereby who? I used to have reservations about the uncertainties and vulnerability of an independent Wales but given the hurricane of political excrement we’re being flung around in now regardless then sure, why the hell not?

Are you playing any festivals/shows this summer?

Yes. We have a bunch of shows lined up including some summer festivals. Follow us on facespace, etc. for updates.

What are your future plans?

To get the next album down to a five-year cycle.

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.