Formed of Lewys Wyn, Trystan Thomas, Guto Howells and Ifan Davies, Yr Eira are a band who are proud to call themselves Welsh. The quirky indie-dream-pop collective has a sound that is a mix of Passion Pit meets Catfish and the Bottlemen, with a little bit of Waves thrown in. Simply put, they are just what you need to perk up your day. They spoke to us about embracing British nations, their new album and of course, how they are handling the lockdown.
Your band is called Yr Eira, or ‘The Snow ’in English. What is behind the band’s name?
The name was influenced mainly by two things - the view from our practice room is the Snowdonia National Park as it’s often covered with snow! Secondly - one of my favourite songs is ‘Eira’ by Gorky’s!
How would you describe your sound?
Dreamy! I think that’s broad enough and doesn’t limit anything that we do. I’m a big fan of jangly guitars and weird harmonies!
The Welsh accent is clearly heard in your songs and your track names are all in Welsh, too. In a British music scene that is often dominated by music from England, how important is it to keep the Welsh language alive and make sure that Wales also plays a big part on the music landscape?
It’s inevitable that the British music scene is going to be dominated by music from England, but I really do think that the BBC and English Radio Stations should embrace and promote every culture and language that is spoken in the British Isles. Saying that, the Welsh music scene is heavily supported by the Welsh Government, and key figures such as Huw Stephens. I think we’re going through a certain golden age at the moment, and I feel that welsh language music is starting to be appreciated!
Who are some under-the-radar Welsh bands that we need to check out right now?
Papur Wal, Los Blancos, Alffa, Thallo and Adwaith - just to name a few! I could go on and on. There’s a great mix of pop and alternative in Wales, and even though most bands are heavily influenced by Anglo American genres, the fact that they sing in Welsh makes it different, original and awesome!
The band is a four-piece, how has the lock down impacted on you working together and creating music?
It’s brought a lot of things to a holt, to be honest. But saying that, we’ve all been composing and working on new music. It’s good to keep fans in the mix as well so we’ve tried to keep our relevance on social media with a couple of videos.
What have you been doing during the lockdown in general and how are you coping with everything?
Not too bad, to be honest. If you stick within the rules, the lockdown is actually very simple. It’s the time that everyone needed to be productive and to catch up on life. So, it’s really important to look on the positives, and focus on what you can do instead of what you can’t!
Have the past few weeks made you change your perspective on anything?
I suppose it’s put a lot of stuff into perspective. The frailty of life. The importance of family and friends, and not to take anything in life for granted.
Tell us about your new album‘ Map Meddwl’?
Meaning ‘Mind Map’ in Welsh. It was recorded in the famous Sain Studio in North Wales, which has produced some of Wales’ finest Welsh Records. In essence, the album is a mixture of personal experience, breakup and a hope of an independent Wales.
What do you think is the best track on the album?
My favourites are the last two songs on the album. It works as one ‘Corporal Caru Cymru’. The song has two meanings - the dullness of work and routine and then the answer to life’s problems - Following Wales on football away games.
It's an original concept to write about a 'mindmap'. Why have you described it in this way? Was there an influence to this?
A mind map is something you usually associate with school, a method of throwing thoughts onto a piece of paper to make sense of certain subject or question. This is the essence of the album, where a bunch of ideas have been thrown together without any real structure onto a record. A melting pot of my own thoughts and intentions without really any real knowledge of what to do with it.
The album also has a theme of not letting life become repetitive. How do we make sure that doesn’t happen?
I suppose that’s entirely up to the individual and how you perceive your own life. I think it’s very important to adopt a get up and go attitude in life. Life is what you make of it, and I think the opportunities are endless, don’t let anything drag you down. Avoid wasting away in a dull life, keep things interesting and don’t become a part of the furniture.
What can we expect from you in the future?
Hopefully a lot of gigs, and a few records. I’d like to collaborate a little more with different artists as well. We’ll just have to wait and see
Yr Eira’s new album Map Meddwl is out on Spotify now. You can check it out here.