(SXSW 2016 flavoured!) Quickfire Questions #103: Gwenno

By on Thursday, 3rd March 2016 at 11:00 am

Ahead of SXSW in Austin in mid-March, just as we have in the past 2 years of our preview coverage of the big dance, we’ll be bringing you showcasing artists’ answers to a special SXSW 2016 flavoured set of Quickfire Questions. In this installment, we’ve got Gwenno, a star from Wales who made her name previously as part of a band, now striking out as a superstar all her own. Stay tuned, for tomorrow, my roundup of the Welsh artists making the trek to Austin in less than a fortnight’s time will publish.

Over a decade since the heyday of The Pipettes, Gwenno Saunders – now recording and releasing music under the first name mononym Gwenno – will be appearing at this year’s SXSW for the first time as a solo artist. She’ll also be performing entirely in Welsh, which famously is known as an extremely difficult language to understand by those unfamiliar with it. But hey, if Sigur Ros could conquer the world in Icelandic, so can superwoman Gwenno, eh? Read Gwenno’s answers to our SXSW 2016 Quickfire Questions below.

Describe your music / sound in three words. (We know, tricky…)
Dream pop protest.

Name something you’re packing in your suitcase that we might find unusual. (You are welcome to elaborate.)
Nappies! I’ll be bringing my baby son with me!

If we happen to run into you in a bar, we’d like to buy you a drink. What is your tipple of choice?
Not much in the way of alcohol at the moment, maybe a virgin margarita?!

What advice would you give other bands who have never played at SXSW before?
Take it all in your stride!

What have you heard about the festival? Are you excited / anxious / scared / etc. and why?
Having played with The Pipettes nearly 10 years ago now (!) I’m really excited to be coming back to SXSW to be playing my solo music. It’s quite different (a different style and language!) so I imagine the reaction will be too!

Now, let’s get into our usual list of Quickfire Questions…

What song is your earliest musical memory?
Probably something off the Brenda Wootton and Richard Gendal album ‘Children Singing’, that vinyl was on constant rotation at home when I was little.

What was your favourite song as a child?
My favourite piece of music was ‘Glasgow Reel’ by Gerry Conlon and Seamus O’Sullivan, as it was my favourite tune to (Irish) dance to.

What song makes you laugh?
‘Mae Pawb yn Haeddu Glaw’ by Y Pencadlys. [I think we should all pledge to learn Welsh ASAP, do you all agree? – Ed.]


What song makes you cry?
‘Y Teimlad’ by Datblygu.


Which song (any song written in the last century / 100 years or so) do you wish you’d written yourself?
Stravinsky’s ‘Rite of Spring’.

Who is your favourite writer? (This can be a songwriter or ANY kind of writer.)
Dave R. Edwards (lead singer of Welsh post-punk/experimental band Datblygu).

If you hadn’t become a singer/musician/songwriter/etc., what job do you think you’d be doing right now?
I may have stayed a dancer for longer…

If God said you were allowed to bring only one album with you to Heaven, which would it be and why? (Sorry, but double albums do not count.)
‘I Hear a New World’ by Joe Meek.


Many thanks to the lovely Gwenno for answering our questions!

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