We caught up with Swansea-based band CI GOFOD, following the release of the superb single ‘Dyfodol’, for a full interview.
Tell us about yourself?
Shwmae, my name is Jack Thomas Davies, and I am the man behind Ci Gofod. I am a 24-year-old from Wales and have been a multi-instrumentalist for just over ten years.
What is your songwriting process?
I would say that it changes pretty often, but it usually goes one of two ways. Either a song just falls in your lap and is done within fifteen minutes, or you’re stuck on a single idea which you just can’t complete. In those situations, I just write out a structure and fill in the blanks. In a sense, songwriting can be like a colouring book. There’s a frame there, and you colour it in whichever way you see fit.
Tell us about your latest release?
The main aspect of this track is that it is my first attempt at Welsh/bilingual writing. Although brought up in Wales, I’ve never learned how to speak Welsh. Now with the aim of becoming fluent, I’m using songwriting as a tool to help learn the language, with ‘Dyfodol’ being the first Welsh release before further ones later in the year.
What message do you think your music conveys to your fans?
I feel that the message from this song doesn’t necessarily come from the lyrics but more from the narrative. Writing this song was a challenge; not only did I have to learn more Welsh to get the lyrics in, but it was a task to make the lyrics have any sense to them.
Who are your musical influences?
By far, my main and biggest influence is David Bowie. Although he is inimitable, he knew that his brand wasn’t just his music but also his image, which is something I am going to take inspiration from when live gigs come back. So far my releases have all been different genres, but we are soon going to see a stream of releases that are clearly influenced by Prince’s self-titled album and funk bands such as Parcels and L’Impératrice.
Who are your non-musical influences?
My non-musical influences have to be the people who I surround myself with. My friends help point me in the direction of new music which is super important in the creative process. Most importantly, though are my parents who gave me the space to fall into whichever outlet I wanted, in this case, is music.
What’s the best gig that you have ever played?
One of the most memorable gigs that I’ve played is when I got up for one or two songs in the famous Cavern Club in Liverpool. Yet, the most satisfying was the first sold-out show with a previous project called HalfBlind. It was in a venue called Mozarts, in Swansea, and it was about the size of a common living room. It was the most intimate and intense gig that I’ve played.
What is your funniest gig moment?
I would say that the funniest gig moment that I have experienced was when the crowd had cheered for an encore, but we had played every song we had, so we burst into a, probably shocking, acapella rendition of All-Star – Smash Mouth. Maybe without a few beers prior we wouldn’t have made that decision.
What do you think are the biggest obstacles for bands/artists today?
I feel that in terms of opportunity, now is one of the best times to be an artist. Many can buy basic equipment and put out a song if they so feel. However, it is a shame to see the high street on its knees and also music venues really struggling. I hope that once the pandemic is finished that people will find music venues as a place of freedom, safety and a place to frequent.
What advice would you give to other bands/artists starting out?
My advice, as common as it seems, would be just to go for it. Write as much as you can and play as many gigs as possible, no matter how small or big. This means that when the opportunity comes, you will be ready and seasoned.
What are your hopes for the next two years?
I started this project a while ago but launched it during the lockdown. So, for this project, I want to translate the music to a live show the best way I can, I want to make things a spectacle rather than 4/5 people just standing there playing instruments. Until then, I am going to keep releasing from my back catalogue and try to enjoy and develop my songwriting.
FV Music Blog August 2020
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