Welsh singer-songwriter Gwenifer Raymond began playing guitar at the age of eight shortly after having been first exposed to punk and grunge. After years of playing around the Welsh valleys in various punk outfits she began listening more to pre-war blues musicians as well as Appalachian folk players, eventually leading into the guitar players of the American Primitive genre.
Gwenifwer released her sophomore LP ‘Strange Lights Over Garth Mountain’ at the end of 2020 to rapturous response. Her debut ‘You Never Were Much Of A Dancer’ emerged on Tompkins Square to the same response in 2018. She has found herself equally embraced by fans of old-west and equally, by left field/experimental audiences. Appearances throughout the UK and the EU as well as the US marks her out as one to watch.
Currently on tour across the UK, Gwenifer recently discussed her music inspirations with Andy Howells.
What was the first song that made an impact on you?
When I was eight or nine or so I had a little personal Walkman but very little interest in music (I just used it to listen to books on tape). Then, one day my mum gave me a cassette copy of Nirvana’s Nevermind, which pretty much changed everything for me. I would run around the house, headphones on, listening to it on repeat. Shortly thereafter I asked if I could have a guitar.
What was the first single you bought?
That was a very long time ago… I don’t think I really bought singles much. I remember the early albums I had were a lot of grunge classics like Nevermind, Celebrity Skin and Bricks are Heavy. Specifically single-wise I don’t know for sure – it might have been a 7″ super indie release called ‘Fantastic True Bowling Stories’, which I bought from this regular music night that used to run in a Cardiff youth centre.
What was the first album you owned?
Again, we’re back to Nevermind, that cassette tape given to me by my mum that pretty much changed the course of my life.
What’s your constant go to track?
I don’t really have a go-to track, I’m somewhat obsessive about finding new stuff. My favourite track is often the latest one I’ve found. Though there are a few go-to tracks I tend to throw on compilations when I’m compiling them. Stuff that I’m insistent on forcing on other people. Tracks like Mother’s Last Word to Her Son by Washington Phillips, Jitterbug Rag by Blind Boy Fuller, Standing in a Trashcan by Legendary Stardust Cowboy. There’s no one track really.
What’s your constant go to album?
Similarly I don’t have a go to album, it’s just whatever the latest thing I’ve found is. Though every now and again I’ll go to the albums of my youth. Stuff from Nirvana, Pixies, Butthole Surfers and the like. Whenever I do that it’s like a weird treat and I’m suddenly reminded of how damn good those albums are and why I was so obsessed with them as a kid.
Who’s your latest music discovery?
Someone recently linked me to A Courteous Invitation To An Uninhabited Anabatic Prism by Decolonize Your Mind Society, and that is an absolute jam.
What’s your own track that best defines you as an artist?
Maybe you can tell I’m not much of a lingerer on old stuff and I’m always most interested in what’s next. I guess in that way I figure the track that best defines me is always the one I’m currently writing. I generally take a long time to write a track too, so it’s quite a drawn-out relationship. I guess if I really have to pick one, then the track that made me take something of a stylistic shift to a more, I guess, ‘compositional’ style (which I think defines me these days) would be The Three Deaths of Red Spectre.
Where To See Gwenifer Raymond LIve
- September 18 – The Castle Hotel – Manchester
- September 19 – The Continental – Preston
- September 20 – The Musician – Leicester
- September 21 – The Crescent – York
- September 22 – Brudenell Social Club – Leeds
- September 23 – The Old Cinema Launderette – Durham
- September 24 – Café #9 – Sheffield
- October 29 – Toy Museum – Brighton
- November 12 – King’s Place London Jazz Festival
- November 13 – The Wight Bear – Bournemouth
- November 14 – MAST – Southampton