Consisting of Glyn Rhys-James, Jacob Hodges, Ellis Walker and Sam Brown, slacker rockers Mellt – originally Aberystwyth schoolfriends, now Cardiff-based – have their second album fresh out. Titled Dim Dwywaith (Not Twice), it features accounts of adulthood, Welsh identity and technological development, and the band told Emma Way more about it.
How long have you been working on the album Dim Dwywaith?
Glyn Rhys-James, vocals: We started in March 2020, just before the first lockdown. We recorded the drums in the studio, in Fairwater in Cardiff.
Were you worried about the second album curse?
Glyn: Yeah for sure, because we are quite particular about what we like. We’re very judgmental [laughs]. So maybe that helps somewhat.
Jacob Hodges, drums: I think a lot of bands get rushed into a second album. It’s the classic thing, isn’t it? They do the first one, it’s got all the songs on it they’ve been working on for years and then they become successful.
Glyn: We’ve obviously not had that; we’ve had time to work on it and get it right.
Was there ever a point where you wanted to just put it out?
Glyn: Yeah, in the first month of lockdown we recorded what still is the main body of the album and we quite liked it the way it was at the time. But it wasn’t really finished until we’d already started putting out singles.
And you touch on being in your twenties on the album; if you had to give someone a bit of advice about turning 20 what would it be?
Glyn: Don’t worry about it so much. You’re still a kid!
Where did the title Dim Dwywaith (Not Twice) come from?
Glyn: One of the singles, Byth Bythol, has those lyrics in it. We were driving back from somewhere the other day, and this guy on the radio kept saying the phrase – it’s quite a common thing Welsh people say. Also, because it’d been so long since our first album, there was this idea that maybe we would never actually do the second one.
Ellis: I’ve spoken to people before who’ve been like, “oh, you’re still going is it?”
Glyn: And then the final thing was that the name of the band means lightning and lightning never strikes twice. There were a couple of little things like that which made it seem like Dim Dwywaith was a good thing to call the album.
Being a Welsh-speaking band, and you mentioned that you pick up on phrases from the radio, do you find that you use common phrases in your music?
Glyn: We try to make our lyrics quite learner-friendly. Sam [Brown, recently joined bassist] doesn’t speak Welsh, unfortunately – but his Duolingo score is almost at 30! Ellis bought me a Welsh idiom book as well; in the past, we’ve translated English idioms into Welsh, which is kind of frowned upon because we have our own idioms. So we’ve been touching up on our common Welsh idioms.
How do you want these songs to translate live when you play them?
Glyn: The way we recorded this second album was different to how we recorded the first, which was mostly done live. It’s not a studio album or anything like that, but it is slightly more polished. I think the live thing will come across – everything will definitely be faster than it is on the record and a bit punkier, because I think we’re a bit more punky live. I think it will have a bit more oomph behind it.
Ellis: There’s more instrumentation, and extra guitar tracks and overdubs that we obviously can’t do live – or at least not permanently; we are hoping to do a concert where we have more people with us.
What was the decision behind making Where By When, the last but one track on the album, English-speaking?
Glyn: The song was originally conceived in English. We had thought about translating it and did try a little bit, but it wasn’t coming naturally. So we thought, it’s one song and hopefully our Welsh-speaking fans will forgive us this once.
Ellis: Yeah, but not twice!
Mellt play the Bunkhouse, Swansea, Fri 10 Nov; Cwrw, Carmarthen, Sat 11; Le Public Space, Newport, Sat 18; Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff, Fri 24.
Dim Dwywaith is released on Fri 27 Oct via Clwb Music.
words EMMA WAY