Carwyn Ellis


Tuesday 20th August 2019

Name, where are you from?
Carwyn Ellis. I come from Benllech, a seaside village in Wales.

Describe your style in three words?
Marvellous melodic melange.

What’s the best gig you’ve ever been to?
The Beastie Boys, Brixton Academy 1998. I was watching one of the greatest musical acts in popular music at their peak. They knew it, and I knew it. A phenomenal experience. They performed three separate sets - one straight hip-hop with just the 3 MCs and 1 DJ, then a hardcore power trio set and to cap it off, a set with a full band including Money Mark on keys and Eric Bobo on percussion. Supreme.

If you could be on the line up with any two bands in history?
How about Dr John in the early seventies when the Meters were his band? That would be amazing - musically and because they'd be a great bunch to hang out with, and I could learn tons from them about New Orleans rhythm and soul music. And they'd be really fun to get loaded with! On the same note, how about Miles Davis and his band from around the same time? Amazing musicians from North and South America playing some far-out psychedelic funk. That would be sensational! And between us, we could play all day and all night.

Which Subcultures have influenced you?
I'd say the Deadheads - I was one in my teens, and even went to see the Grateful Dead in London in 1990. By that point, they weren't particularly great as a band but their fans were amazing. Utterly dedicated. The vast majority of the crowds at the two nights I saw at Wembley Arena were Americans who'd travelled to see the band. And they were really nice folks - I was happy to be among them. The other subculture I immersed myself in was hip-hop a few years later into the '90s. The 'golden era' - the only period I've lived through when a great art form that meant something to me was hitting its peak. There were so many great records coming out at the time, and so many great artists coming to play in the UK: De La Soul, Gang Starr, the Pharcyde, Gravediggaz, Cypress Hill, A Tribe Called Quest, Public Enemy and loads of others. Such an exciting time.

If you could spend an hour with anyone from history?
Les Dawson - he'd be a good laugh.

Of all the venues you’ve been to, which is your favourite?
Brixton Academy. I've seen so many brilliant shows there. The Beastie Boys, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Bob Dylan, Public Enemy, Jimmy Cliff - too many incredible nights to mention. With great sound, and with sightlines which mean people can actually see.

Your greatest unsung hero or heroine in music?
My best mate, David Fletcher. He gave me his unconditional support throughout our friendship and gave me somewhere to live when I needed a new start. He played bass with me when I started out as a singer and was there for me whenever I asked. And he was one of the finest, if not THE finest classical double bass player of his generation. He's been gone 10 years now, and I miss him very much.

Carwyn Ellis CV includes work with Colorama, Edwyn Collins and The Pretenders. It was Pretenders frontwoman, Chrissie Hynde who introduced Carwyn to legendary Brazilian producer and multi-instrumentalist, Kassin. Ellis travelled to Rio to work with Kassin in the studio, along with some of Rio's finest musicians, and the result is Carwyn Ellis' first solo album 'Joia!'.

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