Hailing from the small village of Cwmaman, Stereophonics have become one of the biggest British rock bands of the last 20 years. Releasing nine albums in that time, and achieving ten top 10 singles, their unique style of rock is still as popular today as ever before. GIGsoup’s Bethan Brace caught up with Kelly Jones and Richard Jones behind the scenes, before their headline slot at Gibraltar Music Festival.

Firstly thanks for meeting with me today.  Is this your first time here in Gibraltar?

Kelly: It is, yeah,

How are you finding it so far?

Kelly: It’s good.  It’s the last leg of the tour for us, this week.  We arrived yesterday, and are really looking forward to preforming later.  It’s not a bad place to bring it all to a close is it?

So, this is a stadium, and a larger venue.  Do you have a favourite type of venue to perform in?

Richard: Well, the thing is we’ve played pretty much every type of venue under the sun. From someone’s back garden to a ski resort.

Kelly: God yeah, the ski resort (chuckling).

Richard: All sorts of great venues, and they’re all so different … This will definitely be a great place though.  Interesting place to bring it all to a close.  We did sound check earlier, and I’m looking forward to do the actual thing now.

So your new album ‘Keep The Village Alive’, to me feels a bit more like a return to your earlier style.  Did anything in particular influence it?

Kelly: Well, these past two albums have been the first time really that we haven’t gone into writing with the view to write an album.  We just went into the studio and recorded some songs.  And sort of bunged them into a running order.  I guess there’s no running theme really.  Just whatever songs sound good together we put on the album!

As a successful Welsh band, do you feel you’ve had an influence on some of the emerging Welsh bands such as Catfish and the Bottlemen, and Pretty Vicious?

Richard: We played with Catfish not too long back actually, up in Wrexham. And yeah, they’re alright. Like good, fun boys.  They said that they listened to our records when they were younger, you yeah, it’s good to know that we’ve had a little bit of influence like.  Especially in a younger generation!

Is there any new music on the horizon at all?

Kelly: For us? Well, I’ve 70% finished the new album, which we hope to release next year – our tenth album in twenty years.  That’s what we’re doing at the moment really, touring and working on that.

When you’re not playing/writing/recording, is there anything in particular that you enjoy listening to?

Kelly: Well, what was I listening to today? I was listening to a band called The Wind and the Wave today which is great.  It’s a boy and a girl, and it Nashville orientated.  They’ve got some really good songs.  What else was I listening to? A bit of David Bowie…  Yeah, just whatever’s going around really.

Richard: My favourite’s the new DJ Shadow album to be honest, it’s really good.  Superb.  There’s some serious concoctions and beats on there.

So I only have one more question really.  When you first started out, did you ever think that there’d be a whole exhibit dedicated to you in the Cynon Valley Museum?

Kelly: Is there really?!

Richard: I think the answer to that would be ‘no’. That’s nice though, I’d be curious to see what’s in there (laughing).

Kelly: Is it the one next to Tescos? I use to walk past there when I was working in Aberdare market, to check the prices of bananas to make sure we stayed competitive.

Richard: Who doesn’t love a good old bit of Aberdare history?

‘Keep The Village Alive’ is out now via Stylus Records

This Stereophonics article was written by Bethan Brace, a GIGsoup contributor

Stereophonics 'Keep The Village Alive' - ALBUM REVIEW

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