Christopher Rees has just finished his excellent set on the Green Man Café stage (pictured above) and I’ve just managed to grab a quick five minutes with him for a chat.
Glasswerk : Chris, what kind of festival has it been for you so far? You seemed to suggest from the stage that you’d had rather a heavy session last night?
CR : Yeah, I think I overdid it a little bit last night, a bit to eager with the festivities shall we say.
Glasswerk : Feeling it a bit this morning then?
CR : I was woken up this morning by the noise of the rain thumping on the top of tent, which is not the best way to wake up, but I think we just about got through the set.
Glasswerk : It seemed to be a very good crowd given the weather and it even stopped raining for a while whilst you were on. Is this climatic change down to you? Would it stop again now if you came back on stage?
CR : No sadly not, but it was nice that it abated for a while so people could enjoy the music and hopefully it will ease up for the rest of the day as it’s such a beautiful festival and a truly gorgeous site.
Glasswerk : So the new album is done and it seems to me that there is still a very dark edge about your music and lyrics, is this correct? And how would you explain it?
CR : I don’t know? I suppose there is sense of angst in most Welsh people. As far as music goes it’s that kind of music I’ve always been drawn to, something with a bit more edge and sustenance. As for my music I write about what I know and it’s all a very cathartic process for me.
Glasswerk: Is that a difficult process to go through or is it something that comes quite easily?
CR : No it comes quite easily actually (laughing). It’s very cathartic and nice to unburden myself of whatever is in my head by writing it down and making something positive out of something negative
Glasswerk : Your work also encourages collaboration, is this something you also enjoy?
CR : Well it’s kind of come full circle from the first album, which had a huge arrangement of cello, violins, double bass and guitars. Then the last record was a complete solo record where I played everything myself. Whereas the new record is a balance of both sides with some of the songs having a lush arrangements, which is in contrast to the other more stripped down, stark numbers.
Glasswerk : What about the vocal collaborations on the new album?
CR : Well this was a first for me, so I feel really blessed to have fantastic voices such as Victoria Williams, who I’ve been a fan of for over 10 years, and also Becky Newman from The Hot Puppies, who has an incredible voice and worked on five songs on this album.
Glasswerk : The band you played with today, is it a new outfit or are they people you worked with before.
CR : I’ve worked off and on with them before and they worked on some of the tracks for the new album along with other musicians, as I tried to get the correct sound for each song. As I do a lot of solo shows I can’t really afford to take a big band on the road.
Glasswerk : So when the album comes out I noticed your planning a huge tour. Is that going to be with the band or a solo effort?
CR : Probably about half a dozen with the band, with all the other dates
being solo performances by myself.
Glasswerk : Is it more nerve racking being on stage on your own, how does that work exactly?
CR : No not at all, it’s far worse with a band, especially when they are under rehearsed (laughing), a bit like today. Basically there are far less things that can go wrong when it’s just me, apart from my own memory.
Glasswerk : With half the festival still to go, who are you excited to catch live?
CR : Well Victoria Williams is playing here tonight and I can’t wait for that as I may do a song with her. Obviously the golden god himself Robert Plant later tonight should be a particular highlight. It’s a fantastic line up as usual and it’s brilliant to be back.
Glasswerk : So this is not the first appearance at the Green Man?
CR : No not at all, I was at the first one in Craig Norse Castle and then two years ago I played at Baskerville hall, but this is the first time I’ve played on this site.
Glasswerk : It must be a huge difference between this year and the first festival 5 years ago.
CR : Well the first year had a total capacity of about 350 people and over the years they have done a fantastic job allowing the festival to grow organically. This festival has a very different feel to all the others; despite the rain I think you’ll see a lot more smiles on faces here.
Glasswerk : One last question, Is it going to stop raining at some point?
CR : I certainly hope so to say the least.
sadly it didn't for most of the day but Chris was right about the festival and those in attendance.