oblong describe themselves as “Possibly Llanelli’s only bilingual post-punk combo”. It’s this attitude which got us interested here at EP, and made us want to look more into the Welsh trio, whose new song, ‘Tunguska’ has had some considerable radio coverage. EP asked oblong Six Quick Questions.
EP: ‘oblong’ is an interesting name for a band! What’s the story behind that?
o: We decided to choose a name that reflected the bi-lingual nature of the band – a name that would be recognisable in both English and Welsh. So oblong – the band not the shape – was the choice. A short punchy and hopefully memorable name – always lower-case, never capital “O”, ok?
EP: Who are oblong and how did you come together? What’s your style of music?
o: oblong is Andrew Clement on guitar with Rob Daniels on bass guitar and Hyws Grav on drums. Andrew and Hyws go back a long way having played together in The Hepburns. Rob is a relative newcomer to the rock scene quickly developing his songwriting and performing talents.
Our music is a distillation from years of listening to and absorbing everything from Burt Bacarach to the Lovely Eggs. You could say we have shamelessly plagiarised every band we’ve ever heard to come up with a shimmering tapestry of stolen ideas. But, to paraphrase T.S. Eliot, “Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal.” Our lyrics set out to examine the usual issues which confront most 21st Century Welshmen: zombies, overlooked philosophers, pub jukeboxes, portable telephones and casual nihilism.
EP: We love that you sing in Welsh in ‘Tunguska’! The song is a rocking track and we really enjoyed the music, even though we couldn’t understand the words. What made you write about the Tunguska event (we think…)? Do you think more bands should sing in their own language as well as English?
o: Rob always looks at things from a skewed viewpoint. ‘Tunguska’ was inspired by the sight of some fallen trees near where we live and in his imagination the scene instantly became Tunguska in Siberia – what if that cataclysmic event of 1908 had been transported to this spot in Wales a hundred years after the original? What actually caused the devastation? We sing in both English and Welsh because it’s just a natural thing for us to do without any thinking or planning – just like breathing. We don’t feel we should tell any other band what to do, it’s just right for us.
EP: What have been the highs and lows of your career as a band so far?
o: It’s been all highs so far for oblong. Getting our first radio play by Adam Walton on BBC Radio Wales was a huge affirmation that people might want to listen to what we were playing. Also the support from one of our heroes, Rhys Mwyn formerly with Anrhefn, has been a source of constant encouragement.
EP: What’s your take on the current state of the music industry?
o: The music industry is what it is. Thankfully, we’re in oblong making music for the sheer thrill and pleasure of it all. We’d be happy if it only affected one person – having said that, we’ve had a very broad and enthusiastic response so far. As for being hugely successful and making a fortune? Forget it. Our attitude is that we keep doing the right things for the right reasons.
EP: What question do you wish someone would ask you in an interview, but nobody ever does?
o: What exactly is band-ter? Well it’s a portmanteau word combing ‘band’ and ‘banter’. It’s the trash talk that goes on between us, ranging from leg pulling and gentle barbs about our own shortcomings, to shamelessly vocalising our pipe dreams about where the band will end up one day.
Find oblong online on Twitter and Facebook. Check out ‘Tunguska’ here: