Rogue Jones - "Dos Bebés" Their brand album is available now - Yr albwm newydd allan nawr
By: Ceri Shaw
Posted in: about
By: Ceri Shaw
Posted in: about
Recorded during a 5 year period which started whilst Bethan and Ynyr (Rogue Jones) were expecting their first child and ended just before the birth of their second child. Dau Fabi. Two Babies. Dos Bebés, is an album exploring life in all its messy glory – light and dark, profound and ridiculous….Raw, bombastic, vulnerable, gentle, big, playful. LIFE and LIVING….BEING ALIVE, embracing the imperfections and seeing the beauty in every moment.
“The initial sessions back in 2017 were experimental and meandering; we turned up in Tŷ Drwg (the studio home of our longtime producer Frank Naughton) with only very loose sketches of songs and often built the song up in the studio in an extremely liberating way of composing and recording.
By the end of the recording process, in winter 2021, we were up against it to finish the album before the baby arrived so a more raw and impulsive approach was taken.
The fact that we have two main song-writers who have quite different styles and influences means that the band’s songs tend to be quite varied in genre. Our first album was quite varied in its musical style and instead of intentionally trying to hone down to a ‘Rogue Jones’ sound for the second album we just wrote and recorded however we felt and embraced the eclectic nature of our sound. And it turns out that even when we try to make 70s disco, thumping dance music or soulful ballads; it still somehow comes out sounding like us and us alone.
Some songs deal directly with parenthood, but all songs are viewed through the prism of becoming parents in a way, whether they’re concerned with spirituality, religion, politics or anything else.
The album takes us through a 5 year period of our life - from hearing a baby’s heartbeat for the first time, through childbirth, toddlers scribbling on things, to pondering why so many new fathers take up Iron Man triathlons, alongside the varied themes and thoughts that floated through our heads - a song that came fully formed in a dream, one based on an alien conspiracy theory, mathematical conundrums, and politics of love. It’s a representation of our subconscious in this time.
Our second child has been present, albeit in the womb, for so much of the recording, mixing and mastering process that playing the album is an effective way of getting him off to sleep. Our eldest was at the very first sessions in the womb and came along to a few sessions when we didn’t have childcare so they’re both a presence on the record.
“Dos Bebés is an album bursting at the seams with big ideas and small vulnerable moments of unguarded honesty. Melodically these songs entwine around your heart and guide you through a life changing journey of birth and love. There is an innocent wide eyed creative wonder to 'Dos Bebés' that’s enthralling, a carefree abundance of ideas that make the album a musical treasure trove” - Libertino
Musical Influences Bethan
PJ Harvey, Queen, Kate Bush, Grandaddy, Animal Collective, Du Blonde, LCD Soundsystem, Beyonce, CSS, Fleetwood Mac, Datblygu. Music with rawness, braveness or fun. The piano debuts and features a lot on this album as we bought one with our wedding money just after the release of our 1st album and turns out a piano is a good instrument to play with a baby in your lap or during a pandemic. I had an unsuccessful run of 5 piano teachers quitting on me, so I like to think this is to show that the music comes from within you, not from others.
Musical Influences Ynyr
North American indie bands 2000-2010 who got 5* Reviews in Uncut Magazine, LCD Soundsystem, Elephant 6, Talking Heads, Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen, Abba, Madonna, Datblygu, Serge Gainsbourg and the obligatory SFA & GZM.
Arthur Russell, although there’s not a particular song that sounds to me like any of his songs, was a quiet and persistent influence. His mixing of acoustic, classical instruments with electronic sounds and general dis-regard for genre constraints within his work was an inspiration and freed me up to take songs in the direction they wanted to go.
I was also listening to a lot of Abba Gold and Madonna’s greatest hits so there were definitely attempts at pure, direct pop music too.
Also, Huw Chiswell’s (Welsh language singer songwriter) Greatest Hits compilation has the most varied track-listing by mood of any collection of songs ever. It oscillates between sombre and ecstatic from one song to the next and I realised how much I enjoy that variety of moods in one album.
The album was recorded, as with our debut album VU, with Frank Naughton in Tŷ Drwg Studios Grangetown, Caerdydd.
It was mixed by Llyr Parri and mastered by Sion Orgon.
The bulk of the instruments were played by Bethan and Ynyr with Frank Naughton helping out with some drums and bass here and there.
We called Llyr Parri up mid-session to ask if he wanted to come and play some drums on a few tracks, when he asked ‘when?’, we said ‘now?’ and he said ‘ok’ – before we knew it he was in the live room, on a kit he’d never played before, playing perfectly to songs he’d never heard before.
Regular Rogue Jones members Steffan Ebsworth and HarriRees appear along with the ‘Rogue Jones Orchestra’; Elen Ifan and Mari Morgan. Elen on cello in Grangetown and Mari recording her violin parts from Caernarfon with engineering assistance from Gruff Ab Arwel.
We were also joined by two very special guests;
Ioan Hefin; our neighbour and the man responsible for the greatest brass solo in Welsh music with Eryr Wen’s ‘Gloria Ty’d Adra’ on trumpet and marching horn on 1,2,3 and Lemonade
And Eilir Pierce, the enigmatic genius whose spoken word ranting about lemon meringue pie on Lemonade is a highlight of the record.
Dos Bebés - Track Listing:
1. Triongl Dyfed
2. Off By One
3. Englynion Angylion
5. Fflachlwch Bach
6. 1, 2, 3
7. 155 bpm
8. Y Tad, Y Mab a’r Ysbryd Glân
11. R Williams Parry