Wednesday, 4 May 2016


From left to right - Gareth, Rhys, Billy and Jamie
BANDICOOT are a Swansea based band who have now been together for 3 years.
The main genre of the band is described by the boys is alternative / indie although they take individual influences from artists and bands of genres ranging from rock 'n' roll to punk.
This band consisting of Rhys Underdown (vocals, guitar, rhythm, saxophone and synth), Gareth Goss (lead guitar and vocals), Jamie Morgan (bass) and Billy Stillman (drums) have hit their local music scene hard by already selling out venues.
They have already embarked on a UK tour which for a band of 18 to 19 year olds is impressive.
I previously reviewed 'Everything I Know' by Bandicoot and now love their music. Luckily for me I managed to get an interview with the band!
(For first person reference the interview was carried out by the bands drummer Billy).
Firstly, where did you all meet?
Three of us (Rhys, Gareth and Billy) went to the same primary school so we've known each other for a while. Obviously we didn't know what was to come when we were 4 years old! When we were all around 16, we decided it would be a good idea to start a band. And so that's what we've been doing these past 3 years and absolutely loving it. We've recently welcomed new bassist and good friend Jamie into the band and things are going swimmingly.
I have an inkling about this and I hope I'm right but where did the name Bandicoot come from?
The name did indeed come about from our childhood favourite video game Crash Bandicoot. Unless you were thinking of something else.. It wasn't actually us who came up with the name, it was our good friend Huw. We were flinging names back and forth and Bandicoot is the one that seems to have stuck!
I know Billy previously played piano before discovering the drums but pre-Bandicoot did any of you play a different instrument than the one you do in the band?
Gareth and Rhys both played violin at a young age and I'm pretty sure we all played the recorder at some point.
What is individually what are your favourite venues?
I think it's safe to say that a favourite of ours was The Lemon Factory in Swansea which sadly had to close down recently. Every time we gigged there the crowd was mental and the atmosphere was amazing. So gutted it's gone. A new favourite of ours has got to be Fiddler's Elbow in Camden, we played there last Sunday. It was such an awesome feeling to be playing in London for the first time and the crowd was great.
Is there a city in the UK you haven't yet played which any of you would like to?
All of us are pretty keen to play Brighton. We've heard the music scene there is pretty booming so it would be great for us to get a gig in a city with a love for music. We're playing a place called Calne on the 10th of June, which is fairly close to Bristol, so we're really looking forward to that!
Outside of the UK, where is the place you guys would like to play the most?
Literally anywhere outside of the UK. It would be so awesome to get a gig so far out. For the first 2 years or so of band, we were pretty much only gigging in Swansea, then further down the line we got a couple in Cardiff and Bristol. This past year has been crazy because we've been all over the place, recently doing a short UK tour - Cardiff, Edinburgh, Blackpool, Nottingham, Leicester. We remember wondering where Bandicoot was going to be in a few years in one of our first practices, and looking back on all we've done so far is just nuts!
What would each of you say had been your biggest musical achievement to date?
I think we'd all agree that supporting VANT at Sin City in Swansea a couple of weeks ago was our best musical achievement to date. To be asked to be the local support for a band who are well ahead of us and a great band at that, was an absolute honour. Having one of our tracks 'Shake' be played on BBC Radio Wales was huge for us too as well as playing alongside Blaenavon at The Lemon Factory, a band that we'd seen live beforehand and loved.

Who would you guys say the biggest influences for your band are? Are these influences people in which you all grew up listening to or did you find them later in life?
In general, bands like Joy Division, The Smiths and The Doors probably inspired our sound and original ideas. However as individuals we have very different music tastes. Rhys is a huge fan of bands like Radiohead and The Talking Heads, Gareth has recently found a love for Mac DeMarco and loves a bit of techno, Jamie's a fan of The Stone Roses and Billy's favourites are blink-182 and Nirvana. As band, we take huge inspiration from Wolf Alice. Their sound is so unique and we admire that, and some of our new stuff has really been influenced by that band.
Individually, what do you think makes a good gig?
That is a great question. A good gig depends on so many different things all of the time, from how each of us feel before the gig, to how the crowd respond. When we played in Edinburgh in a venue called The Bannerman's Club, our audience was quite literally the sound guy for most of the set, but it was such a great gig. We were all constantly looking at each other on stage and we had such a good connection. I think that gig was really good for us because we learnt that you don't need a big crowd to have a good time, it was well worth travelling up to Edinburgh for that gig.
In your spare time, what do you find yourselves doing?
We're pretty much with each other all of the time, but when we're not we find ourselves spending time with our pets (we all love animals), playing Star Wars Battlefront, eating interesting foods and always listening to music.
Other than being musicians in a band, what would your ideal careers be?
Rhys is keen on being a writer, he loves the lyric-writing part of band. Gareth would like to go down various paths, such as starting up his own coffee emporium and train line, Jamie would like to be a lawyer and Billy would love to own a cat farm.
What are your favourite foods?
Rhys: Tuna
Gareth: Monkey brains
Jamie: McDonald's
Billy: Squid
What would you all individually say your weirdest quirks are?
Rhys: Is a professional sandwich constructor
Gareth: Enjoys eating cat food
Jamie: Burps like a beast
Billy: Often brakes into dance
I have seen 3 new tracks you've recorded being mentioned; when can we expect these tracks? Why do you think these are your best tracks yet?
You have?! Nobody was meant to see that!! Now it's out there, you will be able to hear at least one of these tracks in the next few weeks and we will release the other 2 over the coming weeks. These recent recordings best describe our current sound. Over the years we have been trying to find the Bandicoot sound, and at the moment we all feel that we have found a unique sound that can only grow over time.
Other than the new tracks; what else can we expect from Bandicoot in 2016?
For the remainder of 2016, we will be doing a lot of gigging, announcing a second UK tour for mid-June. We're also in the process of setting up our own recording studio, so you can expect even more tracks later on in the year. Other than that, we are excited about what else 2016 will bring us, so keep your eyes peeled!

You can catch Bandicoot at the following venues on the following dates:
Fuel, Cardiff - 5th May 2016
Cinema & Co, Swansea - 6th May 2016
Gwdihw, Cardiff - 12th May 2016
The Scene, Cardiff - 13th May 2016

Written by Sophie.

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