Six Strings of Tension: Gwenifer Raymond

By Duncan Park

For this episode we traverse to the British Isles for the first time to speak with shadowy Welsh apparition, and apocalyptically dexterous Welsh Primitive player, Gwenifer Raymond.

A lesson in Welsh musical history is imparted, with tales of Newport once being dubbed the “new Seattle” with flagship venue TJ’s leading the charge (post-interview research reveals this is allegedly where Kurt Cobain proposed to Courtney Love), and the glory of playing in punk bands in The Valleys. We speak about Gwenifer’s musical origins and influences, and how “Hendrix was the only guitar wanker who could get away with it” (what a fucking quote, eh). Also, when it comes to electric guitar, the love of feedback triumphs over the classic solo.

Electric guitars aside, we talk about Welsh landscapes and how the ineffable feeling of visions and nostalgia of where and how you grew up permeates the music you create. In Gwenifer’s instance this would be the woods at the foot of the Garth Mountain – dark forests, cold, misty, and imbued with gothic atmosphere. And as a South African living in the tropical city of Durban where monkeys swing from the trees, I can confirm that the cold, gothic forests and mountains of an Ancient, Arthurian Wales is exactly where Gwenifer’s music somehow transports me to every time I hear it.

In terms of six stringed technicalities, for a third time on the podcast, nickel strings get a shout out (technically nickel alloy if you want the specifics), and the merits of certain recording techniques and the use of digital processing in recording acoustic guitars are discussed (if it sounds good, go for it). Chats about horror movies are where the conversation gets truly interesting, and for real, A24 needs to get Gwenifer to write a soundtrack for a classic British folk horror that they almost certainly have in the pipeline.

Songs about dogs are the only beautiful songs.

Please also note the announcement that the Lovely Eggs are the best band in the UK.

At first, you can hear how nervous I am to speak with such an incredible guitarist whomst I hold in the highest revere, but the nerves quickly settle as soon as we get into the familiar discussion territory of the glory of grunge, and the genius of Joey Santiago. It must be noted that every single song in Gwenifer’s solo repertoire is an attempt to do Vamos by the Pixies.

I hope you enjoy this chat with the wonderfully wild and surprisingly affable Gwenifer Raymond.

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