X-Files tributes and an explosive duet with Space have catapulted Catatonia's CERYS MATTHEWS into the big league. Question is, will it go to her head? Not likely. Words: Claire Prentice
l'.\'TlL Rli(‘li.\"l‘LY Tllli prospect of a Welsh rock scene was about as \‘iable and laughable >- as the Scots winning the World ('up. or the Japanese producing the next Mr l'niyerse.
Maybe it‘s the Welin Water Board‘s fault. but oyer the last year or so. a battery of musical talent has kicked into gear from deep within the Valleys. sending the London-lutsed record labels into a spin. Welsh is officially en rogue and (‘ardiff band ('atatonia haye joined the Manic Street Preachers in the premier league.
After the years spent kicking around the low 30s. (‘atatonia had a Top Three hit on their hands with X-/*i/('.s'-homage ‘Mulder And Scully'. which gaye them their '10,) ()_/"I‘/n’ Pups debut. copious amounts of air time and a forthcoming l'K tottr that looks set to sell out in days.
"l’he most bizarre thing so far was going to my sister‘s wedding last week and being asked for my autograph.‘ laughs (‘atatonia’s lass with the lungs ('erys Matthews. ‘lt was really freaky.’
Then there is her duet with Tommy Scott on
has recently sounded more acutely accented. she belieyes la/y journalists rather than any similarin in style haye created a so-called ‘Welsh scene‘. Truth be told. ('atatonia are miles from the space age of (iorky‘s Zygotic Mynci and the Super l’urrys Animals~ whacked out psychedelia.
Though a vociferous supporter of the Yes campaign in the deyolution referendtnn. ('erys has an ambiyalent relationship with Wales. While some of the band‘s most beautiful songs are in their mother tongue. ('atatonia now want to reach a global audience. proyoking disapproyal from Welsh .\'at traditionalists.
They are delighted by their recent success. but the band are trying hard to keep their feet on the ground. After all. just three years ago the band members were pooling their dole money to pay for yan hire and petrol to make the seyen hour journey from (‘ardiff to London for a gig.
‘l'm terriny excitable but I'm also incredibly superstitious by nature.' says Cerys. don‘t want to go
‘My heroes have all been really big drinkers and I've always just thought "I’ll have some of that
Space's ‘The Ballad Of Tom Jones‘ which. while whifling ofopportunism. is an undeniably catchy latter day Lee ‘n' Nancy routine. And to top it all. (‘atatonia's second album
flying and then fall flat on my face. which l’ye
International ll'li'et done before.
4 Cerys Matthews: 60-a-day charm
‘ a beguiling mix of Top 'l‘en-bound classics. paranoid. shiyery late ‘)()s trip-pop and barbed multi-purpose lyrics -- has been lapped up in all quarters.
Yep. rising aboye the ranks of run of the mill indie under—achievers. (‘atatonia have become impossible to ignore. And even with the odd banality they haye been catapulted into the realms of blissful exuberance by ('erys‘s unique (i()-a—day. choir girl Voice and her own sexually loaded take on life.
Perhaps not surprisingly. she admits some of
her lyrics haye caused upset to assorted exes immortalised in song. but she adds: 'The intisic comes first. eyen though it sounds a bit harsh..
To date the publicity has focused strongly on (‘erys -— hardly surprising considering her feisty back-chat and sexy bottle-blonde and up-for-it looks. But she modestly asserts the current success is down to the whole hand. She is also getting a tad pissed off with the interyiew malarkey. again dodging rumours of a romance with Space’s Tommy.
‘I sometimes make things up in interyiews because it gets so boring answering the same questions all the time.' she coos with a childlike sense of mischief.
With bands like (i()ft l)o|ls. Stereophonics. (lorky‘s Zygotic Mynci and Noyocain joining a scene spearheaded by the Manic Street Preachers. the Welsh renaissance is gathering momentum. But while (‘erys‘s own (‘eltic rasp
But it is kind of difficult not to.'
It was during the thankless old days that the band earned their reputation for hard core boo/.ing ~ they would regularly get tanked tip on record company sweeteners so that by the time they hit the stage they could barely stand. let alone play. liyen more legendary is the time ('erys went to a Lightning Seeds gig. only to awaken from the subsequent bender in Marseilles.
‘liyeryone goes on about our drinking so much that in a way it‘d be fun to give it up. but that would be even more boring.~ she says. ‘I guess my heroes have all been really big drinkers and [We always just thought “l‘ll haye some of that please".'
While not one for healthy living. (‘erys has been forced to cut down on the tabs after her doctor somewhat incredulously told her she was beginning to sound like a man. This is no career—led wussing out though ~ despite doctor‘s orders. (‘erys has no intention of letting her hectic schedule get in the way of partying.
‘.»\II it really means is just that I've got more of an excuse to party now.’ she says. Like she eyer needed one.
please".' Cerys Matthews
Catatonia are at Barrowland, Glasgow, Tue 24 Mar. See Music listings.
2 1998 THE lIST 15