Gruffydd Maredudd Bowen Rhys (Welsh pronunciation: [??r?f ?r???s]; born 18 July 1970 in Haverfordwest) is a Welsh musician, performing solo and with several bands, including the Super Furry Animals who obtained mainstream success in the 1990s. He also most recently formed the electro-pop outfit Neon Neon with DJ Boom Bip. Their album Stainless Style was nominated for the 2008 Nationwide Mercury Prize.
Ffa Coffi Pawb
After playing drums for the band Emily, Gruff Rhys found fame in Wales as the front man of Ffa Coffi Pawb. Translated, the name means 'everyone's coffee beans', though if said quickly in Welsh, it can sound like 'Fuck off everyone'.
On signing to Ankstmusik, Ffa Coffi Pawb became one of the leading bands on the Welsh music scene, and released three albums - Clymhalio, Dalec Peilon and Hei Vidal!'.
Rhys plays the guitar in an unusual style. He is left-handed and learnt to play on his brothers right-handed guitar. Rather than invert the nut and re-string it he taught himself to play a right-handed guitar upside down so the bass strings are on the bottom.
Super Furry Animals
When Ffa Coffi Pawb disbanded in 1993, Rhys and drummer Dafydd Ieuan, of Rhoscefnhir, Anglesey, who had played for Catatonia, Anhrefn, Hanner Pei and many other Welsh language bands, formed the basis of the Super Furry Animals. They soon settled on a line-up consisting of Rhys on vocals and guitar, Ieuan on drums, his brother Cian Ciaran (formerly of WWZZ) on keyboards, Huw Bunford (formerly of U-Thant) on guitar and Guto Pryce on bass. This line-up has remained constant to the present day, although the role of each member has become more flexible, particularly in the studio.
In 1995, following a couple of largely Welsh-language EPs on the Ankst label, they signed to Creation Records. Apparently, when offering them the deal after a gig, Alan McGee, head of Creation, asked that they sing more songs in English. Rhys pointed out that all the songs that night had been in English. The Super Furries went on to release of their critically-acclaimed first album, Fuzzy Logic, in 1996 - the first time Rhys had recorded in English. He later observed that his singing sounded like a random collection of accents - but it was nevertheless very successful.
Follow-up albums included Radiator in 1997, Guerrilla in 1999 and Mwng in 2000. They also became particularly famous for their 40-foot inflatable bears and the SFA blue tank, which toured summer festivals playing techno music at high volume. The Super Furries made a further mark on history in July 2001, when they released their first album for the Sony label, Rings Around the World, on CD and DVD simultaneously: they repeated this for 2003's Phantom Power. Unfortunately 2005's Love Kraft performed poorly commercially and SFA agreed to leave Sony. They are presently signed to Rough Trade and released Hey Venus! in 2007 in the UK.
On 24 January 2005, Gruff Rhys released his first solo album, Yr Atal Genhedlaeth on the Placid Casual label. This was a loose, sketchy, all-Welsh-language record, with most of the instruments played by Rhys. A tour of Wales and several festival appearances followed. After SFA signed to Rough Trade, the new label agreed to take on his solo work as well and on 8 January 2007 they released Candylion, a batch of acoustic pop songs in English, Spanish and Welsh, which Rhys wrote whilst touring Love Kraft but which didn't fit with the direction of the new SFA album. (It came out on Team Love in the United States.)
In 2007 Rhys launched a new electro-pop collaborative project with Boom Bip under the collective monicker Neon Neon. Their album, titled Stainless Style, is a loose concept album based on the tumultuous life of De Lorean Motor Company founder John De Lorean, and was released on 18 March 2008 via Lex Records. The album includes a number of high-profile guest appearances from Fab Moretti of The Strokes, Har Mar Superstar, Yo Majesty, Spank Rock, Cate Le Bon and The Magic Numbers. The first single, "Raquel", was released on 26 November 2007. The follow-up single "I Lust U", featured fellow Welsh artist Cate Le Bon on vocals. The album has been nominated for the 2008 Mercury Prize.
Collaborations with other artists
Rhys has occasionally collaborated with other artists, providing vocals for the track "Dial: Revenge" on the Mogwai album Rock Action as well as guesting on the songs "Fear of Guitars" (from the album Machine Says Yes by FC Kahuna) and "Do's and Don'ts" (by Boom Bip) as well as "Just War" from Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse's album Dark Night of the Soul. He has also featured on the myspace remix track "I'm Not Lying" by Goldie Lookin' Chain. He will also appear on a track on the upcoming Simian Mobile Disco album And eats carrots on the Misty's Big Adventure album Television's People, continuing the vegetable relay started by Brian Wilson on Smile. Miles Kane has also called for him to produce the next album by his band the Rascals.
Ffa Coffi Pawb
|2004||Am Byth (Compilation)||Placid Casual|
Super Furry Animals
|2005||Yr Atal Genhedlaeth||Placid Casual|
|2007||Candylion||Rough Trade Records|
|2005||Gwn Mi Wn / Ni Yw Y Byd||Placid Casual|
|2006||Candylion (b/w Colossal Smile)||Rough Trade Records|
|2008||Stainless Style||Lex Records|
Biography from Wikipedia