Deep in the glorious, green woods of Anglesey in June-time is the annual Gottwood festival; an increasingly popular outdoor event, which promises not only uniquely stunning fairy-lit scenery but also a broad range of live musical talent from all over Europe.
The journey through the festival grounds puts one in mind of a surreal secret garden! At one end lies a beautiful, colourfully spot lit lake, and at the other, a huge dome tent bathed in psychedelic light and blasting out futuristic dance music. The event certainly caters for a wide range of festival lovers and general sight-seers alike.
The Lakeside Stage proved to be a hit throughout the weekend. Although the area would have undoubtedly benefitted from less unpredictable weather, the dedicated crowds never failed to show their support for the live talent. Ending the evening in style, The Scribes performed their unique hip hop set to hundreds of fans, who battled the rain to dance along. I joined the band after their show for an interview on behalf of Summer Festival Guide.
Rachael Hey guys. I loved the set, you absolutely smashed it! So tell me – it’s your first time at Gottwood, how are you finding it so far?
Johnny It’s been really good, and we’ve had a great crowd. Although it took a long time to get here, and to be honest by the time we arrived in the pouring rain and tried to put up a tent, we were expecting the worst! But once we got to the woods and saw what Gottwood has to offer, which is frankly a lot of light, a lot of ambience and a great vibe going across the whole place, it has been really nice.
Shaun Plus it is different to a lot of festivals we do. It’s a lovely area, lovely surroundings, lovely ambience that’s around the place. It’s a shame the weather’s been a bit on and off, but to be honest, it’s so nice here that we’ve definitely enjoyed playing it.
Johnny And with all the owl sculptures and lights, and everything they’ve managed to put together. It makes it more than just a few stages. It felt like a bit of an adventure.
Rachael So you’ve had a chance to explore. Do you have a favourite section?
Lacey Obviously performing at Lakeside was good. I also liked it all lit up at night, especially the little dance-y tent with all the lights on. That was cool.
Shaun Well sadly we didn’t get here ‘til late, but we had a chance to look around. We saw all the areas they’ve got. They have a few different stages and it’s all set amongst the forest which is really nice. They’ve got all the lights in the trees, the sculptures and stuff going on. As Lace said, there’s a projection tent that’s like a big dome, with visual effects in time with the music – that was a bit surreal. But the vibe is the most important thing and there have just been nice, happy people here having a damn good time!
Johnny I enjoyed the bit where we played, which was the Lakeside. It was a really nice stage with a great view and once the sun came out it looked really quite spectacular. Definitely one of my favourites.
Rachael So are you guys used to performing at the mercy of the Great British outdoors or is this a new experience for you?
Shaun Well we’ve been going for a long time now so we’ve done plenty of festivals, and you have to sort of roll with it. I think you’ve got to work a bit harder in the rain. If a crowd is staying in the rain to see you, then they’re giving you a lot more than normal. They’re making a point of standing to see you in the rain, and nobody enjoys standing in the rain! So you feel obliged to give a lot more in the show and the audience really enjoyed that which made it very memorable.
Johnny We have been to many random places and the great outdoors is something we’re used to. We did a festival in the South of Italy on a beach with lightening striking out at sea. It is nice to get outside instead of being stuck in a club.
Lacey I prefer performing outdoors too. It’s like a nice, open space festival atmosphere here. Lovely.
Rachael So how would you describe your sound? Because you’re a lot more upbeat than a lot of hip hop I’ve heard.
Shaun It’s hard to say to be honest. I think we definitely sound like us. It’s very hard to draw any immediate comparisons. We’re obviously very much rooted in hip hop, in terms of the raps, in terms of the beats. But we do pick up the pace a bit. It’s not sample-based, it’s all played in the studio with live instrumentation, so we can be a bit more progressive and melodic with it. I always go with ‘New Wave Hip Hop’, which is a made-up genre that makes the point that we’re not that strictly hip hop. It gives us a lot more freedom to make the music we want to hear. The fact other people want to hear it is just really nice.
Lacey Our music is quite up and dance-y. I’d describe it as raw, energetic lyrical magic.
Johnny And I think it was a nice change of pace for Gottwood, because what we played was a little bit more uptempo. It was nice that the crowd we had decided to stay in spite of the rain, so I think the change of pace went down well.
Rachael Good stuff! So have you guys got any tips for people camping at Gottwood?
Shaun Yeah, make sure you arrive when it’s light, because putting up a tent in the dark is enough to pull apart any band’s friendship. (laughs) But we’ve all reconciled now.
Lacey Yeah, don’t try and set your tent up at eleven o clock at night. My favourite bit of the camping experience was not sleeping in the tent and sleeping in the car!
Rachael That does not sound fun! So you’ve recently signed with Kamikazi Airlines Records in the US, how did that come about?
Shaun Yeah, we're chuffed to bits with it to be honest. The label's co-owned by Dizzy from Ugly Duckling. We toured with them last year and he liked what he saw, so he bought the other label people to see us live and we put pen to paper a few weeks back. They've worked with some huge names in hip hop so we're honoured to be working with them going forward. It's a big deal for us.
Johnny It's massive. We're the first English act they've signed so we've got to fly the flag for Britain! To celebrate the deal, and as a thank you to everyone who helped us get here, our last album ‘The Sky is Falling’ is now available as a free download from www.kamikaziairlines.com/scribes. So if you're reading this go and get it now!
Lacey Like the guys said, this has been years of hard work in the making, so we're pretty excited about it all.
Rachael And finally, where can people find out more about The Scribes?
Shaun Well we're all over the web like a hippedy hop rash! We keep our facebook up to date with all our latest tour dates and news, so you can add us up there at www.facebook.com/scribesmusic.
Johnny Or, if you're a really cool kid, you can follow us on twitter at www.twitter.com/thescribes, though we're still getting to grips with that one!
Lacey And the label page at www.kamikaziairlines.com/scribes for the free LP. Do it.
Rachael Well, guys, it’s been a pleasure chatting with you this afternoon. Best of luck with the signing, and I look forward to hearing what The Scribes have to offer in future!