Gruff Rhys new solo album a collection of autobiographical piano ballads
'Hotel Shampoo' a departure for Super Furry Animals singer
‘I don’t keep diaries,’ says Gruff Rhys, on the phone from his home in Cardiff, ‘but I’ve kept every bottle of free shampoo I’ve been given (in hotels) since I started to tour 15 years ago. I always wanted to build my own hotel out of all that free stuff.’ This minor obsession, it turns out, has been the inspiration for the sometime Super Furry Animals singer’s new solo album, due early next year.
‘I’ve been going through these items,’ he says, ‘and they’ve triggered off various memories of times and locations. So the album’s either going to be called Hotel Shampoo or Hotel Conditioner, although “conditioner” sounds pretentious and “shampoo” contains the word “poo”. I prefer “shampoo”, I think. We’ll see.’ It will also, says Rhys, be a collection of autobiographical piano ballads, which is a stark departure from the SFA-style indie-pop of his last solo album, 2007’s Candylion, and the retro electronica of Stainless Style, his Mercury-nominated 2008 collaboration with Boom Bip as Neon Neon.
Maybe this is in keeping with his recent lifestyle, though. Rhys has been trying not to work too hard of late, instead focusing on family life and the promotion of his ‘concert tour of South American film, based on a true story’, Seperado! So what’s happened to his most famous band, recently described as on hiatus? ‘Oh, we’re still together,’ he says, ‘although everyone’s off doing their own thing just now. We’re thinking about our tenth album, but we’ll probably want to make a film for every song, so that’ll be a big job. It’ll be ready when it’s ready, I imagine.’
Glasgow School of Art, Wed 23 Nov