ANi GLASS – Ffrwydrad Tawel [Interview]

#Interview It was important to me that this body of work was sung entirely in Welsh – I’ve been quite vocal about there not being a lot of modern Welsh language music that I could relate to and so making my own music was a way of addressing this

We have very much been in enjoying the throwback electro-pop sounds of ANi GLASS and her latest EP ‘Ffrwydrad Tawel’ during our stint in the Spanish sunshine for the early summer festivals. It’s been something of a daily indulgence to get us set for the day. Imagine our delight when we got the opportunity to run a few questions past her and to find out a bit more about the release.

For those of you who aren’t familiar, ANi GLASS is the persona of Cardiff-based electronic pop musician, producer, artist and photographer, Ani Saunders. Now, hit play, have a listen and a read.


We understand that the EP was about reconnecting with your language, history and culture after returning home to Wales having been away for years. Was it your intention to return home in order to make this collection of tracks or was it the process of returning that inspired it?

No, my intention was to return home in order to pay off the debts that I had amassed in London with a view to returning some time later… which of course never transpired. I hadn’t accounted for any form of “reconnecting”, at the time I wasn’t aware that there was anything amiss; which is probably true when you are subconsciously searching for some form of grounding. Therefore it was entirely the process that inspired the EP.

You incorporate sounds evocative of Welsh culture and history (e.g. rich layers of soaring vocals and industrial sounds) in the songs yet have chosen a more modern musical medium to deliver them. Were you confident before you started making the EP that marrying these influences and styles together would be effective for communicating your message or was there an element of experimentation and hope in there too?

I suppose instinct was and is one of the main driving forces – it always felt right to do it this way. I’ve always been equally fascinated and mesmerised by pop music – I’m really curious about the mechanics behind a great pop song but no matter how much time passes I can never shake away that inexplicable feeling I had and still have when I hear a great pop song. It’s something that you can only dream of recreating. The lyrical content is terribly important to me but it doesn’t bother me in the slightest if it isn’t for others. You find your own enjoyment and meaning in art and that’s equally as important. So in terms of marrying influences, I suppose it’s always a bit of a stab in the dark and when you’re lucky; it works!

Can you give us some insight into the title of the EP ‘Ffrwydrad Tawel’ (which we understand translates into English as Silent Explosion), how this links to the theme and messages within the tracks?

The title of the EP was inspired by an exhibition of the same name by Welsh artist Ivor Davies which was held in the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff last year. The exhibition had a great impact on me; the themes, medium, colours and language all represented what I was trying to convey and although I wasn’t aware it was missing, viewing this exhibition gave me a narrative that I was then able to explore and run with.

On the subject of messages within tracks, we specifically didn’t read through the lyric translations in the accompanying booklet on our first listen as we wanted to focus on the way the tracks created an emotional connection through sonics. However, it became clear to us when we did read into what was being said that the lyrical content is very important to what the EP seeks to convey. Was it always your intention to include translations into English as part of the material that supported the EP?

It was important to me that this body of work was sung entirely in Welsh – I’ve been quite vocal about there not being a lot of modern Welsh language music that I could relate to and so making my own music was a way of addressing this. However I was quite keen to put a real emphasis on translating the lyrics as best I could, I felt that although the music gave a sense of atmosphere it perhaps wasn’t enough to convey the true meaning.

Did you consider recording English language versions of the songs too so that non-Welsh speakers would be able to absorb more of the messages through the music alone?

‘Y Ddawns’ (‘The Dance’) was in fact originally written in English but I didn’t ever record the English version. Recording in English is something I have done a lot of in the past and will do in the future but I didn’t feel it necessary for this release. This was my opportunity to fully embrace and express myself in my native language, to make a real contribution and to do my part in growing and developing our (albeit small) thriving culture.

We were really interested in the imagery and colour choices used in the accompanying booklet. Did the design work develop in parallel with or as a separate exercise inspired by (or maybe inspiring) the music?

The artwork was a very slow process. I think the EP cover that you see was my 10th (ish) design! It was always my intention to work with collage; there was a great one in the Ivor Davies Ffrwydrad Tawel / Silent Explosion exhibition catalogue that really inspired me. I was also looking a lot at collage work from the 60s by artists such as Richard Hamilton and Lichtenstein and new artist Quentin Jones – she’s great! It took a while to create a cohesive narrative but I think I got there in the end; finally and just in time!

Finally, what’s next for ANi GLASS, can we look forward to a full length LP at some point in the future?

My focus for the summer will be the live shows however I have already begun researching what will hopefully be my first LP! I’m not in any hurry but I’m hoping it will surface sometime next spring, fingers crossed!

Massive thanks to Ani for the words and insight into the EP. Also keep an ear out for the remix package due out on 4 August. If you want to see / hear more of Ani’s work check her Bandcamp (music) / Cardiff to the Sea (photography) / Personal Blog (art).

ANi Glass ‘Ffrwydrad Tawel’ is out now on Recordiau Neb.

Sarah P. – Who Am I [Interview]

#Interview with Greek alt-pop songstress Sarah P. about her debut solo album Who Am I.

“My generation tried to think out of the box. Not everything that we came up with was successful and that’s the reason why everybody hates us”

Today marks the release of ‘Who Am I’, the debut solo album from Greek musician Sarah P. We spoke to her to get an insight into the messages within the album, the process of making it, the ups and downs of being a label boss in today’s industry and whether she found answers to any of life’s questions at the end of it all.

Oh, and why don’t you have a listen to the album whilst you give this a read?


Thanks for taking the time to speak with Dash ’n’ Verve. We’re really excited about the release of your debut full length album ‘Who Am I’ and to get some insight into the process, experiences and journey that led to its creation.


A debut album is a milestone for any artist so congratulations. How do you feel now that it’s finally release day?

To be very honest, I feel relieved. Putting out a record is such an insane process. I’m in a lucky position to have amazing partners on board who make sure that everything runs smoothly and accordingly to our plans. From the very beginning, I had a clear vision of how I wanted this album to turn out – from the production to the artwork and the visuals. I’ve been working on this for pretty much two years. This record means the world to me and I’m very excited to finally set it free.

We’re nearly 18 months on from the release of your debut solo EP Free. Is your new album a continuation of some of the stories you told on that EP or did you set out to take on a completely new set of subjects?

I would say that the themes are quite similar, but what’s changed is the angle. The EP was more about all the memories and feelings that I internalised for a long time. That’s why, sonically speaking, it’s edgier and darker. My full length sets new values for me and hopefully, for those who will listen to my music too. Values such as consciousness, intellect, carefulness and fair judgment.

You share a lot about your own personal experiences and vulnerabilities on this album. On the track ‘To You’ in particular you expose with complete honesty the emotions and hopes associated with a situation most of us can associate with. Was it challenging being that open in the lyrical content of the songs or was it a cathartic process setting those thoughts free?

Whenever I’m writing a song, I try to not hold back. After all, it’s a song – words wrapped in melodies, what can go wrong? Appearing vulnerable and honest is a choice. We live in a world where people try to pose as if they have mastered life, in some weird, TV soap kind of way. You go on social media – everybody is super tall, mega rich, they have their own companies that they run while on holiday at some picturesque sandy beach. And while you can tell that most of it is faked, you still bite it and try to live up to some made up standards and expectations. As opposed to that, what I’m trying to do is get inspiration from simply being human and learning to treasure imperfection. Not in a spiritual, “love thyself” kind of way,  but in the sense of agreeing that if we were flawless, we’d be robots and that would be boring. Perhaps my record isn’t perfect – however, I think it is perfectly emotional. If you think of it that way, singing out loud, voicing my thoughts and worries can be very cathartic, indeed.

Whilst the songs come across as very personal, we were definitely able to relate to a number of the topics you tackle on the album. Did inspiration for some of these tracks come from observations of other people (either in person or in the media) and the situations they find themselves in?

Both. For ‘Who Am I’ is about somebody waking up at a refugee camp, as weird as it may sound. The last thing they remember is that they were injured. They don’t remember anything else. All they know is that they woke up in a room. They were surrounded by strangers – nobody spoke their language and so they were very frustrated and confused. When reading about the refugee “crisis” and the “camps” (what terrible wording, really), these were exactly the thoughts that came up to my mind. Existentialism, questions. “Who am I?” “Where am I?” People nevertheless, however, seen as second class citizens by some. Words can’t express my sadness and anger for and addressed to all those who still preach that we’re different from each other. In the safety of our western world, we haven’t experienced the sorrow of war for quite some decades. We assume it to be terrible; we care about it for a moment and then we forget. That’s also the reason why ‘Who Am I’ sounds so distant and strange – almost from a different planet. At least, that was what I was aiming for.

But, it’s not all gloomy and dark. For example, ‘To You’ is about finding love. It’s about finding that one person that you can imagine spending the rest of your life with. That’s a song that is inspired by and dedicated to my husband. It’s very personal and at the same time not, because I believe that many people had similar experiences to me, when it comes to relationships. Real love (whatever that is – each and every one of us has different definitions for it) in contrast to flaky romance – that’s what ‘To You’ is about.

On ‘Millennial Girl’ you start by talking about wanting to distance yourself “…from attachments, [that] have only brought you tears and pain, yet no advancement” before you tell us in the chorus that “[you] buy people’s stuff you see online”.

The thoughts and actions you describe there are quite contradictory but an accurate reflection of the way many people feel and act in today’s Western society. Are there any aspects of the society you have grown up in and you see around you that you believe are main triggers for people experiencing this kind of confusion?

I love to say that I’m making sarcastic pop and ‘Millennial Girl’ is a pure piece of it. My generation tried to think out of the box. Not everything that we came up with was successful and that’s the reason why everybody hates us. We even hate ourselves, to be honest. Yet, we’ve been quite creative and pacifistic – we never started wars like others did. The millennials are likely to be part of a “community”, know what they’re eating and wearing and who to vote for. Do they go to vote? – that’s a different question. Because they could argue for days about the futility of the capitalistic democracy most countries practice, with their focusing on money rather than investing in their own people.

Most millennials are freelancers or self-employed – the exact groups of people that the current political systems beat up maniacally. We were brought up to become great thinkers and make our dreams come true. Yet nobody told us that, to make that happen, we’ll never be able to afford our own house or to retire. I guess all I’m trying to say is that my generation has been fundamentally failed and unfortunately, there’s not much to do for that. Recent studies have proven that one in five millennials suffers from depression and anxieties. That’s a pretty high number, but nobody cares. And that’s exactly where the frustration begins. It’s deeply rooted and well masked with moustaches, big glasses, and funny haircuts. As if we’re trying to hide from what’s chasing us, but always in good humour.

You have created a fantastic range of soundscapes with some great details on the album (we love the toy box sound that emerges in the chorus of ‘A Letter From Urban Street’ and the “digital fly” that buzzes around ‘ForgetRegret’). Are there any interesting sources for these sounds?

Thank you so much for your kind words. To be honest, all sounds are a result of an impatient twiddling of knobs while sitting on my chair or in bed (where I often write my songs). I wish that I had a better answer to this question, I really do.

You recorded and co-produced this album with George Priniotakis at Artracks Studio, Athens. How long did the whole process take from hitting record for the first time to settling on the final mix?

I’m pretty sure that it took roundabout two months. And that’s because the production of ‘Who Am I’ took place amidst the holiday season and holidays are sacred in Greece. George is the quickest and greatest producer in the world for me.

Was there significance for you being in your hometown to record and produce this album given that it was written in Berlin whilst thinking of Athens?

Absolutely. Artracks was the studio where everything started for me. I’ve been in and out of Artracks for a little less than a decade. I always say that George knows my voice better than my own mother. It was really important for me to go back and record my debut at a studio that I consider my second home, in a city where I’m surrounded by family and friends.

Do you have plans to tour this album and if so do you have a vision for what the live arrangement will look like?

There are no plans for live shows at the moment. And that’s by choice. I feel that I need to clear that up because whenever I mention that I won’t tour this year, people feel sorry for me for not getting booked – so yeah, that’s not the case. I guess abstaining from touring is one of those silly revolutions of mine, that’s harming myself more than those I’m revolting against. I’m willing to take the risk though, mostly for the sake of my mental health and peace. You see, I’m 27 years old. I started my professional career in music when I was 19-20. I’ve reached a point where I simply deny to play live shows that will only pay me with beer, cold catering and / or exposure.

Live entertainment and touring promote a lifestyle that’s eating up most of the artists out there. I don’t know if you’re aware of the study that was initiated and ran by the University of Westminster where they proved that (of the people they talked to) 70% of the British music industry (including artists, producers, music professionals etc) suffer from depression, addictions, and all sorts anxieties. As a person whose mental illness got also triggered by my experiences within the industry, I choose to find different ways to connect with the people who would come to my shows than supporting a sickening system.

Despite some of the challenging subject matters you wrestle with on the album, you manage to maintain an air of positivity and hope that all will be ok. Where do you find hope day to day and what can we all do to share this hope with you?

The people around me give me hope and all those who dig a little deeper. It’s so very important to not fall for the nonchalance of ignorance. I’m always happy to discuss with people that I may disagree with – I want to understand,  I don’t want to oppose. When I meet people who are of the same openness, my heart grows a bit bigger. We can all learn so much from each other when focusing on what brings us closer than on our differences.

We absolutely love the sonics on the title track ‘Who Am I’, and the visuals in Oirot Buntot’s video capture the complexity and confusion of the song’s subject perfectly. Can you tell us about the development of the concept for the video and how your collaboration with the director worked?

Oirot Buntot’s video is a dream! It was initially filmed for another song and I’m so grateful to that other band for deciding to go for other visuals. I explained to you that the song itself is about disorientation and feeling that you “don’t belong”. Oirot Buntot’s script fitted like a glove.

A girl wakes up in a creepy place, gets freaked out by all those weird figures, accepts her fate and becomes one of them. I was so happy to work with Oirot – we’re so like-minded and he’s so amazingly talented. And imagine that ‘Who Am I’ is just his first video. We edited it to fit the song and we changed the colours a bit, but it was by far the most relaxed video release I ever had. All because of Oirot’s professionalism and positivity. I love that guy!

You’ve released both “Free’ and ‘Who Am I’ on your own EraseRestart label. Did you always have ambitions of being your own label boss?

Not really. I have to admit that before deciding to go solo, I was pretty spoiled. I was used to always having other people around who were taking care of the boring, business stuff. I decided to set up my own label as part of an effort to have as much control as possible when it comes to my work. It felt more like a necessity than an ambition.

Can you tell us about some of the challenges you have faced in running your own label?

I terribly underestimated the workload and the responsibilities that come with running your own label. Also, people tend to ignore my newsletters because they’re “not familiar with the label and the artist”. What is more, I’m not really connected with people – I don’t have friends within the industry. I lead a pretty quiet life away from parties and concerts where the music professionals tend to gather and socialise. Not being one of them has made it harder for me, I think. I don’t mean to complain though. Everybody seems to be struggling and I totally understand why some artists sign with bigger labels. Although, unfortunately, a signing isn’t a guarantee of success.

Obviously there must also be up sides of not having anyone else to report to and please. What have the biggest benefits of flying solo been for you?

Having control over my work has been the greatest thing. It’s very empowering and fulfilling knowing that my husband and I have worked every single bit of each release. It’s been a very educational process and I wouldn’t change a single bit. I advise all artists to take matters into their own hands – nobody can represent you better than your own self. Plus, financially speaking and after the first years of investment, it’ll pay off for you.

Now the question we’ve been itching to ask you all interview. Has making this album helped you get any closer to finding answers to the questions you had been asking yourself?

I think so. At least up to the point that I accepted that I am an ever-changing being who can’t and won’t be just one thing. We’re always running after titles, why do we do that?


This is a pop record that is different, an ode to the humanly deep need for security and love. It’s an album about fears, hopes, memories, dreams – and love. Inspired by Berlin, her Greek roots and personal struggles.

‘Who Am I’ is out today on Sarah P.’s own EraseRestart record label. Grab yourself a copy and maybe you’ll be able to find your own answers to those big questions in the sounds of her songs.

Friends of Dash & Verve: Barnaby J. Spigel

Everyone knows a music maker or two. Barnaby J Spigel is probably the first producer/DJ/music aficionado I had the pleasure of meeting and I’m happy as Larry he’s still doing his thing to this day. Words, links and music below.

When I first met you over 14 years ago, we were both into Drum ‘n’ Bass, were loving Roni Size Reprazent’s New Forms lp and you were busy producing. When did you first start making music and what were you using to do it?
I started when I was 13 using Cubase and a Roland SC-7 GM sound module on the family PC, trying to make drum’n’bass and hip-hop mainly. Two years later I was using Music 2000 on the Playstation, which was a basic sequencer with a bunch of different instruments, sounds, FX and an audio sampler with 2 whole seconds worth of sampling time – just enough to lift a quality break from DJ Shadow’s Endtroducing, chop it up and play it back in different patterns. I managed to have some fun with it for a couple of years and make a few tracks before I got my first iMac, Logic and other bits of outboard hardware, which I used for years until I eventually went completely digital and now everything’s inside the machine! The gear is still sitting there on a rack in my studio, looking at me blankly.

Why Drum ‘n’ Bass for the teen years?
You were one of only a small handful of people I knew who had actually heard of and knew anything about drum’n’bass / jungle and we had a strong connection through our love for the genre at the time, and in particular through listening religously to Jumping Jack Frost & Hype on KissFM, Fabio & Grooverider on Radio1 and Bryan Gee & Swift on Kool FM. It felt fucking cool being into this music at such a young age when hardly anyone knew anything about it. We’d go to these epic Full Cycle & Movement nights at The End and Bar Rumba and be totally blown away by the innovation and energy of the music. We missed the Metalheadz @ Blue Note boat but we still managed to catch some great moments between 98 and 2002 when our favourite producers were putting out what was arguably their best work. It’s fair to say I was obsessed with drum’n’bass during my teens, but the magic slowly wore off for me. The music from that period still does it for me, though – good music always stands the test of time.

Which producers did you look up to when you were you were younger?
Liam Howlett from The Prodigy, Mix Master Mike, DJ Shadow, Roni Size and Goldie were probably the biggest influences on me when I first started producing. Others worth noting are Underworld, Massive Attack and Photek before went on to become obsessed by the whole of the Full Cycle records collective ie Krust, Die, Suv and Bill Riley as well as other d’n’b producers like Digital, Marcus Intalex, Klute and then J-Dilla via Slum Village, Gangstarr, Pete Rock, DJ Spinna etc…

How have your tastes and inspirations changed since then?
My taste has broadened so much over the years… I got well into jazz, soul, dub, rock, synth pop, post punk and some classical too through Reich, Herrmann, Shostakovich etc.. Right now I’m feeling Grizzly Bear, Talking Heads, Prince, Redinho, Pearson Sound, Michael Kiwanuka, Field Music, Tom Vek, Baxter Dury just to name a few as well as some of the more interesting and innovative stuff in the whole future space bass and hyper melodic dance and brain music scene. A lot of stuff that gets played on BBC 6music is great for inspiration and films by Kubrick, Scott and Lynch among others really influence me when I’m working on stuff.

Ever since getting your first pair of technics 1210s, I’ve associated you with DJing as much as producing. Has one of these disciplines become more important to you over time?
They’re probably both as important as each other. DJing at a party with your mates or at a club making strangers dance is a huge buzz and gives me an instant response to what I’m doing musically. Producing and composing is much more of a personal thing. Sometimes I have an idea in my head that I want to work on and sometimes I just like to sit down and see what comes up. If I’ve got a lot of positive energy in me I can really get into a track and just have fun seeing where I can take it. It can also be a very cathartic thing, for example if I’m anxious or have shit on my mind, I can transform any negative energy into something truly positive. To try to answer your question by picking a side… producing and composing is much more interesting to me simply due to the fact that, unlike DJing, I can create something truly unique and explore instantly fresh sound in whichever direction I choose to go, without a crowd to please. Every time I find that melody, chord change or beat that makes a track bounce in the way it was meant to, it feels fucking awesome! The next step is playing the stuff live of course, that’s the ultimate buzz.

Remember rifling through vinyl at selectadisc or buying 12″ vinyl from Ray Keith in Blackmarket? Crate digging was something of a pastime then – is it still as exciting now we’ve entered the serato/traktor era?
What was once crate digging for me is now searching through pages on and to find those great forgotten classics. Maybe it’s not as exciting as when you stumble on a rare piece on vinyl, but the joy of discovering great music for the first time, however you manage to find it, will never get old.

How would you describe the music you’re producing now?
I’m aiming for something that’s kind of like Talking Heads meets Fleet Foxes meets J Dilla meets Talk Talk meets Boards Of Canada meets DJs Shadow meets Kraftwerk meets Vampire Weekend meets Massive Attack meets Tom Vek meets Flying Lotus. I’d like to know what other people think.

Finally, what can we expect for you as a producer and DJ in the year of the London Olympics?
Right, well I’ve just put out this studio mix featuring a bunch of unreleased beats & pieces from over the years, on an instrumental hip-hop tip (see below).
The plan right now is to put out a 4-track EP asap, then get my live set together and start gigging. I’ve been purely focused on the production so no gigs to shout about yet. Just watch out for a release soon, check for my latest work and come follow me at and for updates.

Friends of Dash & Verve: Brackles

In the first of a series of entries charting the rise and rise of our peers, Dash & Verve catch up with bass music heavyweight and all round nice guy Brackles.


It’s been five years since Dash & Verve last saw you. What have you been up to since then?
After uni, I started getting into writing music properly, initially for Appleblim who put me in touch with Rinse. That led me to playing at FWD and things kicked off from there: I got a show on Rinse and it’s snowballed from there.

We’ve seen you on the rosta for some big Rinse fm nights and tune into the radio show on Thursdays. How did you get involved with Rinse?
Because I was sending stuff to Appleblim, he suggested I send a mix CD to them and they gave me a set at FWD. I asked the guys at Rinse if I could do a podcast for them and they said ‘you may as well come down and do a cover show instead’. From there I started doing cover shows once a month and when I quit my job I was ready to start doing a proper show [Brackles’ show is on every week, Thursday 3-5pm].

When we used to get you on D&V, you were more juice DJ champ than producer. When did you start producing in earnest and how did you get your foot in the door to produce for labels like Berkane Sol, Pollen, Planet Mu and Apple Pips?
I started taking producing seriously towards the back end of uni. I always knew if you wanted to get anywhere [in the music scene] you had to produce your own music. It’s really hard to break through if you’re just a DJ – there are only a few people who have done that such as Ben UFO, ONEMAN and Jackmaster but even they’re involved with labels so you’ve got to be doing something beyond DJing usually. [Laughing] It’s probably the wrong kind of answer – usually people say I had this great artistic vision – but it was probably because I wanted to get more DJ bookings really.

How did your early DJ career and winning the Juice DJ competition give you more opportunities further down the line?
I was playing student nights at uni. The Juice DJ stuff and playing those gigs was good experience for reading the crowd. Although it was just Hip Hop and R&B…

You used to play a lovely selection of R&B back in the day! What styles do you tend to drop in your sets these days?
When I play out I probably play a bit of house, garage, UK Funky and a bit of grime at the end and maybe some Dub Step. I listen to a lot more than that like jazz, soul and folk – all sorts. I still buy a lot of that on vinyl but it’s not the sort of thing I play out.

Once upon a time, you were after me to buy MF Doom’s Doomsday lp off me on vinyl. Are you still in the market for that?
I think they re-pressed it didn’t they? How much was I offering you then? I’ve got that one now anyway!

Oh well…I should’ve cashed in at the time. What’s in the record box right now?
Anything by Funky Step who’s just had a bit out on Hyperdub. Really feeling Champion and DJ Naughty. Playing quite a lot of stuff on the Eglo label like Fatima and Floating Points. Alex Nut has got another small label called Ho Tep which is putting out some really good stuff.

Have you got any projects on the go at the moment?
I’ve just had a 12” out for Rinse which is a sampler for a producer album I’m doing with them. It’ll be 10 of my tracks so I’m just working towards that at the minute. It should be out in 2012.

Looking back at your time in Notts, what do you remember most fondly about uni days?
I look back on the Lizard Lounge nights really – they were a lot of fun. I went on a bit of a Neptunes binge the other day. Their old productions probably made up about 50% of the sets then…that and Timberland stuff!

Finally, where are you headed next?
We’re building towards the Rinse CD – it’ll be a clean slate for me once that’s out and I’ll be starting on a new project then. I’m playing at the Rinse night on Boxing Day too; they’ve got every DJ playing on the station at that.

So there you have it. Keep your ear firmly pressed to the tinterweb for more on Brackles at the following places: