The new album from Rogue Jones was recorded during a 5 year period which started whilst Bethan and Ynyr were expecting their first child and ended just before the birth of their second. ‘Dos Bebés’, exploring life in all its messy glory, is released officially tomorrow on Libertino Records, but we are pleased to host an exclusive stream today.

Explain the album title, please!

Bethan : Dos Bebés = Two babies.  We had two babies during the making of this album.  Also it’s our second album, so now we have two album babies.  We are also like two big babies too.  The phrase is a familiar one in our house, it’s something the talented local crafts people I met in Peru would say while trying to sell me dolls, with the selling point being that the dolls had not one, but ‘dos bebés’ on their back.

‘Lemonade’ is such a positive song. But when life gives Rogue Jones lemons, what’s your pick-me-up – lemonade, lemon meringue, or something else?

Bethan : Having a Mexican theme party in our kitchen and dancing around to Latin American bangers and 70s disco hits in our finest clothes.  Started off as a weekly lock-down treat that has carried on.  Also walks by or in the sea or forest and gardening and planting things.  When life gives you lemons, plant a lemon tree out of the seeds.

Ynyr : I love lemon meringue.  And don’t eat it anywhere near often enough. 

The spoken word segment in the song is very powerful.

Ynyr : This is our great friend and creative force of nature, Eilir Pierce.  The main refrain of ‘ni moyn lemonade / we want lemonade’ was written with him at a prosecco fuelled all-day music festival in Cardiff years ago.  Once we knew that we were going to do something with the song, we instantly knew that we needed Eilir’s voice on it.  So we sent him the instrumental section and he went off somewhere quiet in his car with a microphone and returned with about an hour’s worth of his inimitable, improvised rambling genius which included what you hear on the record.

‘Triongl Dyfed’ uses a very unique approach to highlighting the issues of second homes in rural Wales.

Ynyr : Humour is an underutilised means of getting a serious message across.  Like a pantomime trojan horse.

I remember writing most of it on the way home from working in Aberteifi.  The people I’d been working with were saying how impossible it was to buy a house where they grew up so a lot of it came together unusually quickly in the car on the drive home, maybe I was visited by some extra-terrestrials.

To what extent was working on the songs in the studio a different approach for you?

Bethan : Compared to the recording of VU, our first album; arriving at the studio with less fully-formed songs this time led to it being it a freer, more impulsive and immediate process.  We trust Frank Naughton completely and feel totally free and inspired in Ty Drwg Studios so it made a space to be open to what came out on the day.

Ynyr : Frank manages to create such a fantastic mood to be creative and playful in the studio.  I think I’d not long read David Byrne’s book (actually listened to the audiobook but reading sounds more impressive) around the time of the first sessions five years ago and was inspired by the way he talked about Talking Heads recording with Brian Eno – using the studio so creatively.  

I like the thought of your eldest child and the album competing to be the first born.

Bethan : Yes, and our daughter won by five years!  It definitely felt like that with our second child too.  The album narrowly won the race that time but then went into hiding for many months until we were ready to come out of maternity hibernation.  So hare and tortoise scenario and so the babi, our son won the long game.

Why DO new fathers take up Iron Man triathlons?

Ynyr : It’s definitely a bit of a phenomenon I’d noticed.  Nothing against keeping fit and playing sport obviously, but the amount of training you have to do to do an Iron Man is ridiculous so to choose to do it when you’ve got a young child seems bizarre.  

My amateur psychologist theory is that it’s a response to witnessing their partner doing the most super-human and physically challenging thing – even the name of it is so loaded with testosterone – IRON MAAAAAN!!!!  

Hopefully I won’t get loads of disgruntled men in lycra chasing after me now.  There’d be no way to escape; running, cycling or swimming – my only hope of keeping them at bay would be waving a nappy at them like a cross to a vampire.

What does the colour red mean to you within your creativity?

Bethan : Red is a magnificent colour to look at.  Also it holds in it so much power, I think because it shares its colour with blood, danger and love.

Ynyr : It’s my favourite colour but I don’t think I’d thought of the colour red in relation to the music at all – I don’t have synaesthesia but I imagine the album would be a lot of different colours as there’s so many different moods and styles going on.    

Will it be another seven years before the next Rogue Jones album?

Bethan : Who knows, I hope not.  We actually work really quickly, both composing and recording, contrary to how it might appear.  It’s just waiting for when the stars align, there’s a time for everything and everything happens when it’s meant to.

Ynyr : I’m not planning on it being such a long time between releases but I’m also really proud of the album we’ve made and it definitely feels like the amount of time it took is the amount of time it needed so I wouldn’t change it.  

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