About…Oblong

Deep in the depths of the creative Carmarthenshire community sits Llanelli’s ‘Oblong’ – A beautifully bilingual trio, jam packed with catchy angular buzz-saw guitar riffs and enough post-punk swagger to knock over a rampant manatee hooked on analeptics! I asked the band a few questions about their music and the overall creative process, to help gain a little more insight into their clamorously crafted stratosphere:


Could you tell me a little about why the band formed?

Midlife crisis, seeing the Blur documentary “No Distance Left To Run” and hearing “Transmitters” by hipster punks Sauna Youth on the radio. Rob had been on to me to form a band for ages, and out of the blue Hywel appeared so we had the motive and the means. The rest is history!

What kind of major musical influences does each member of the band have?

We pretty much grew up together so share similar musical DNA – everything from the Jam, Sex Pistols, Undertones, Stranglers. Magazine, and XTC through to Pixies, Teenage Fanclub, Wedding Present, Blur, The Fall and even Killing Joke. 

Where was the most unusual gig that you’ve ever played?

Probably a gig at Crowley’s as part of the Swansea Fringe festival. Unusual simply because we played to a packed house! Due to a scheduling discrepancy, loads of people turned up expecting to see Keys, but instead got an earful of Oblong, the fuckers! 

After listening to both of your brilliant previous albums, I noticed that each Welsh language song is followed by an English language song, one after the other for each album’s runtime. Is there any reason for this and which language are you most comfortable in singing/writing in?

If it was my first language, all our songs would be in Welsh. Rob is fluent so he writes in Welsh and I write in English, so for the purposes of equitability, we split the albums and live set 50/50 Welsh/English. I have, however, just written a new song entirely in Welsh just to see if I could, which turned out ok so maybe one day all our stuff will be in Cymraeg. 

What do you feel is the best song that you’ve ever released and why?

Probably our nihilist anthem “S dim Ots Da Fi” – it’s the one that seemed to get the most love from BBC Radio Cymru, and, more significantly, was a favourite of the recently departed David R Edwards of Datblygu. Dave’s approbation gave us the strength to follow our own path, and not get hung up on the vagaries of the Welsh music “scene”. 

Has the impact of live music been put on hold for most of 2020-2021 affected the band in any way?

In a word, “yes”!  Although we gigged sporadically, we loved playing live, and were on a bit of a roll in early 2020, playing our last gig 2 weeks before lockdown #1. That momentum was dissipated instantly and it remains a challenge to pick up again after such a massive disruption. 

If you could compare the band to any movie, what would it be and why?

Apocalypse Now!  “Never get off the boat, unless you’re going all the way” amigo. 

Oasis or Blur? – And most importantly, why?

Does it really need spelling out? Oasis were chancers who got lucky with a few (admittedly) anthemic tunes on their first album. Everything they did subsequently was just increasingly lame reiterations of the same lazy, plodding, brainless, lifeless  “that’ll do” school of songwriting (except “Round r Way”). Blur were endlessly inventive, musically adventurous and constantly evolving, fantastic live and engaging, sentient human beings, and one of the greatest bands ever. Just saying. 

Do you have any interesting stories or funny moments from the band’s history?

Plenty of esoteric stuff that we find funny but would be of no interest to anyone else – Johnny Rotten’s bog anyone? 

And last of all, what are your plans for the future? Do you have any exciting new releases, gigs or anything else coming up?

We’ve written and demoed 75% of our next album but we haven’t been in the same room together for 18 months so the path back to normality will be a long and winding one. So small steps for now, hopefully leading to a return to full power for a special gig towards the end of the year!

You can check out the Oblong’s music by visiting their Bandcamp page

Keep up to date with what is happening with them on their Facebook page HERE too!

Mitch Tennant – 05/07/2021

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