Super Furry Animals and Neon Neon star Gruff Rhys says he jumped at the chance to play an intimate show at the latest Tae Sup Wi’ A Fifer event.
The Welsh star will join Skye piper Brighde Chaimbeul and event organiser James Yorkston on the bill on Saturday May 18 at Kirkcaldy’s Adam Smith Theatre.
“I’m very excited, it’s my first gig for a while,” Gruff tells The Sunday Post. “I’ve been coming to Fife for years to see friends and I’ve toured with a lot of sound engineers and tour managers from Fife but strangely I haven’t played there that much.
“James puts on these shows regularly with a variety of people. He got in touch and it’s the type of show I jump at doing really. The line-up’s great, amazing acts – I’ve been listening a lot to James’ album and also to Brighde’s. It’s going to be a great night.”
Tae Sup has been running since 2015, curated by James, himself from the East Neuk.
Spanning a variety of genres and acts, previous performers have included Aidan Moffat & Bill Wells, Rachel Sermanni, Phill Jupitus and the late Scott Hutchison.
“I love playing these kinds of gigs,” says Gruff. “It’s a chance to try things out and be spontaneous. You can play in a very low-key way and concentrate on the songs.
“I suppose it’s a kind of captive audience and you can play much more intimately. It’s an honour to be asked to play.”
Noted for innovation in production over the years in his bands and as a solo performer, Gruff will be stripping back his sound a little for the gig.
“I tend to choose songs I can actually play,” he laughs. “In the studio you can imagine and create sounds even if you can’t technically play them on an instrument.
“There’s a few I can do on the acoustic guitar which narrows it down. It’s a chance to try new things out as well so I’ll probably play a few new songs as well as the rampant oldies!”
The smaller-town setting of the show is a big draw for Gruff, who grew up in Bethesda, North Wales.
“There’s about 5,000 people there, an old quarry town,” he explains. “James is actually known in my own town so I feel it makes a lot of sense to me that I should be playing these kinds of places.
“Promoting gigs regularly in the community can have a huge impact on a town, especially if it’s a small town. It can influence a lot of people who are starting out bands and things and it has a really powerful role.”
Tae Sup is one of a number of gigs for Gruff this summer having taken a step back from live performances to focus on creating new material.
He’s hoping to develop some fresh sounds over the coming months as he looks ahead to releasing music again.
He says: “I’ve been taking it easy this year, I’ve been concentrating on writing and hopefully that will bear fruit at some point.
“I’m a conventional songwriter in many ways so I get frustrated sometimes if I feel my songs are getting too conventional. I’ll try to experiment within that and try to push myself to create something original.
“I think that’s what keeps me going as a musician, that tension between innovation and the conventional songs that just come out fairly easily.”
Tae Sup Wi’ A Fifer : Gruff Rhys / Brighde Chaimbeul / James Yorkston, May 18, Adam Smith Theatre, Kirkcaldy taesup.co.uk