Former Anhrefn band member Rhys Mwyn now manages other bands and produces music.
What was Anhrefn’s style?When we were doing gigs it was so ‘full on’ that we were soaking wet coming off the stage. We learnt quite quickly that the fewer clothes we wore on stage the more dry clothes we had after the gig. So in one sense we had no style because we didn’t wear any clothes! But that’s an image in itself isn’t it. Strip down rock and roll! I think that image was as strong as anything else we could’ve worn. We’ve been doing a few acoustic gigs recently and we still get people in the audience shouting “take your top off!” No, I’m 45 – highly unlikely.
Have you kept any of your old Anhrefn clothes?The jeans that we used to wear had so many holes in them that they’ve had to go. But I’ve kept a few t-shirts because you can never get those back. Some of the t-shirts I’ve kept because they’re like an archive of memories.
This looks like its seen better days!This jacket has travelled to everywhere with us. I’ve slept in it in a squat in Berlin and it’s been my pillow on the ferry to France – it’s been through everything with me. When we were travelling we’d call it ‘the office’ because that’s were all the money, contracts and everything else were kept. It was more than just a jacket; it was a member of the band!
Do you think that it possible to separate an image and the importance of that image?When I work with bands I tell them that they can’t go on stage in their pyjamas and slippers. What I mean by that is that their image has to make a statement, with our background in punk, the punk clothes were a statement in itself. The attitude, clothes and art combined to create an image. But I’ve never seen the difference between them all – they all blur into one as part of the same creative thing.
Who was responsible for your image?We were with V2, the company that Branson established and they wanted to get us a stylist. But the only thing we thought of was – oh no, were going to get a stylist that’s going to tell us what to wear and we knew that that wasn’t going to happen. So our solution was to get our own. We approached Andrew O’Toole in Denbigh, he had just won Welsh designer of the year. Andrew did a lot of clubby, sporty stuff that suited us very well. Andrew designed some stuff especially for us, he would measure us and then we were allowed to choose our own fabrics and image. In one way we had to be one step ahead of V2 because if they got our hands on us then someone would’ve said, “why don’t you all wear kilts?” or something. It would’ve been something ridiculous that wasn’t us at all. When Andrew designed our clothes he had his own label, Advanced Menswear that we could have as long as the label was seen everywhere.
What statement about the band did your image portray?On the whole, if you look at Anhrefn and Rhys Mwyn what you see is what you get, what it truly is. I’m not a pretty boy and I’m not a poser. I can’t wear a lot of clothes so what I do wear – that’s what I am. You find something that you’re comfortable in and what makes a statement. I still wear my combats and I still feel quite punk. I can wear this to go to a gig and feel comfortable but I can also wear it to a meeting and still feel fine. The most important thing is that I feel comfortable and that my image still makes sense to who I am and what I do.
For what kind of occasions do you wear this suit?This posh suit is for work, for award ceremonies and that kind of things. Sometimes when I go and meet record companies it just gives me an edge, this is business and that I’m serious about what I do. I know it’s a cliché, but sometimes you have to play that game.
Has your style developed over the years?I think my style is quite constant and when I talk to friends we make fun of ourselves that were ageing rockers, but I can’t see myself changing and starting to wear cardigans and pullovers. That’s what we were and that’s how were going to stay! So we have to keep this style up even with our bulging waistlines and hair loss! That’s quite a challenge, keeping it rock and roll as were ageing. Someone once said, “Grow old disgracefully” and I hope that that’s what I’m doing!