Culture

Meet the Welsh band handpicked to support the Manics in Cardiff

20 Sep 2021 5 minutes Read
Himalayas can’t wait to be back playing live again.

They’re the fast-rising Welsh rock band who tonight will fulfil a dream – to support their heroes the Manic Street Preachers.

Himalayas recently kicked off their UK tour with an explosive, hometown set at The Globe.

This evening they support their heroes the Manics at the Motorpoint Arena. Neil Collins caught up with frontman Joe Williams and lead guitarist Mike Griffiths for a quick chat.

With the four of you being such huge Manics fans, were you pinching yourselves when the news came through last week that you would be supporting them?

JOE: It’s definitely a dream come true to say the least. Playing the Motorpoint Arena is the added bonus. To be honest, there has been talk about it for a while, but it was never cemented I guess because of the pandemic. To have the confirmation come through was a wake-up call, and pressure to give it the best we can!

You join a stellar lineage of Welsh acts who have supported the Manics including Super Furry Animals, Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci, Catatonia, Stereophonics, The Joy Formidable, Gwenno, The Anchoress and most recently, Adwaith. With over 6,000 fans in attendance, will the gig at Cardiff’s Motorpoint Arena be your biggest yet outside of festival slots?

JOE: We supported Kaiser Chiefs in front of 13,000 people, but this is definitely our biggest indoor show and also our first time playing an arena. The fact it’s in our hometown makes it much more special.

What did you make of the Manics reaching No.1 with their 14th album The Ultra Vivid Lament? The last time they did it in 1998 with This is My Truth Tell Me Yours, you must’ve only been a year or two old?
JOE: Yeah, barely born some of us! We’re just happy a band that has been going as long as the Manics still remain influential today. It’s a beacon of hope and inspiration for smaller rock bands. The album is class.
How did you get into the Manics?
MIKE: I’m the biggest Manics fan in the group. I got into them from watching the Cardiff Castle Holy Bible video, and the rest was history. The Holy Bible is our favourite album collectively as a band with Generation Terrorists coming in second.

Himalayas

Are there any Manics songs that have directly influenced one of your tunes?
JOE: We would say Faster from The Holy Bible was definitely an inspiration to our earlier stuff such as Thank God I’m Not You. It’s definitely one of our favourite Manics songs.

How would you describe your sound to someone who has never heard Himalayas?
Anthemic, cinematic and apocalyptic.

How did the UK tour go? Considering the opening night in Cardiff had been rescheduled four times, you certainly didn’t leave anything in the dressing room. There was a relentless energy to the set – the best gig I’ve seen for a long time.
The tour has been amazing, it feels like we never left. Cardiff was definitely a huge highlight for us and a milestone to headline and sell out The Globe. Guildford was also one of our favourite shows so far.

Debut album

Can you give us any details on your forthcoming debut album?
JOE: We’re heading to a studio in the middle of nowhere for a month in October. Let’s just say it doesn’t take a month to record a single…or does it? More on that next year.

You aired some new tunes on the tour. How do you think they have been received?
JOE: The new songs have been going down so well. Only ourselves and our team have heard them over the past year in a practice room so it’s amazing to see the crowd’s reaction and for them to see how our sound has developed. The classics always go down well too.

Your single Thank God I’m Not You has now reached an incredible 25 million plays on Spotify since its release in 2017. Produced by Steffan Pringle, it seems to have become your signature song. What is the secret to its success?
JOE: If we tell you, we’d have to kill you!

Exciting times are ahead for Himalayas. What has it been like working with Terri Hall, Lu Whiting, Jon Lewis and the team at Wild Management?
JOE: It’s been organised and refreshing. They’ve all worked with some huge legends in the industry including Oasis, Manic Street Preachers, AC/DC, Muse, Pink and many more. For the first time in a long time, we feel like an actual band. More importantly, they keep us grounded and focused.

Find out more about Himalayas HERE

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