Samiksha Jaiswal

The Poppies (Welsh band)

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Active from  2003

The Poppies were a Welsh rock band which was active during the mid-2000s. Many of the songs were in the Welsh language.

Band history

In early 2003, Sam James (Guitar and Vocals), Twm Champagne (Drums) and Eifion Austin (Bass) met and formed The Poppies in Aberystwyth. Austin, originally from Morriston in Swansea was a first year politics student at Aberystwyth University while Twm (from Carmarthen) studied Film & TV. James was still studying at the local Welsh comprehensive Ysgol Gyfun Penweddig.

The band's first gig was held in Aberystwyth in 2003. They quickly gained support from Radio 1 DJ's Huw Stephens and Bethan Elfyn and often appeared on S4C's Welsh language music programme 'Bandit'.

During 2005 the band recorded a Maida Vale session for Steve Lamacq's Radio 1 programme and released the 'Dau Bys EP' on the Ciwdod label. They also won the 'Best Live Act' at the Radio Cymru Awards and 'Best Welsh Language Act' at The Pop Factory Awards. Around this time ex-Catatonia guitarist Owen Powell became the band's manager.

In the summer of 2005 the band moved to Splott in Cardiff where they shared a house. In early 2006 Twm Champagne was replaced by Gethin Jones, a Jazz student at Cardiff's Royal College of Music and Drama. The band focused on recording English language material from this point onwards and lost much of the support they had initially found in the Welsh language scene.

Failing to secure a recording contract the band began to gig less as James toured as bassist with The Heights, Gethin concentrated on his Jazz studies and Eifion's played bass for The Spencer McGarry Season. The band split up in late 2007. James moved to London with members of The Heights to form 'Rogues', and Gethin and Eifion formed 'Avash Avash'. At their peak, the Poppies were a gritty and respected favourite of the Welsh rock scene.

Sam James is also an ex-member of the bands Mozz, The Dancing Bullets, The Heights and Rogues. In 2010 he sang lead vocals on Example's UK top ten single 'Won't Go Quietly'. He is also the organiser of the Castell Rock festival in Aberystwyth.

References

The Poppies (Welsh band) Wikipedia


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