When Musician and Producer Youth, Hit North Wales

5 mn read

Martin Glover better known by his stage name Youth, is a British record producer and musician, best known as a founding member and bassist of the rock band Killing Joke. He is also a member of the Fireman, along with Paul McCartney. Recently, he arrived for a five day tour of North Wales. Contributor, Elizabeth Shanley found a way to interview him for us.

‘Underneath the veneer of dramatic scenery and rich history, North Wales also has an active, vibrant, thriving cultural underground scene. Habited by visionaries, dreamers, creatives, creators and do-ers (from musicians to poets, from artists to film-makers), more often than not working in the Welsh language (Cymraeg) it was this scene that welcomed Youth up to north Wales recently.’ Rhys Mwyn (see end note)

But why did Martin ‘Youth’ Glover, a world-renowned and influential musician and producer with a CV that includes some of the best-known music of the past 40 years, do a mini tour of North Wales? Famous for being the heartbeat of the post-punk band Killing Joke, he wrote ‘Little Fluffy Clouds’ with The Orb, contributed to albums by Kate Bush and Pink Floyd, has performed with Sir Paul McCartney and produced Bittersweet Symphony by The Verve along with many other classics. His has been a life of creativity and collaboration and he brought it to Wales for 5 days.

The idea for the Youth, Living Creatively Tour North Wales March/April 2023 came from Paul Darnborough of The Psychedelic Discotheque, Manchester-based music lover, on his own personal quest. Paul says ‘I’m sixty and I wanted to lead a more creative life and do more creative things rather than be a head in the books lawyer. I’d known Youth for a while, and I knew him to be a creative person and spending time with him is very inspiring so I had an idea that something might rub off by osmosis and contact.’

Once Paul had the idea he rang Youth, put it to him and Youth was on board immediately. It was then that the hard mechanics of contacting venues, venue owners and getting dates in the diary began. After some unreturned calls, Paul connected with Rhys Davies. Rhys (yes there are two Rhys in this piece!) runs Ty Glyndawr in Caernarfon, a bunkhouse, coffee bar and small venue. Paul shared Youth’s Wikipedia page and the response was immediate. Soon he had a 5 date tour of North Wales.

Each venue was different and the events followed a fluid pattern of conversation on creativity in which Youth inspired and urged people to pick up a pen, a brush, an instrument, explore their own creativity and to find local artists to support. There were musical interludes with local musicians showcasing Youth’s talents as each day he was joined by classy casts which included Rhys Mwyn, Rhys Davis, Alan Mc Gee, and more.

Alan McGee, of course, is a maverick of the music industry, record label owner, musician, manager and music writer for The Guardian. Alan founded Creation Records label recently relaunched as It’s Creation Baby, and signed amongst others, Jesus and Mary Chain, Primal Scream, Oasis and The Libertines. Alan joined Youth in conversation in Ty Glyndawr, Caernarfon and then did a DJ set with Global Heads at The Market Hall.

Daytimes were spent on beach and hill walks and visits to Druid sites with Druid ceremonies inside ancient 5000-year-old chambers, all with the wonderful knowledge that both Rhys’ brought to the experience.

Youth said: ‘I’m proud of my Welsh heritage and it was an emotional reconnection to my family and the place itself in Anglesey. Just hearing people speak Welsh around me was music to my ears.

Reading my poetry with the Welsh triple harp in an old church, DJing with Alan McGee inside an 800 year old town within a castle, duelling spontaneous poetry with song with Chris Pattemore. Skin from Cast peeling off acoustic arpeggios whilst I lost myself in the trance of poems.’

He described the experience as ‘a cosmic roller coaster ride of joy and celebration.’

This is Youth’s interview on BBC Wales – https://www.mixcloud.com/martinglover50/cosmic-odyssey-lxxi-sundown-eclipse-rituals-barclodiad-y-gwares/

Youth Answers the AofA Q&A.

Where do you live? I divide my time between London Wandsworth and Andalucía mainly but I still love to travel.
What do you do? I do many things so predominately writer producer musician artist poet
Tell us what it’s like to be your age? I’m 62 it’s a good vintage we are sixties kids. I love being a sixties kid and I find life gets better and it’s just better than all of the others. Don’t be afraid ( of your age). It’s fantastic. It can take you 60 years of wisdom to live your life and you can have a great time before the wheels fall off the wagon.
What do you have now that you didn’t have at 25? No responsibility.  I had probably just started becoming successful and now I have time for myself and have accumulated wisdom. Nevertheless the wisdom you get between 18 and 25, without too much analysis, is formative.
What about sex? At my age my sex life has got better each decade and now I’m in my sixties it’s better than it’s ever been.  It’s not so much the mileage but maybe it’s the body work that’s letting me down!
And relationships? Have got better. I spent many years trying to conform to the idea of serial monogamy. I’ve been married and have been single now for the last ten, fifteen years I don’t have girlfriends, I have lovers and they can go exclusive not in the idea of proprietorial relationships.  There’s not an emotional commitment, there’s no ownership and that gives me a sense of freedom. I spend a lot more time on my own. I enjoy the time of solitude and the equilibrium and it’s taken me a long time to reconcile that. 
How free do you feel? I feel pretty free.  I still have kids living at home so some responsibilities and limitations but all in all fairly free. 
What are you proud of? My kids, my family, all the artists I’ve worked with and a lot of the work I’ve done.
What keeps you inspired? Oh ok people, nature, literature, learning something new.  Poetry, art, painting, sculpture.
When are you happiest? It’s not a destination, it’s a result of doing something you love. Happiness only exists as a result of doing something meaningful.  I’m happiest when I am helping others, selfless service to facilitate their happiness. 
And where does your creativity go? All over the place!  It’s like a river finds its way to the valleys.
What’s your philosophy of living? Love life and life will love you.
And dying? Not something to be afraid of. It’s natural
Are you still dreaming? Always 
What was a recent outrageous action of yours? I go skinny dipping in hot springs a lot!

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2 thoughts on

When Musician and Producer Youth, Hit North Wales

  • Paul Darnborough

    Ha ha ha. Lovely interview and great writing Liz.
    He sure is a dude!!
    In fairness he does try to practice what he preaches.
    Loads of love Paul 🙂

  • Elizabeth Shanley

    Thanks Paul. 🙂 Also massive shout out to the marvellous Cerys Hafana, composer and multi instrumentalist who mangles, mutates and transforms traditional music and shared her talents with Youth and the Canolfan Ucheldre audience. Her haunting sounds on the Welsh triple harp melded perfectly with Youth’s poetry. At The View, local guitarist, Tony Baldrock, played gentle riffs as Youth took us into his magical world of lyricism, faerie and mysticism.

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