Supper Furry Animals frontman Gruff Rhys has never been someone who shies away from ambitious projects, be it his warped-folk solo album Candylion or the DeLorean inspired project with Boom Bip under the Neon Neon moniker. Rhys has always has an eye and ear for the bizarre, and his latest project is probably his most ambitious yet.
Here’s the story: In 1792, John Evans, a 22 year old farmhand from Snowdonia, Wales, sailed to the newly founded pioneer-era America after hearing that there may be a long lost Welsh speaking Native American tribe called The Madogwys still walking the Great Plains. His journey took him across the wilds of North America where he encountered giant lizards, helped annex North Dakota from the British and, legend has it, created the blueprint for the map that guided Lewis and Clark on their historic expedition.
It just so happens that Gruff Rhys is a distant relative of John Evans, and this fact inspired him to embark on the ‘Investigative Concert Tour’ across the US, retracing Evans’ steps through the American heartland. Now Rhys has condensed his experience into American Interior, an album that tells the tale of John Evans as well as Rhys’ journey in the footsteps of his forebear.
True to form, this project is no ordinary album. In addition to the record itself, Rhys is telling the story across multi-platform releases, consisting of a film, a book and an app. That’s no less than four mediums across which the story of American Interior will be told.
Rhys says this of the ambitious project:
“I… travelled through the Midwest playing gigs and writing songs. In St Louis I picked up Kliph Scurlock from The Flaming Lips, who joined me on drums. We powered up the Missouri River by boat, playing more shows on the shore. In Omaha we went to Mike Mogis’s Arc studio and cut a record, then carried on upriver to play the UMOnHOn and Fort Berthold reservations.
Dylan Goch who directed a film called ‘Separado!’ about my previous investigative concert tour joined me again and shot a new documentary on the way.
When I got home I wrote a book about the tour and John Evans’s epic adventure. It’s called American Interior. The film is also called American Interior. As is the album.
Just so there’s no confusion there’s an App that tells the same story in a brand new way. It’s called American Interior too.”
So, there you go. The releases are still being coordinated but we’ll let you know about release dates/shows/everything else as soon as the details come to light. In the meantime, watch the trailer for American Interior below.