Dafydd Hedd is an indie rock and dance artist from North Wales. The music focuses on close-to-heart issues such as mental health, political events and various struggles using and motifs characters representing different situations. Protest music and activist influenced, based in Bristol and signed to Bryn Rock Records, the catchy tunes and gritty vocals can be heard all over Wales and in numerous jam sessions and open mic sessions around the city. Music is beautiful and can be a powerful vehicle for change.
The Start (2014)
Dafydd Hedd's musical journey began on a fine autumn day when he was eleven years old. Dafydd came up with the idea of playing a riff on a keyboard, adding a drum machine on a synthesizer, installing a microphone through an amp and recording it on his KidiZoom camera. Since then, Dafydd self-recorded an 'album' of this content and called it All Over Here Now. Dafydd showed this to his friends at Ysgol Dyffryn Ogwen and fell in love with the idea of recording, performing, writing and being part of the musical scene in general.
Early years (2014-2016)
For a few years, his skills were not good at all. The quality of the music was appalling, but after years of trial and error, Dafydd met a Jamaican dub artist called Yasus Afari. At the time, Dafydd was learning about the Aberfan disaster at school, and decided to write about the cause. As a joke, the class asked Yasus Afari to listen to this song. The atmosphere in the room changed as it was heard, and Yasus asked Dafydd to stay a minute after class. Yasus said he was moved by the song and really loved the poetic element in it, words like "it's unforgivable, the old village of Aberfan" (Translates and sounds better in Welsh) . It turns out Yasus was doing a gig at Neuadd Ogwen that week, and Yasus asked him to perform under his name at the time 'Dafatronic' and he mentioned and performed the song 'Pob Dim i Lawr'. On that night, Dafydd Hedd performed the song and was praised by everyone in the room, including Dilwyn Llwyd, who runs Neuadd Ogwen. After that gig, Dafydd decided to go ahead with the music and still keep the trial and error approach as he created.
Neuadd Ogwen / Talent Pesda (2016)
Dafydd Hedd decided in 2016 that he wanted to create a talent show called Talent Pesda for under-18s in the area. It was his first ever show as a musician but also his first time creating an event, staging and collaborating with business. Unfortunately on the night itself, only 4 out of the 12 acts turned up, and out of these William Roberts got the 1st prize with a special performance of a folk song. About 50 people attended the event which is a good first gig figure, which made the show making £ 30 profit, of which £ 27 went to the Cancer Research charity. Subsequently, Dafydd released his album Cloud Nine with Pob Dim I Lawr on Soundcloud, although much of the album was very poor. One song though called I Have A Dream, an anti-racism song to protest the ban of Charmaine Stammers's grandma from coming to the UK got to 1,000 streams around the BLM protests in 2020.
Annibynnwyl and the SRG: (2017-2018)
Dafydd Hedd got on Twitter and looked for a recording label. Unfortunately, because in reality the music was not of a sufficient standard, Dafydd wasn't signed. As a result of trying to look for contacts, Dafydd worked with the Welsh Language Society to try and promote broadcasting rights for Wales. Because of this, Dafydd got a set at Annibynwyl (IndyFest, advocating for Welsh independence). After creating a fully Welsh set with his new songs such as Celyn, Tywyllwch, Undeb and Byd Yn Un, Dafydd decided to sing Carlo by Dafydd Iwan to promote the festival. The song pokes fun at Prince Charles and protests the investiture at Caernarfon Castle in 1969. The video of Carlo was shared by Cymdeithas yr Iaith and then shared by the Welsh Whisperer, YesCymruCaernarfon, Dafydd Iwan (the songwriter), RadioYesCymru and Gwyneth Glyn and watched 2,000 times. He has since had regular gigs such as Pesda Rock 2018, Neuadd Ogwen Christmas Gig 2018, several gigs with Maffia and Celt, gigs with the Welsh Whisperer and working on two new joint albums, Y Cyhuddiadau and Beneath The Skin.
Pobol Y Chwarel and Y Cyhuddiadau (2019)
2019 was a very busy year. Dafydd was filmed for the S4C television show Pobol y Chwarel where they filmed events in his daily life. It ranges from running, gigs and even his GCSE results. Dafydd jointly worked on his first public album Y Cyhuddiadau. The launch took place at Neuadd Ogwen on the 31st of August and was filmed on S4C. Unlike previous gigs, the standard of music had increased exceptionally, which was enjoyed by the 50 people in the Hall, from Bangor to Penygroes enjoying the occasion.
This is the time when Dafydd met Sarah Wynne Griffiths, a radio presenter on MonFM who has supported him over the years, and the following summer, Dafydd had a live session on the radio station and was played by Lisa Gwilym on night after the launch. the gig was identified by the Gigiadur, and an article was published in The Selar. This moment marks the start of Dafydd Hedd's musical career and the moment he was included as part of the SRG.
Before COVID-19, Dafydd took part in Gwyl Neithiwr. Huw Bebb and the audience really enjoyed the set and had a great time watching other artists such as Dienw, KIM HON and 3 Hwr Doeth. Dafydd also launched another album called Hunanladdiad Atlas, which was 10th in the Selar list that year. Unfortunately, his plans needed to be changed with the lockout period coming 2 weeks before his album came out. In the end, Dafydd raised £ 45 for food banks in Bethesda in the Isolation Festival set. He went on to host and play 12 online gigs during the lockout period, making a name for himself as an artist who can effectively make the transition to scary events like COVID and make the most out of it. Dafydd released his single Anghofiai Ddim and raised money for the NHS so he could have PPE and authentic equipment for nurses and doctors to treat covid. Throughout this time, Dafydd was making friends with people like Gwenno Fon, Gwydion Outram, CAI, Skylrk. and Iestyn Gwyn Jones, who will talk to and work with many in the future.
Noson Ogwen and a New Normal: (2021)
Dafydd decided to set up a festival with the BroOgwen360 website to promote independent artists. It was watched by 1.6k people at the time of this creation, with sets by Cor y Penrhyn, Yazzy, Gwenno Fon, Dafydd Hedd, CAI, Tesni Hughes, Megan Wyn, Skylrk and Hogia'r Bonc. Dafydd liked the idea of working and trying to promote emerging artists, and inspired by the work of Sarah Wynne, Dafydd launched the Calendar podcast. The podcast aims to promote and platform independent artistes and is available on Spotify and every podcast outlet.
Follow Me and a partnership with Iestyn Gwyn Jones
Throughout the lock-up, Dafydd and Iestyn worked on two songs, Strydoedd and Follow Me. Both singles were worked on over the web. The lockdown has made Dafydd Hedd work even more with different artists. Dafydd works on a track with Endaf, and Eadyth and looks out to work with even more artists. During this time, Dafydd had two Lwp sessions with Rhys Gwynfor and recorded a skit on Hansh called Pob Can Cymraeg which is out on the web now.
Yr Ifanc Sy'n Gwneud Dim Byd
After crafting and writing songs throughout the lock-up, Dafydd was ready to release another collection. The EP is called Yr Ifanc Sy'n Gwneud Dim Byd, a word play. It is possible to read it as young people to blame, and apathy to blame, but it really means that it is impossible for young people to create a 'world' (Dim Byd). The idea of 'Byd' in this sense is growth, happiness and opportunity. It has dark themes such as system breakdowns, drug abuse, complete despair, resentment and loss of identity, but the one thing that ties into the songs is that there is still hope. The line "Life feels unhealthy, but somehow I'm stretching it further (Mae bywyd yn teimlo'n afiach, ond rhywsut dwi'n ymestyn pellach)" is a perfect example of this. Musically, it breaks the pattern of Dafydd being a completely independent artist as he recorded in a live studio with musician Dan Cutler from Felinheli after volunteering to play the drums. The style is also different with many reviewers calling it a 'rollercoaster' of variety. The first one has an apathy, sarcastic, punk and relaxed feel. The second song has elements of 90s rock, names like Liam Gallagher bring to mind. The third is completely different, a pop can with some rural and relaxing elements. Sbardun is a unique heavy rock song that features elements of R.E.M. in guitar doubled. The last song definitely falls into the category of Welsh Pop with the many polyphonic riffs on the piano and guitar complementing each other.
For the first time, Dafydd also created physical copies of the EP and these are available in shops across North Wales.
Battle of Bands 2021
Unfortunately Dafydd did not win or reach the final of the competition but he did get a set on virtual field B 2021 and this was very exciting and fun. It happened to be, his friend Skylrk. (Hedydd Ioan) won the competition with his other friend (CAI) from the band getting 3rd and winning the remix competition
Moving to Bristol
Dafydd moved to Bristol for university in September 2021 and within 2 weeks he was able to perform in Llanelli on the TV set 'Heno' and have several gigs like UMCB in Bangor, open mic gigs at Mr Wolfs and in Swansea. While studying and traveling, Dafydd still creates and writes songs. After a gig with Morgan Elwy in November, Dafydd was singled out for Bryn's Records label where he released the next song:
By creating from his experience of mentally recovering from the lockout, a difficult time for him and using the skills he learned from Endaf, Atgyfodi came. The song grew significantly playing on the radio fifteen times a week at a time and is heard in pubs and shops across North Wales. At about this time Dafydd started gigging every weekend across Wales, from Swansea to Llansannan, the gigs were becoming more frequent and busier.