|Birth name||Gareth J Thomas|
14 September 1976 |
Bangor, Gwynedd, Wales
|Origin||Blaenau Ffestiniog, Gwynedd, Wales|
|Genres||Folk, brythonicana, rock, pop|
|Instruments||Guitar, bass, drums, banjo|
|Labels||Sbensh / Sain (UK)|
Gareth 'Gai' J Thomas 'Toms' (born 14 September 1976 in Bangor, Wales) is a Welsh singer-songwriter, music artist and producer. In 1992 he co-formed the popular Welsh language ska rock band Anweledig. From 1997 to 2007 he performed using pseudonym Mim Twm Llai. He is also an actor and writes music for television and theatre.
Gai Toms' songs are mainly based on lyrics, some very poetic, backed with eclectic music styles. He performs live with a 5 piece band of drums, bass, electric guitar, acoustic guitar and backing vocals. He also performs solo on acoustic guitar. His latest work is a double album titled Bethel (2012)
Toms was raised in the Meirionethshire slate quarry community of Tanygrisiau near Blaenau Ffestiniog, Wales. Son of ex-quarryman / heavy goods driver / bus driver Robert Meurig Thomas and school caretaker Margaret Gwenda, younger brother of Elaine. On his 13th birthday, Toms taught himself to play guitar on his sister's Spanish guitar.
At secondary school, Ysgol y Moelwyn, Blaenau Ffestiniog, Toms was a keen footballer but music quickly overthrew his passion for sport. Toms and his friends were musically motivated by the bands of the time, especially Welsh-language bands such as Mistecs, Cylchoed Hud, Ffa Coffi Pawb and Hanner Pei. Popular mainstream indie bands also influenced them e.g. Stone Roses, EMF. With all these influences Toms and friends decided to form a band, Anweledig. Anweledig's music was eclectic, early songs we're 90's indie rock but as they experimented and broadened their musical preferences, they developed a [World Music] sound with strong [Ska] and [Reggae] influences.
Toms mainly performs in his first language, Cymraeg (Welsh), though he has written in English. He mainly writes in narrative form, allowing lyrical rhythms to guide the music. Some have dubbed him a poet, his early solo material (Mim Twm Llai) was compared to Welsh-language pop/folk pioneer Meic Stevens and later work described as Waitsian. Toms's music styles include folk ballad, reggae/ska, blues, rock and pop, all peppered with experimental tendencies and political subversiveness.
In 2008 he released an eco-concept album titled Rhwng y Llygru a'r Glasu. This brought two more BBC Radio Cymru RAP Awards to his collection, one for best songwriter and the other for best artist. The album was recorded at his home in Blaenau Ffestiniog, Gwynedd, using clean energy and drums salvaged from junkyards; the album artwork and packaging from recycled material. Songs contain issues on sustainability, questioning our existence and purpose in the world today. The album was the first release on Toms's own micro-label, Sbensh.
In March 2012 Toms won the prestigious Cân i Gymru music competition. with Philip Lee Jones. Due to massive cuts in royalties for Welsh artists, he participated in the show/competition several times under different guises.
In December 2012, Toms released a double album of 22 songs entitled Bethel
Toms is now working on new material.
Gai Toms discography
- The Wild, the Tame and the Feral (Album/CD - 2015) Sbensh CD03
- Bethel (Double Album/CD - 2012) Sbensh CD02
- Rhwng y Llygru a'r Glasu (Album/CD - 2008) Sbensh CD01
Mim Twm Llai discography
- Yr Eira Mawr (Album/CD - 2006) Crai
- Straeon y Cymdogion (Album/CD - 2005) Crai
- O'r Sbensh (Album/CD - 2002) Crai
- Byw (EP/CD - 2004) Crai
- Low Alpine (EP/CD - 2001) Crai
- Gweld y Llun (Album/CD - 2001) Crai
- Scratchy (EP/CD - 2000) Zion Train collaboration. Crai
- Cae yn Nefyn (EP/CD - 1999) Crai
- Sombreros yn y Glaw (Album/CD/Cassette - 1998) Crai
- 2005: Dore, Bob Delyn a'r Ebillion (plays bass)
- 2006: Llythyrau Ellis Williams (sings Dilyn Gorwelion)
- 2006: Dan y Cownter 2, compiled by Huw Stephens (one song as Mim Twm Llai)