Portsmouth-based folk-rock institutions Bemis mark the launch of their ninth album with a headlining gig at The Wedge.
Frontman, co-founder and main songwriter Gareth Howells is particularly happy with The After Hours, as it sees his son join him on the songwriting.
‘I’m so proud of the album,’ says Gareth. ‘It’s got all sorts of different sounds to it, every song is as strong as the others and it’s a bit different having two extra songwriting voices in there. Louis was a big part of the last album too, but this time he’s got three songs that he wrote on there.
‘Ian (Scarbro) was in and out in the early years and he’s been back in again for the last 18 months or so, and he’s got two songs on there as well. I used to champion him a lot when he was doing solo stuff around Portsmouth – he’s a fantastic songwriter.
‘Even my songs are in a variety of styles – it’s a real journey through the album.’
The band is currently a six-piece, ‘sometimes it’s seven, adds Gareth. ‘Richie, who I formed the band with has been playing with us again sometimes.’
And drummer Kayleigh Thomas is also a singer-songwriter in her own right.
‘Kayleigh’s style of playing, it’s quite distinctive, she does these quite subtly magic things. She’s a great songwriter too with her own band, but she wants to keep that separate, which is fair enough. I think she’s amazing.
They will also be joined by a couple of guests for the launch gig – a cellist and a flautist/saxophonist.
It’s the band’s third consecutive album recorded at Mayfield Studios and the second to be released on Mayfield Records.
‘(Studio owner) Dom’s the big reason we’ve stayed there. We work really well together, there’s a real good vibe about it. There’s always lots of things happening out of there, and we’re friends with quite a few of the other acts so it’s great to be part of that.’
As with most summers, Bemis will be on the festival circuit. They already played at Bearded Theory Festival in Derbyshire last weekend.
‘That was awesome. It was a nice thing for the band – we’re relatively stable for a Bemis line-up and it was the first time we’d all camped together.
‘As a band it was a really good thing for us to go and chill out together, and we had a big crowd waiting for us when we played. Those gigs are really special – it proves you’re getting somewhere.’
Wedgewood Rooms, Southsea
Sunday, June 9, 5pm