Guys from South Wales in Hertfordshire? Jake Basford spoke to Lilygreen and Maguire at Cazfest
You can never have too many Jons in one place, but chatting to two simultaneously can make life very confusing. So we have simplified our interview with Lilygreen and Maguire at Cazfest to use their surnames only. You think it’s confusing – imagine what we were thinking.
So many awesome bands and artists come from Wales, so it really didn’t surprise us when Lilygreen and Maguire told us that they were from the southern part of the principality: ‘I’m from Newport and that’s a thriving city, it’s a small city but,… you’ve got a lot more musicians that are coming out of the woodwork’, we were told. ‘He’s from Blackwood which is a small, valley community, but we’re here together and it’s great that we’ve come from small areas in South Wales and here we are’, which is Lilygreen’s take on his musical partner’s village life. So of course like most fantastic duos they met in auspicious place: ‘In a pub. In Newport’. Thought so. And then they gave us a microcosm of their journey together, by informing us, ‘He [Lilygreen] was playing and I knew some of the bands and stuff and so we just got some songs sorted. Then we got picked up by Warner Brothers which is good. In a nutshell.’
If you are currently pulling faces at the screen going ‘I am sure I know that guy from somewhere’, you will be delighted to know that you are correct – Jon Lilygreen represented Cyprus in Eurovision 2010 with The Islanders. Had we known in advance, we would have been more vicious with our questioning. Maybe.
‘We played Wakestock yesterday actually and I was a bit scared because it’s quite a large event’, Lilygreen explained, and Maguire followed through by saying, ‘even though it was a big festival, it still had a local vibe to it, which makes it really nice’, but ‘seeing the vibe and seeing the crowd [at Cazfest] – the age difference means you’ve got the mums and the dads and the youngsters, it’s really cool playing on that stage’. Comparing Wakestock to Cazfest, as you do. Lilygreen explained further: ‘one thing I find interesting is that you’ve gotta imagine we’ve just come off tours with big female fans and stuff, and we see the lads with their lagers and stuff and even they’re waving their hands and stuff – it’s really reassuring, that’. We are sure it must be great to have such wide appeal, but don’t forget they have been touring with Olly Murs so it must have been odd. Apparently not: ‘like it doesn’t matter what gender they are – boys or girls – they seem to enjoy themselves. I couldn’t ask for more today’, which is always nice to hear. We mention that their sound may be more androgynous, something that confused Maguire slightly: ‘I don’t know what androgynous means!’ he said, but Lilygreen understood, by saying, ‘exactly – people just wanna hear good music’.
Is there an album in the works? ‘We’ve got a single that is coming out on a three-track EP, but an album – we are working hard on it and hopefully it’ll be out in January, so we’ve got a few months to cover, but that said, it means we have more time to refine it and make it just as good as we can’, the boys explained. Maguire described the sound as ‘awesome, acoustic pop’, which we totally agree with, revealing, ‘you know the rule of TV where you have to change your name? I’m thinking of changing mine to Captain Awesome’. Sounds pretty awesome to us.
We enjoyed their relaxed yet youthful exuberance on and off the stage, and after bidding them farewell checked out their music. We liked it a lot, and if they are already attracting attention with Olly Murs, then there is something definitely in the Newport water.
Photographs courtesy of Rob Anderson.