IT’S the middle of August, so let’s talk Christmas. “I’m having a mince pie to get in the mood and I’ve a reindeer under my left arm as well,” says Wyn Davies, of Welsh choir Only Men Aloud. There is a reason we’re having to be unseasonally festive.
The Classical BRIT Award winners have announced their third annual Christmas tour.
Wyn says: “With our Christmas shows what we try and do is mix in some of the favourites from our first and second albums, with a strong festive feel. So, it’ll be carols and pop songs done in the special Only Men Aloud way. So you should be feeling Christmassy by the end of the concert.”
It’ll be their fourth UK tour since winning BBC One’s Saturday night show, Last Choir Standing in 2008. Since then they’ve had two hit albums and their own TV series.
“We’ve been recording our second television series and our third album,” says Wyn. “And we’ve been playing a few concerts in smaller venues, so it’s a hectic few months. I’m not really complaining because it pays the bills. And it’s fantastic to be able to do what we love for a living.”
When was his last holiday?
“After the tour last Christmas actually,” he laughs. “And I spent it eating copious amounts of turkey and being snowed in.”
Although the leap into the mainstream was three years ago, Only Men Aloud have been together for a decade.
“We’ve been touring for ten years and performing in gradually bigger and bigger venues over here and abroad,” he says.
Have they suffered any kind of snobbery from other choirs about their success?
“You definitely do have that snobbery in the music business but it’s from both sides. Whether you’re a classical artist crossing over into the pop world or vice versa.”
To try and encourage more young people to take up choir singing, Only Men Aloud launched Only Boys Aloud earlier this year.
“It’s a scheme for 14 to 19-year-olds to join choirs across South Wales. We’ve been getting them engaged in singing. One of the ways is by introducing a more modern repertoire. A bit of Cee Lo Green, some Take That...”
Any heavy metal?
“The rockiest thing we’ve done is Total Eclipse Of The Heart with Bonnie Tyler,” he laughs. “We’ve not quite moved into heavy metal yet. As soon as the voices start to get a bit rougher we may well do that.”
Only Boys Aloud is aimed at keeping the tradition of choir singing alive in Wales.
“There’s a such a wealth of history of male voice choirs in Wales but it’s been dying out. Of course, it was born out of the mining community. But now there are some many other distractions.”
Talking of distractions, has he a woman on the go?
“With the schedule that we’ve got it’s very difficult to maintain any strong relationships.”
How about groupies?
“(Laughs) We have a fair few people who follow us. And we have some avid Twitter followers.”
Some of their biggest fans are from Nottingham, he reckons.
“The last two tours we’ve done there... it’s been one of my favourite venues. The hall itself acoustically is one of the best places I’ve ever sung in.
“And the audiences have been fantastic. The last time I think was on the Friday of a bank holiday so lots of people have been in the pub in the afternoon and come along to the gig being quite rowdy, which was great fun.”
Who Only Men Aloud
Where Royal Concert Hall
When December 5
Tickets £32.50/£26.50/£19.50, 0844 811 0051