Gruff Rhys(external resources)
Gruff Rhys is the main songwriter in Super Furry Animals, and writes the vast majority of their lyrics.
Prior to SFA's formation, Gruff played in a number of bands, including the Creation Records-signed Emily, and Ffa Coffi Pawb. But his first musical venture occurred at the age of five, when he wrote a song about a train driver contemplating death. It was called Dwifn Mynd Yn Hen (I'm Getting Old).
The nucleus of the Super Furries came with a chance encounter with Bunf on the roof of a steam train in 1990. "I'd never spoken to him until then," Gruff told the Melody Maker. "We were on the way to the nearest town, because the pub we'd been at was closing. It was a beautiful day, so we simultaneously, from different sides of the carriage, went on the roof.
"The guard saw us, stopped the train. He comes to the carriage. By that time we were inside. We were in a group of 10 people. The guard said, Which ones were on the roof? And they all pointed... And me and Bunf were taken off the train and had to walk three miles along the track."
The early Super Furry Animals comprised Gruff, Guto and Daf. They were a techno group, and toured with Anhrefn. As the band changed, and Cian and Bunf joined the fold, they began writing more conventional guitar-based music, though Gruff insisted on writing songs about kidnapped Frenchmen, hyperkinetic hamsters, and frisbees used as weapons. From then on it was only a matter of time before he got really creative.
In January 2005 Gruff's debut album Yr Atal Genhedlaeth was released. Recorded in Gorwel Owen's studio, with virtually all the instruments played by Gruff, it was a lo-fi supplement to a wonderfully versatile body of music.
At the time of the album's release, Gruff said, "I'm considering splitting up after this record. I'm not sure exactly where, horizontally, or vertically." Fortunately he changed his mind, and a follow-up, Candylion, was announced in summer 2006, trailed by a single of the same name that December.