2018 was quite the year for Wrexham band Seazoo. January saw the release of their debut album Trunks, and from them on it was a non-stop schedule of gigging, festivals and the recording of their second long player, which took place during last year’s long hot summer.

The five-piece are now emerging for a short UK tour starting next week, before jumping on a plane and representing Wales at the legendary South By South West (SXSW) music festival in Austin, Texas.

“SXSW has always been on the list of dream things to do,” says guitarist and vocalist Ben Trow, who formed the band in 2013 with keyboardist Llinos Griffiths.

“We’ve played Canadian Music Week in Toronto, which was brilliant, but hopefully this should be on another level as SXSW is the biggest festival of it’s kind on the planet.

“It’s a massive industry event, so we hope we can meet some people who are into what we do and expand team Seazoo!”

Delivering their first EP, the self-released Ken, in April 2013, Seazoo quickly began to gain attention with their channelling of American indie rock icons like Pavement and Grandaddy, with the off-kilter, wonky pop of fellow Welsh natives Super Furry Animals and Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci.

Although the group meant to remain a bedroom-recording outfit, they formed a full band with Steffan Owens (drums), Dan West (guitar), and Mike Smith (bass), to perform their first gig just a few months later at the Llangollen Fringe Festival.

“I love songwriting and recording, and Seazoo was initially just a way to get through a log jam of tunes I had written; and also a way of me and Llinos to do more fun band type stuff together,” explains Ben. “It was all home-recorded in the beginning, with mainly the two of us making the sounds, joined by Steff on drums.

“Momentum began to build and we played live a lot more and also continued recording and releasing the tunes.

“We’ve released a few stand-alone singles, three EPs and an album, so we have been really busy - it takes up most of my time, which I love.

“We’ve pretty much moved out of the spare room for most of the recording now and have worked in some great studios.”

As for those influences, Ben admits the critics have been pretty spot on so far with their efforts to describe Seazoo’s fuzzed-up indie pop.

“I love Grandaddy and Deerhoof, especially their DIY approach to recording,” he says. “I love 60s stuff like the Kinks, Burt Bacharach, all those bossa nova organ records, Serge Gainsbourg - it’s all brilliant music and great songs, but I really love the production of a lot of those older 60s records.

“I love Welsh bits too, like Super Furries and Gorkys. And yes, I love Pavement! We also listen to a lot of Stereolab, Courtney Barnett and CSS, but I’m not sure if Seazoo sound like any of these though!”

Playing live shows and recording material, the group have had the continued support of the BBC as part of its Horizons partnership with the Arts Council of Wales to promote new independent music. And 2015 saw the group invited to London’s famous Maida Vale studios to record a session for BBC 6 Music DJ and former Fall bassist Marc Riley.

“We’ve played live a lot over the past few years especially around the album release in 2018,” says Ben. “We were lucky to be asked to tour with the Lovely Eggs in the UK after they heard us on BBC 6 Music.

“Festivals are always lots of fun and I think Green Man last year was probably the highlight. We were on one of the big stages, sharing it with bands like Teleman and Teenage Fanclub.

“It was a dream come true because it’s our favourite festival.”

Last summer saw Seazoo head south to record their sophomore album and Ben is confident it can replicate the success of Trunks, which saw the band nominated for the Welsh Music Prize.

“The new album is nearly finished and I’m so excited,” he said. “It was written early last year and we went to Big Jelly Studios in Ramsgate to make a start on it in the summer.

“This is a lovely studio, a converted church, with a big live room and a slide connecting it to the control room - you need to check out the slide! There’s no feeling in the world like doing a bit of recording and then having a slide or two!

“We were chuffed with how well received Trunks was. It got shortlisted for the Welsh Music Prize, which was a great honour because there’s such a lot of amazing Welsh music being made currently.

“That album was recorded between a few different studios and at home. I hired a room at Roc 2 Studios in Wrexham and quite a bit was done there.”

With the likes of Kidsmoke and Art School Girlfriend currently putting Wrexham’s scene on the map, Seazoo are proud to add the reputation of the town as a thriving hub of live music.

“There’re lots of great bands in Wrexham, and this really fits in to the trend of amazing Welsh music being made right now,” he adds. “I know Kidsmoke and Gallops are also flying to SXSW, so there’ll be a strong Wrexham presence in Texas.

“The FOCUS Wales festival is really good for the town as it gives bands an opportunity to meet industry experts and other bands from all over the world. FOCUS Wales also support local music throughout the year which is a great help for us all!”

Seazoo head out on tour at the end of this month and will play Telford Warehouse (January 31), Manchester Soup Kitchen (February 1), London, The Finsbury (February 7), Wrexham, Ty Pawb (February 9), Chester, St Mary’s Creative Space (March 2).