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Gorky's Zygotic Mynci were a Welshmarker alternative rock band, formed in Carmarthenmarker, west Wales in 1991. They sang songs in both Welsh and English. They split up in May 2006.


The group was formed by Euros Childs (vocals and keyboards), John Lawrence (guitar) and Richard James (bass) whilst still at Bro Myrddin Welsh Comprehensive School in Carmarthen. With Sion Lane (keyboards) and Steffan Cravos (violin) they recorded the self-released cassette "Allumette" (1991). Sion and Steffan left, the latter going on to form Welsh language rap group Tystion and drummer Osian Evans was recruited for second cassette "Peiriant Pleser" (1992), after which Euros Childs' sister Megan (violin) joined the group and the band signed to the Welsh Ankst record label.

The band's first release on Ankst was Patio (1992), a 10" collection of various live, home and studio recordings (this was later expanded for the 1995 CD version) which John Cale once proclaimed to be his 'favourite album ever'. In 1994 their first full studio album, Tatay appeared. In 1995, Euros Rowlands replaced Osian Evans on drums in time for second album Bwyd Time. Both albums were produced by Alan Holmes who also provided their colourful artwork. These early releases show a huge range of influences and styles: "Thema o Cartref", the opening track of Tatay, for example, is a relatively gentle harmonium-backed song, while "When You Hear the Captain Sing" appears to be a tribute of sorts to Captain Beefheart and "Amsermaemaiyndod/cinema" presents one song in the right channel and a completely different one in the left.

The band were often championed by BBC Radio 1 DJ John Peel; other than that it was extremely rare to hear Welsh language music on such a station.

Gorky's also released a number of singles and EPs on Ankst. Running through all the Ankst records is a kind of psychedelia and playfulness evidently inspired by the Canterbury scene of the 1960s and 1970s (Kevin Ayers' album Shooting at the Moon is cited in the notes to Tatay as "the best LP of all time", and the record also includes a version of Robert Wyatt's "O, Caroline"). Bwyd Time in particular also features a wide range of instruments, with parts for the celesta and sitar credited on "Iechyd Da", for instance. The 1996 compilation Introducing Gorky's Zygotic Mynci, their first release in America, was a compilation of this material from the Ankst years.

For their next album, Barafundle (1997), produced by Gorwel Owen (who had also worked with the Super Furry Animals) they moved to the larger Fontana label. The wide-ranging instrumentation remained ("Diamond Dew" has a prominent part for the jew's harp) and there were still psychedelic touches, but the album as a whole is more laid back than their earlier work, tending more towards folk music.

This gentler direction was largely maintained and refined in their later records, though the occasional poppier and rockier number, such as "Poodle Rockin'" from Spanish Dance Troupe or "Mow the Lawn" from Sleep/Holiday, continued to crop up.

In 2000, Gorky's appeared with John Cale in a movie called Beautiful Mistake, in which they performed 1994 album track "O Caroline II".

Original member John Lawrence had already left the band in 1999, and Sleep/Holiday would prove to be their last album, with Euros Childs and Richard James working on separate projects for a time, until in May 2006, the band announced that they had split.

Name origin

While in the band, Childs said that one of the most frequent questions he was asked was about the origin of the band's name. After struggling to come up with one, they decided "we might as well stick with the most ridiculous crap name we could think of."

Gorky's came from the word "gawky"; Lawrence says that "gork" was school slang for a dimwit.

Zygotic was "hijacked from GCSE biology"; it describes something pertaining to a fertilized egg cell.

Mynci is a misspelling of the word "monkey", rather than a direct Welsh translation.




Gorky's have the ignominious distinction of being the only group with 8 UK Top 75 singles without ever making the Top 40. They have, however, had singles peaking at 41, 42 and 43. That Petrol Emotion and BK have had 7 Top 75 singles without making the Top 40.
  • "Merched Yn Neud Gwallt Eu Gilydd" (Ankst, 1994)
  • "The Game Of Eyes" (Ankst, 1994)
  • "Llanfwrog" EP (Ankst, 1994)
  • "Gewn Ni Gorffen" (Ankst, 1994)
  • "If Fingers Were Xylophones" (Ankst, 1995)
  • "Amber Gambler (EP)" (Ankst, 1995)
  • "Patio Song" (Fontana, 1996, UK #41)
  • "Diamond Dew" (Fontana, 1997, UK #42)
  • "Young Girls & Happy Endings/Dark Nights" (Fontana, 1997, UK #49)
  • "Sweet Johnny" (Fontana, 1998, UK #60)
  • "Let's Get Together (In Our Minds)" (Fontana, 1998, UK #43)
  • "Spanish Dance Troupe" (Mantra, 1999, UK #47)
  • "Poodle Rockin'" (Mantra, 2000, UK #52)
  • "Stood On Gold" (Mantra, 2001, UK #65)
  • "Mow The Lawn" (Sanctuary, 2003)


  1. Gorky's Zygotic Mynci at Stylus Magazine
  2. [1]
  3. BBC Wales news story
  4. Leeds Music Scene interview
  5. Leeds Music Scene interview
  6. Stewart Lee Sunday Times interview
  7. Stewart Lee Sunday Times interview
  8. Wiktionary: zygote definition
  9. Leeds Music Scene interview
  10. Stewart Lee Sunday Times interview

External links

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