Founded in the north Welsh town of Blaenau Ffestiniog, Wales in 1985 by John Griffiths and Kevs Ford, the two teens had spent the seventies growing up in the town's decaying industrial surroundings. The two were heavily influenced by reggae and the punk scenes that were sweeping the UK. After several abortive attempts to start bands, the turning point came in 1984 when John Griffiths was on vacation in New York City and was impressed by a group of youths he saw at a nightclub breakdancing, and the sounds of DJ Red Alert.
After returning to Wales, Griffiths fixed on the idea of marrying hip hop and far left politics with his native Welsh language. Llwybr Llaethog's debut release was an EP for the Welsh record label Anhrefn Records in 1986, entitled Dull Di Drais, which combined Llwybr Llaethog's leftist political messages with what would become the band's trademark sound of turntable scratching, audio sampling, hip-hop, and cut-and-paste production. The band were also heavily promoted by British radio DJ John Peel.
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