Creative Soccer Culture

Guto Pryce of Super Furry Animals Talks Wales & EURO 2016

For the Super Furry Animals, EURO 2016 and the qualification of Wales meant they could finally release a track that was penned with football at the heart. Catching up with bassist and massive football fan, Guto Pryce, we get his perspective on a game with a strong soundtrack.

So lets start at the beginning, this song was originally penned in 2004 ― it’s been a long time coming for this track…

"Yeah, the same for Welsh qualification really. They go hand in hand. Being long suffering Welsh football fans, we have wondered that it may never come out. It’s been on the back burner for while but as soon as we got over the joy of qualification it fell into place. We happen to be active as a band right now, we did some shows last year and we’re feeling good and now looking forward to doing some more. It’s all worked out well."

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As a fan, is releasing a football track something you’ve always wanted to do?

"I wouldn’t say it is on top of our artistic hit list but it’s a fun thing to do. We’ve been able to do it on our own terms and hopefully it has life outside of football as well if you know what I mean. The song was written twelve years ago at least and it kind of always had a “timeless” feel to it. It’s not stamped with Euro 2016, it’s more of a song of joy that’s been unleashed because of this tournament."

How often does football come into your world and what does the game mean to you?

"Personally, I’m a Cardiff City fan. A kind of a stay away Cardiff City fan at the moment. I’m a bit annoyed with football there in general and the way it has gone. As a way of life, it’s kind of been taken from me by the actions of the Cardiff City owners where, they’ve just pissed people off and people have stopped going. I would go and watch Cardiff City to go and catch up with all my old school friends and we’d have season tickets together for over ten years, so it’s a shame and it’s something I see happening a lot in football. I got fed up of being treated like a consumer. It’s a big thing happening at the moment, people being out-priced from going. I don’t know if any body sensible will take over the club ever again really. They’d have to try pretty hard to bring it back to being a community club rather than a franchise scenario."

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Has your football interest turned elsewhere then?

"Not so much. I could go and watch Swansea but that’s not going to happen. Funnily enough, I get on with my life. It’s amazing the amount of stuff you can get done if every other Saturday isn’t taken up by a home game. I just miss seeing my friends and the community of the club. People invest so much time, love and passion and their own money into their football club. In Cardiff’s case, it’s like Tan just said he doesn’t care what the fans say because there’s plenty of other fans that will take their place. I can’t take that when you’re handing over four hundred quid every year. You can’t really afford it and you’re handing over all this money - it used to be the case that you bought a season ticket and with that you’re helping to keep the club afloat. Now they probably spend four hundred pounds on napkins every game so the fans money isn’t actually all that important to owners any more."

Can you tell us a bit about the track? It's written entirely in Welsh, where did the inspiration and influence come from?

"It’s a natural thing to be honest. It’s not got a patriotic sentiment behind the song, it’s just in Welsh. If that’s seen as patriotic then fine but we’re kind of seeing it as being quite normal. The song itself definitely has a European and Euro-pop feel to it. We’ve always been huge fans of Donna Summers ‘I feel love’, that’s been an influence for us since the band started and that is a pretty cosmic track. Hopefully it ticks all the European boxes. I think it could have been a Eurovision song."

What’s more exciting, reaching EURO 2016 or getting this track out there for you?

"Oh the prospect of Wales being at the Euros, no doubt. It’s almost like the meeting of the tribes in Bordeaux. I know so many friends and family who are going out there at some point. It’s a really big thing for us all."

How will you guys take it in, have you managed to navigate tour dates around certain fixtures?

"Yep, absolutely. We’ve also got one show up in Toulouse a couple of days before we play Russia. It’s part of a Celtic festival so there’s going to be all sorts of bands there but it’s going to be great drinking music."

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Will you be going to any games?

"I went to the Slovenia game but skipping the England game. I think that might be like an old bubble trip. Like when you would go to watch Cardiff in Bristol, you’d get bused in and out so I’m going to give that one a miss but then I’m going to the Russia game. Beyond that, I’ve only just started thinking about if we do qualify, what I’m going to do but right now, I have no idea."

What are your thoughts and feelings about the tournament going into it?

"I’m just happy to be there to be honest. I think there’s a lot of very good teams. We may win some games and lose some games, I can’t call it. I said before the tournament I would be happy if we score a goal. Growing up watching World Cups to begin with in the eighties and then the European Championships, kind of watching these fiestas of football, it always looked like so much fun so I’m just happy to be there.

"It’s something we’ve watched from afar as Wales fans. I’ve travelled a lot to see Wales over the years and generally it’s not been fantastic on the pitch results-wise. I think Wales fans have just learnt to enjoy the ride. It’s almost a point where if Wales are doing particularly bad then less people go on away trips but the people that do enjoy it more because there’s less people and there’s that kind of dark humour side of things."

What are your memories of watching Wales over the years, it’s not all been doom and gloom has it?

"That campaign that Mark Hughes did - the one that we didn’t quite get to in 2004. I managed to get to every game, home and away, in that one which again was amazing in itself. We went to Finland and we won, we went to Azerbaijan and we won and then it started going wrong. Just the chance to visit these lovely European cities, places like Belgrade are amazing."

Can you feel that going to the tournament is it something that will galvanize the country?

"It’s definitely something that offers a positive feel-good vibe. In Wales we do kind of battle against the Rugby obsessed media and for once they’ve shut up and it actually has placed a focus on football so it’s cool. I almost feel sad that I won’t be in Wales to watch the games because I think the atmosphere in the pubs will be great."

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What are the Welsh travelling fans like?

"A very funny bunch, very good humoured, very happy. Good company, no trouble. It’s a really cool set of supporters."

How about your matchday routine - what does that look like?

"It will be very leisurely and sophisticated - a couple of beers in those half-pint glasses like you do in France… Then it’ll be tops off! We’ll see..."

What about that game with England, it couldn’t be a more fairytale fixture really - would you agree?

"To be honest, I would rather it wasn’t happening. It kind of overlooks everything. I think it’s a tough game that has a whole load of other sides to it that makes it even more difficult. It’s only one of three games - it’s going to be interesting. I do think we have a good chance though because although England have some very good players, they haven’t necessarily played together all that much and this Welsh side have played for 8-10 years together since they were all younger and when we click, we’re very good. I think we may be able to get round on the wings. That’s what I’m hoping for."

'Bing Bong' by Super Furry Animals is out now


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