Su­per Furry An­i­mals bas­sist ex­plores his prog­gier side…

Prog - - Intro -

“Um, The Orb?” of­fers Guto Pryce af­ter a few min­utes of travers­ing the re­cesses of his mind. “You know The Orb? That’s pretty proggy. Good 20-minute sound­scape. I dunno if that could be de­scribed as prog? I’m def­i­nitely into that…”

The Welsh mu­si­cian, best known as the bas­sist with psy­che­delic indie pi­o­neers Su­per Furry An­i­mals, is at­tempt­ing to un­cover the pro­gres­sive in­flu­ences be­hind Gulp, the bril­liant un­der-the-radar duo he shares with his wife Lind­sey Leven (or trio, if you in­clude gui­tarist Gid Goundrey). To­gether they make mini-kalei­do­scopic kraut-pop mas­ter­pieces that swirl around the mem­ory and whis­per in­flu­ences that should make you happy: Gior­gio Moroder, The Vel­vet Un­der­ground, Nancy & Lee…

“Punk rock, my first love, kinda spat all over prog, which prob­a­bly put me off it,” ad­mits Pryce. “But I do ad­mire any­one who wears a cape.”

He ru­mi­nates fur­ther and adds: “I’m ac­tu­ally be­gin­ning to come round to the idea that prog was more punk rock than punk. It’s a real fuck you say­ing, ‘I’m go­ing to play this song for 20 min­utes in a cape to a sta­dium full of peo­ple.’”

Prog is a broad church, lov­ing and in­clu­sive, and Gulp’s psych, folk and krautrock-in­flected sonic land­scapes fit the ticket, even if Pryce is strug­gling to find his place in it all. “The tracks usu­ally start at about 10 min­utes and then we sculpt them down into a pop song,” he adds help­fully. “We lis­tened to a lot of

Donna Sum­mer records in the stu­dio – just for the repet­i­tive­ness – and al­though we try to keep our songs down to three-and-a-half min­utes, we also like the idea they can be 10 min­utes as well.”

Gulp’s first al­bum Sea­son Sun ar­rived in 2014, and much has changed be­tween then and now, as sec­ond al­bum All Good Wishes hits shops. Pryce and Leven have upped sticks from the for­mer’s na­tive Cardiff to the East Coast of Scot­land, which Pryce de­scribes as “drier” with “dif­fer­ent light” and “more pro­gres­sive pol­i­tics”. Gulp are not a po­lit­i­cal band, he says, with their mu­sic more an an­ti­dote to the present hor­ror show of British pub­lic life: “We do preach love and tol­er­ance and beauty, which is prob­a­bly be­com­ing po­lit­i­cal. I think our mu­sic is about es­capism with a dream­like, oth­er­worldly qual­ity.”

An­other big change for Pryce and Leven came with the birth of a baby. The in­fant is just seven weeks old when we chat on the phone, and Pryce says he’s started “get­ting into high-pitched xy­lo­phone mu­sic” à la Rock­abye Baby. The ar­rival will de­lay any tour­ing for now, and Pryce sug­gests that fam­ily life may de­lay fur­ther any prospect of a new Su­per Fur­ries’ al­bum.

“We may do some more tour­ing,” he says. “Mak­ing an al­bum is such an in­tense ex­pe­ri­ence. Every­body in the band has fam­i­lies now and we can’t go to the stu­dio for three months and just live on wine and olives. It’s just not prac­ti­cal. Fur­ries may yet find a way of mak­ing a record that fits into all our lives.” JA



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