Before the Super Furry Animals visit the O2 Institute in Birmingham on the 10th December I was gifted 15 minutes with Huw Bunford the legendary Welsh band’s guitarist and vocalist. The band who have just reissued their 20th Anniversary edition of debut album Fuzzy Logic are clearly very upbeat about the forthcoming tour.
Huw was a pleasure to talk to and was jovial throughout the conversation. We got to talk about Cardiff, Rio, Mexico and Paul McCartney and for my first ever interview it was the best 15 minutes of my life.
BL: Hi Huw thanks for your time today, I obviously get to interview you today, this is the first one I’ve ever done so be gentle with me I suppose.
HB: Is that right?
BL: It’s one of those things you know. You get asked “do you want to do an interview?” and you go yeah yeah I’ll do it and then think, what have I just let myself in for?
HB: (Laughing) No, no it’s good to be honest, it’s off to a good start.
BL: Yeah? That’s alright then. That’s quite good. I’m actually half Welsh believe it or not, my name is Imran but I am actually half Welsh, my mum’s from Llantrisant, she was born there and grew up in Cardiff and so I know those areas very well.
HB: Oh yeah, Cardiff is that right? Well there you go…
BL: OK so I’ll kick off with my first question; obviously you’re touring at the moment and it’s a ten date tour, over your 20 year career what’s been the highlight do you think?
HB: Er… well in a kind of collective way it’s probably really kind of getting a chance to actually go around the world and do something which most people would kind of dream of doing you know. I suppose we will never kind of forget it, maybe that’s why we’re all still the original members I guess
BL: You all met in Cardiff is that right?
HB: Yeah that’s right, Cian and Daf are brothers, they were born in Anglesey and Gruff was born in Bethesda, North Wales and me an Guto were from Cardiff and eventually we all migrated down to Cardiff. We just met hanging out in the Acid House days
BL: Ah yes the techno days, there’s the “lost techno album” isn’t there?
HB: Well yeah, the first gigs we did were techno really, they were sort of nothing like our first EPs, they were like hard core techno, I mean we played gigs that were like kind of emptying the room really.
BL: You don’t do that anymore?
HB: Well you know (laughs).. But yes there is a lost techno album?
BL: Will it ever see the light of day?
HB: I dunno. I dunno. I’m probably not the one to ask on that.
BL: Ah OK. So in terms of venues. You said that you’ve been around the world, where was your favourite? Maybe if you could narrow it down to one gig I suppose?
HB: Jesus, er….Ah we did one amazing gig in Rio, it was pretty amazing actually. I think the crowd made it really. We ended up buying a replica world cup which was a really good move. Our last song we played in Yeti suits and Gruff was holding up this world cup and the crowd went bananas, not so much to do with the song but more that we showed the world cup to them and it sort of raised the roof by default.
BL: Was it a festival that? Or was it just a gig?
HB: Oh yeah it was a festival I can’t remember which one as it was years ago so… We only just got back last weekend from playing in Mexico City which was a festival as well and it was the first time we got to play a gig in Mexico so that was amazing. I won’t forget that in a hurry.
BL: I don’t suppose you do really. I mean you’ve been going on the road and gigging for the last 20 years. You took a bit of a hiatus. Does it still have the same feel, or the same buzz when you’re going round touring or has it changed?
HB: I suppose inevitably I guess everyone gets a bit older you know…
BL: Do you all have families now?
HB: Yeah so it gets a little bit more laid back, you know, not so frantic, so maybe we’re a bit more calm. Because touring when we were young you know, well what we are doing now with the two albums, of course we played those back in the day and in those days you used to just promo hard.
BL: Ah yes of course Fuzzy Logic has just come out, the special edition one, and the new best of album, and of course the gigs you are playing consist of Fuzzy Logic in full, followed by Radiator in full, if you had to pinpoint particular tracks of those albums what would be your favourites?
HB: Um, well you know what, it changes a lot, I’ve always liked Frisbee because it’s just bonkers and it’s quite anarchic it just feels nice you know, but it changes a lot, at the moment I quite like Mario Man and Fuzzy Birds because like I don’t think we’ve done them live, I mean ever, so we’ve started rehearsing them now and also tracks that weren’t the singles.
BL: Had you forgotten them?
HB: Yeah, ironically it’s been really harder this time round to try and remember how we played them, what we did in the studio because there was no internet or you:tube back in the day, so there’s very little footage so you’re kind of thinking bloody hell what did we actually do back then.
BL: I wouldn’t worry, I think it’s gonna be great really, I mean tracks that you’ve never heard live which will be amazing. Are there going to be any curveballs in the set or are we just expecting to hear the album tracks?
HB: Dunno yet. Dunno. Well what we’re doing is definitely staying on target. Maybe there’ll be something encore wise. But we don’t usually do encores so, whatever will be, it will be.
BL: I actually can’t remember a time that you’ve done an encore. Obviously Bing Bong came out this year and it was a great track, and I know the fans are all thinking the same and wondering if there will be a new album or not?
HB: Well, you know, never say never, you know, but we haven’t got any plans really, apart from really pushing this tour now and enjoying it really.
BL: You’ve got to go out there enjoying it, in anything you do really.
HB: Yeah that’s right, and the audience can tell if you are or not.
BL: Just going back to new music, and obviously you are all proud of your Welsh heritage with Mwng your Welsh language album, would you consider doing another one? Or is it again a case of never say never?
HB: Yeah again, I dunno, all those are hypotheticals really so I’m not able to answer really, and that’s the honest answer.
BL: Moving on then, and I’ve got a bit of a curveball question for you. If Rhys Ifans had stayed in the band do you think you would have gone on to make 9 albums and had quite a few top 40 hits or not?
HB: Well you know what I think our life expectancy would have been curtailed, so, although not now – he’s actually monk of the month now. It would have been very not calm. It would have been hilarious you know.
BL: I have another question from a friend of mine, he asks did you pay Paul McCartney for his part in Receptacle for the Respectable? Or did he do it for free?
HB: You know what I dunno. And nobody has ever asked us that question, so there you go that really is a curveball question. I don’t actually know… would you? Ah no I know what it was, in a way we did a remix for him, we remixed a track for his Liverpool Sound Collage album or something, which he won a grammy for.
BL: Were you invited along then?
HB: No, no he didn’t mention us (laughs)
BL: With Fuzzy Logic getting the remastered treatment with loads of extra tracks. Is there a plan to do it with the rest of the albums?
HB: Oh I dunno. Again, like I’ve said we’re just enjoying it at the moment so at the moment that’s good enough for us you know, when you’re touring it’s nice to have a break in between you know.
BL: Is touring pressured? Is it a high pressured environment?
HB: Yeah, fucking hell yeah it is, it’s hard work basically, it’s probably due to bad diets or maybe a lack of sunlight you know.
BL: Another friend question, he asks was Rings Around the World called “’Text messaging is destroying the pub quiz as we know it?”
HB: Yes, that is true, it was kind of a working title. It was that for ages.
BL: So the tour starts next week and you head to us in Birmingham on the 10th December, and you’re ending in Cardiff again?
HB: Yes, yes that’s right, we’re ending in Cardiff again
BL: I’ve been to a couple of your gigs in Cardiff and I’ve got to say they are crazy. It was at the Cardiff version of the NIA.
HB: Ah I know the CIA, we’re playing there again, but hilariously and ironically it’s been renamed the Motorpoint arena, but it’s the CIA
BL: Ah it’s the same place then? When I saw you Goldie Lookin’ Chain played with you. Have you got Goldie Lookin’ Chain playing with you again?
HB: (Laughs) Yeah It’s like fucking groundhog day….
BL: It sounds like it’s going to be a pretty awesome tour really. I mean you’ve been going for 20 years you’ve got to be proud of that?
HB: Yeah definitely, and we’re still friends.
BL: So I’ve got one more for you, and then I’ll leave you to it. I’m 6ft 8 so I’m a big lad. I’m just wondering what’s the weirdest fan that you’ve encountered in 20 years?
HB: Ummmmm… The weirdest fan? Well I suppose, not all of them are weird, they’re fanatical you know, hence they’re fans, you can get mixed up between fanatical and weird I guess you know. The weird ones aren’t really the fans – they’re just weird, they’re not even fans. They turn up to the dressing room and you’re like “who the hell are you?”
BL: Ever been asked to sign anything strange?
HB: No, well no not off the top of my head really, there has been plenty of strange stuff and surreal stuff but no. The early days were a bit of a blur.
BL: I think that the 90s it’s a bit of a blur for most people. Thank you so much for your time Huw, it’ll be good to see you at the gig on the 10th.
HB: Sure, nice one Imran.
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