We reach back into the Uncut archives to find Rhys and guitarist Huw Bunford taking us through the creation of each of the Super Furry Animals’ excellent albums (from Take 131). “We were bragging about how we were going to make loads of albums in interviews back in 1996,” recalls Gruff… Interview: Piers Martin
The band’s Creation debut arrived with Britpop in full swing, to their amusement. Notable, too, for launching its cover star, drug-dealing raconteur Howard Marks, on the student circuit.
Gruff Rhys (guitar, vocals): We’d signed a deal and we were sort of blagging it a bit. We could ask Creation for a tank and they’d say, “Yeah, no problem.” We’d heard about Rockfield Studios and we wanted to record there because they had jacuzzis and you got three meals a day, all the wrong reasons for going to a studio. So we went there for three weeks and had Jacuzzis every day and ate loads of food and we were usually too full to be arsed to record anything. We were reacting to Britpop in a way – we just hated the idea of making parochial music. We felt Britpop represented a conservative, backwards movement in music. But then when we started recording Fuzzy Logic, we were in this old ’70s studio making this ’70s rock album! We got in touch with Howard Marks because we did a song about him. He was back in Wales after being in jail and he came to see us in Pontypridd. He turned up wearing leather trousers and a cloak with a big entourage. We were very ambitious, you know, and we thought we could make a Never Mind The Bollocks and have lots of jacuzzis and hang out with our version of Ronnie Biggs.
Released just four days after labelmates Oasis’ colossal Be Here Now, the Furries found their feet on their warmer, poppier, sadly overlooked second.
Rhys: After making a record with jacuzzis, we recorded this in Gorwel [Owen, long-standing SFA producer]’s house near Anglesey, to be able to make contemporary sounds again, and use computers. So we went to his house for three months solid and the Hale-Bopp comet was in flight, I remember. We’d been touring solid for a year and had completely wrecked any personal relationships, in tatters, and his house is quite small. So we were in this bungalow at the end of an RAF runway and the shed had been destroyed a few years earlier when a US jet hadn’t taken off properly. Apparently a ghost of a US airman was in the house. So there was no distractions. We asked if we could go back to Cardiff for the weekend because Beck was playing and Gorwel’s going, “No way! What are you thinking? We’re trying to make an album!” It was so intense. But he had Atari computers, and banks of old vintage synths, so musically it was much more adventurous. And we made much more interesting music.
Huw ‘Bunf’ Bunford (guitar, vocals): Gorwel’s sister cooked for us and she put different styles of carrots out every night. They lived next to the biggest carrot field in Anglesey.