Gulp | Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Gulp: Summer Trip

Jul 16, 2014 Gulp Bookmark and Share

The world, and especially the music industry, has changed a lot since Guto Pryce was a founding member of Super Furry Animals in the mid-‘90s. Back in those days, people actually bought records, labels gave advances to help bands get tour vans, and the economics of balancing books wasn’t emphasized quite so severely.

All of this Pryce had come to take for granted, since playing bass with The Furries came with all of the perks that accompany being in one of his generation’s most acclaimed psych-pop bands. But with the band on indefinite hiatus since 2010, Pryce was a man without a country, left to tour as a bass-for-hire with Spectrum while missing the life of a traveling musician. The beginning of his next band was closer than he realized.

“I kept asking him to play on my stuff, and he kept saying, ‘Can you do some vocals on my stuff?’” says Lindsey Leven, Pryce’s wife. “And then we thought, ‘Wait a minute…’” As Pryce does not sing but had been stockpiling instrumentals and groove-centered beats for years, just as Leven had been writing songs but had no band, combining forces made sense. They already shared a love of upbeat psychedelic pop and soundtrack music, so they started collaborating on a series of hypnotic, summery tracks that layered Leven’s softly evocative vocals over Pryce’s otherworldly analog synth grooves. Joined by a Roland TR-505 drum machine, Gulp was born. But this would be a far more homespun affair than Super Furry Animals.

Inspired by the duo’s journeys in the Scottish Highlands and the California desert, Season Sun is an audio road trip, its motorik rhythms and dreamy melodies the perfect companion for looking out the window as the scenery drifts by. Recorded in their home, in other people’s homes, in an office-turned-studio in a community center, and in a friend’s kitchen, it’s also an utterly unhurried affair, unfurling at its own pace and by its own logic. With no label waiting for their album and no fans waiting for their next move, the duo took their time, adding guitarist Gid Goundrey and drummer Gwion Llewelyn while molding the album into a near-perfect amalgam of ‘60s sunshine psych, ‘70s Krautrock, ‘80s synthpop, and ‘90s electronica.

Though he’s a music industry vet, Pryce sounds like a kid talking about his first band when he discusses Gulp, explaining the joy he felt in hearing the band’s finished album, in seeing the artwork Leven designed for the cover, in watching their band dynamic develop while touring as an opening act for Django Django. But he’s also careful to be realistic, knowing that starting a new band also comes with frustrations he hasn’t experienced in some time.

“I’m learning a lot now, because I was in a cocoon of a successful band,” Pryce admits. “I just jumped on a bus or a plane, and a roadie set up my amp. I’m learning a lot more about how bands are working by self-managing and trying to make a record and trying to find a label to put it out. I didn’t really have much to do with the machine. So I might make some mistakes along the way, but it’s bound to happen. This is not some perfectly planned project. It’s pretty rustic.”

[Note: This article first appeared in Under the Radar’s June/July print issue (Issue 50).]


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May 18th 2018

Everyone enjoys a good summer trip! Some of us already know how great are the beavers bend state park cabin rentals, while others haven’t decided yet where to go this year. Choosing an area near nature is always the best choice to spend your holiday. You get to relax and to recharge for the cold season.