exclusive: interview & first look at new lars vaular track, ‘gary speed’Back
It gets talked about so often that I think a lot of people have forgotten the details. That one line – “But we lived the dream. We enjoyed the dream,” has so long since passed into folklore, that the context has been lost.
It was a press conference at Elland Road. It was live on Sky. People gathered around screens in pubs to hear Peter Ridsdale say it. “But we lived the dream. We enjoyed the dream.” He tried to emphasise “enjoyed,” but it didn’t work. The line has a rhythm. “But we lived the dream.” It has its own beat. “We enjoyed the dream.” One-two, “We lived the dream,” three-four, “Enjoyed the dream,” one-two, “We lived the dream,” three-four…
And then here comes Norwegian rapper Lars Vaular, in a Top Man shirt, banging on a big drum.
“I’ve never wanted to rap about Leeds United, nor my local team Brann,” said Lars, who has three Spellemann awards – the Norwegian equivalent of a Grammy – two for ‘Best Hip-Hop Artist,’ and one for ‘Best Lyricist in Any Genre.’ “For a while I figured that football and my music wouldn’t mix. I’ve had the odd football reference in my lyrics, but a whole song? Never thought it would happen.”
That’s changed with the release of ‘Gary Speed’, a song that even to non-Norwegian speakers contains enough audible Leeds references that a United fan can get the drift – you can also turn the subtitles on in the YouTube video embedded above to get the lyrics. Lars told me the song, produced by Frode Kvinge Flatland, is about his relationship with Leeds since the early nineties.
“When I first heard the beat, I felt it had this stadium kind of vibe I wanted to explore,” said Lars. “The Gary Speed chant came to mind, but I didnt feel like making a song that only revolved around him.
“I started to think about all these different small stories that coincidently were linked together. How it was Phil Masinga that was actually was the star when he and Lucas Radebe first arrived; how the band got their name from the South African club; how Radebe turned down Man U, but Smith was sold – and how Smith used to ride motorbikes with one of the fellas from Kaiser Chiefs!
“It wasn’t until I got to writing about Ridsdale, Bowyer and Woodgate that I realised how special Gary Speed was. A goodhearted teamplayer, a true professional. The last real mohican. We all need a person like that in our lives. Then the hardest question remains – why is it the good ones that have to die?”
The song’s artwork – by Mikael Fløysand – and the video, with a supporting cast of Scandinavian Leeds fans, take things back to a simpler time, of Leeds posters on the wall, catching games on TV whenever Leeds were shown in Norway. “It’s pretty close,” said Lars, when I asked if it’s an accurate picture of his teenage bedroom. “At least that’s how I wanted it to be!” Eagle-eyed fans might spot a slightly less than stellar presence in the background of the video, though. “Haha, David Robertson,” said Lars. “I should have been more strict! I managed to pull down Ian Rush at least. The filmcrew didn’t really know anything about Leeds. My bad.”
Lars started supporting Leeds in time honoured tradition. “My five year older brother was a Liverpool fan, and actually the majority of my friends in school were either Liverpool or Scum. I just felt I had to pick a team that would stand out in the crowd.”
His ‘other’ team are Brann, former club of a certain Rodolph Austin, hence the ‘Austin 8’ shirt displayed prominently in the video. “I grew up with the band he did that Brann cup-final song with, Fjorden Baby!” said Lars, “And I’m actually doing some chanting on the track! We are all from Bergen.
“We had this drunken idea that we would make him do John Barnes’ rap from New Order’s World in Motion, and to our delight he was up for it! Rudy did the job!”
And before you do what I did, and drive yourself half mad trying to work out in which game the goal in the last verse was scored – “No, the goal is just a figment of my imagination, hehe,” said Lars. “Artistic freedom! But it sounds like a real goal, yeah?”
Check out the video at the top of this page; ‘Gary Speed’ is streaming now on Lars Vaular’s website – www.1001hjem.no – and is available on iTunes here, plus Spotify and Wimp. Give some of Lars’s other videos a look too – Rett Op Og Ned is his biggest tune, and Nonsens has a great summer feel!
More from The City Talking: