Bands FC came about in early 2018 following a conversation between Nick Fraser, designer Mark Liptrott and The Charlatans frontman Tim Burgess who were discussing how bands could get noticed during the World Cup.
Within the coming days, weeks and months the numbers of designs they had, and Twitter followers they gained, had grown exponentially.
Described as “bands as football teams, football teams as bands”, it’s a simple idea that explores the inextricable link between football and music - a relationship embedded in the tribal nature of both cultures.
Football chants are an obvious example of where the two worlds collide. Club specific chants act as a signifier for the team you follow. ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ is a traditional ‘40s show tune, but after Liverpool band Gerry & The Pacemakers hit the charts covering it in 1963 it was adopted by fans in the Kop, and now the song is synonymous with Liverpool Football Club.
Liverpool is a city big on football and music, and the Cunard Building will host an Exhibition of Bands FC’s work between 7 January and 13 January 2019.
Popular Saturday morning TV programme Soccer AM has a long-standing relationship with music and frequently hosts high profile bands and artists as guests. One standout moment from the show's archives is a volley scored by Kasabian’s Serge Pizzorno. Serge also scored a memorable goal at Soccer Aid (a biannual charity match that attracts many musicians and footballing legends to take part) in 2012 by lobbing former England goalkeeper David Seaman.
Kasabian are a band whose very existence has always been syonymous with football, not just for Serge's exploits detailed above but because they are vocal Leicester City supporters and even have a clothing collaboration with the club, as well as their music playing throughout the stadium each time they score a goal.
Kasabian’s track ‘L.S.F’ featured on the soundtrack for the FIFA 04 (a football video game) and its inclusion on the game is that prompted the track to become their first top ten single.
FIFA soundtracks are a much-overlooked aspect of the game, run by a small team (but all with backgrounds in the music business), a huge amount of work goes into their compilation. The number of artists wishing to be included reaches the thousands every year which is testament to the impact and contribution it has in helping to break relatively unknown artists into the mainstream.
Bands FC really captured people's imaginations with users immediately jumping on board and suggesting their own band/club mash-ups, featured bands requesting printed copies of their crests and top designers wanting to get involved. Kit designer Rob Warner designed the Gorillaz/Sampdoria badge, Manchester-based illustrator Stan Chow designed numerous badges (including Queen/QPR, Blur/Bolton Wanderers) and Peter Saville created a New Order badge based on the colour code he famously included in his Factory sleeve designs for them.
New Order are another band who help weave the worlds of football and music together. Their 1990 world cup song 'World In Motion' is considered by many as the pinnacle of what a football song should be and coincidentally is their only UK number one single to date. Helped in no small part by it being a good song in its own right.
There are of course many other great football songs, a prime example being 'All Together Now' by Madchester/baggy band The Farm. Written about the famous game of football between soldiers in No Man's Land during the WWI on the Christmas Day truce, the song has been adopted by various media outlets for their football coverage.
Manchester is another city strongly associated with both music and football which features prominently throughout Bands FC's impressive collection of crests and the National Football Museum in Manchester is currently hosting an Exhibition of their work until 22nd November 2018.
After The museum's exhibition closes, the iconic Salford Lads Club will host an event between 10am-7pm where you can view the work, with Tim Burgess as special guest DJ.
The Bands FC team are using their newfound platform to promote positive messages and aid charity; their Twitter profile description states "Love Music, Love Football. Hate Racism" preceded by emojis of the pride flag.
The first merchandise produced for sale was 1000 limited edition enamel badges of the Frightened Rabbit / Hearts crest. With all proceeds going towards the charity the band are setting up in singer Scott Hutchinson's memory.
Bands FC are currently in conversations with other artists and clubs to produce more products to help charity, such as getting the Pulp/Sheffield Wednesday shirt into production with proceeds going towards Sheffield artist Pete McKee's favoured charity Artfelt.
Other charities are supported through The Charlatans and Public Service Broadcasting enamel badges and Camera Obscura t-shirts supporting Sarcoma, with Echo & the Bunnymen / Liverpool shirts in development.
Bands FC recently became the proud sponsors of Brinscall F.C. Juniors boys’ and girls’ teams.
"...we’ve got plans underway that are going to blow your socks off."
Bands FC's website is live now. Large prints, postcards and badges can be purchased online at www.bandsfc.com