CARBS – YouTubular Bells (track-by-track)

Ahead of CARBS' latest release, Jonnie Common and Jamie Scott talk us through their YouTubular Bells EP track-by-track

Video by Jonnie Common & Jamie Scott | 31 May 2018

As Jonnie Common and Jamie Scott gear up to release their latest offering as CARBS, The Skinny are delighted to be premiering YouTubular Bells in full with a ridiculous accompanying YouTube video complete with fake in-between song ads. You can watch the video in the YouTube player above or click here if it's not displaying properly; the fake ads are actual gold, we laughed a lot when we watched them and hope you will too. To help get your head around YouTubular Bells, JC and JS talk us through their new EP below:

Slept On
JC: "The idea for this project was to scour instrument demos on YouTube for weird and wonderful sounds – synths and drum machines we’ll probably never get our hands on, for example – that we could mangle into building blocks and paint on top of with our own gear.

"We spent a good bit of time creating a pool of samples this way. Then we had a few sessions where we’d make little sketches with them, independently but in the same room together. That gave us plenty of ideas from which to pick our mutual favourites and develop."

JS: "Slept On really showcases that process. I love the evolving fanfare-like introductory trumpets that Jonnie put together, they seem to herald something starting up and really signify our processes in making this EP – taking joy in the weird offsounds that we found online, celebrating the grumbling MP4 compression, the floppy formats and crinkles in the sound. One of the best things about writing songs in this way was finding those accidental sounds in the demos we were sampling, like the swooping whoops that you hear in the drums, and making those an integral part of the song."

Live Fast Get Coin
JS: "Jonnie and I spent a fair bit of time playing Super Mario on the Wii instead of making music, which might be why we only came up with an EP of five songs instead of a full album. He was Mario, I was Luigi, and he had a remarkable knack of killing me or knocking me over when we were trying and failing to complete the game on Two Player."

JC: "Accidents, all of them! (I think)."

JS: "It's probably a good analogy for our creative relationship, there's a part of us that always remains independent and individual despite how much we enjoy working together. A sibling rivalry if you will. That's where the 'Be the best bro that you can be' hook comes from. Is Jonnie always the best bro that he can be? That's not for me to say."

JC: "No, I’m probably not. Please accept this ricocheting tortoise shell by way of apology."

Surf's Out
JS: "Jonnie kindly let me run with the verses on this one. I was at a gig a while back, and the support band were stacked, total spice boys, huge guitar amps, more gear than their music merited and their tunes were shite. Too much time in the gym, not enough time on the craft. It was fun to write a rap asserting that I am superior at sound to someone else, feels like a true throwback.

"I love what Jonnie did with the synths we sampled in this, I'd found a really nasty old Soviet synthesiser demo on YouTube, and Jonnie warped and pitched it to create that buzzy, squelchy sounding intro. Very tasty."

JC: "Latching onto Jamie’s line about it, I wanted to croon about crowd surfing as abstractly as I could. I have never crowd surfed and I guess I'm not over it. I came really close at one of my own shows once but I bottled it and ended up just wading into the crowd and hugging people instead.

"I think this might have been the hardest one to write cos we kept vetoing each other’s lyrical ideas. Came out all the stronger for it though."

Skateboards Of Canada
JS: "This was the first song we finished. We debuted it at a music festival that may have a Christian/faith-based background, which is great, 'cus Jonnie has a really good line about stigmata in it, which is obviously tongue in cheek."

JC: "That might be the best line I’ve ever written and it so nearly didn’t come to be. I was ready to end my verse a couple bars earlier until Jamie suggested otherwise."

JS: "The song title came before we had any lyrics, so I reworked the words to the Canadian national anthem for the chorus at the end, shout out to my friends in the Six. There's also a few references to a film that Jonnie likes that I haven't seen (like much of the CARBS back catalogue)."

JC: "Evil Dead 2, you philistine."

JS: "We didn't have any guitar on our debut album (Joyous Material Failure), so it was fun writing a great big chunk of riff for the end of this."

Run Fast Get Rings
JC: "This track started out as a reprise of Live Fast Get Coin, hence the flipped title, referencing the currency of Mario’s commercial nemesis, Sonic the Hedgehog. But it grew arms and legs and became its own thing, with only a peppering of spiky blue trivia."

JS: "I think this is my favourite of the five songs. I'm really happy the little musical splashes we threw in, the one guitar line halfway through, the choppy conga samples that makes the beat swing, and the melting ambience at the end. Lyrically, it's about fading friendships, that we probably all have at some point in our lives. Jonnie's line about the old passwords you used to know backwards sums it up really well."

JC: "This song has the most intertwined vocals, which we wrote in a relatively fast, punchy back and forth manner. I suppose that’s a nice juxtaposition to the subject matter of people drifting onto different pages, cos we were very much two peas in an iPod for this one."

YouTubular Bells is released on 1 Jun via Save As Collective