Artist Interviews

Q&A: The Cribs

By | Published on Tuesday 4 August 2009

The Cribs

The Cribs was formed by twins Gary and Ryan Jarman and their younger brother Ross in 2001. After touring heavily, the band released their eponymous debut album through Wichita in 2004. Gradually growing in popularity and gaining a loyal fanbase over the next two years, seeing their third album, ‘Men’s Needs, Women’s Needs Whatever’ go to number 13 in the UK album chart in 2007, they were joined by former Smiths and Modest Mouse guitarist Johnny Marr in 2008. Marr has since become a full-time member of the band and appears on their fourth album, ‘Ignore The Ignorant’, which is due for release on 7 Sep. The first single from the album, ‘Cheat On Me’, is released on iTunes this week, with physical versions released on 31 Aug. We spoke to Gary and Ross Jarman and Johnny Marr to ask our Same Six Questions.

Q1 How did you start out making music?
Gary: Out of boredom. Plain and simple. We lived in a nowhere town in the north of England, with nothing better to do really – unless you were into rugby or football, which we emphatically weren’t – there were no real outlets. We had grown up listening to punk, and it seemed the message was always just about DIY – there was no excuse but to have a go at least.
Johnny: I come from a family who love music and records. I never thought I’d do anything but be a musician. I got into a band at fourteen.

Q2 What inspired your latest album?
Gary: I guess it’s pretty difficult to put too fine a point on it, as some songs are written by me, and some by my brother. We always just tend to write about whatever is on our minds at the time, and be as honest as we can, rather than preconceiving a concept. It always seems that with the benefit of hindsight you can notice a thread that runs through each album though, although I never notice it at the time, because you are too close to it to see I think.
Johnny: Trying to be the best band we can be.

Q3 How do you go about creating a track?
Ross: Generally we all get together in a room and play together and record bits of jams we like. This is a good way for us, because we tend to all bounce off each other really well. This is how we get the general structure of the songs, and all the records have been written in this way. After we have a track, Gary and Ryan will go away and think about lyrics etc and bring them in later.
Gary: The way Ross outlined it is a good indicator of how we generally put things together, pretty spontaneous, and taking our favourite parts from long jamming periods. Some of the time, one of us will come in with a fully fleshed out song, or concept, and show it to the rest of the band, but we tend to like having everyone’s opinions in there from the start, really.
Johnny: Usually we try to write a good song first. That happens when one of us has an idea and the others develop it, which is one of the good things about being in a band. Then we try to capture the spirit of it, without technical problems

Q4 Which artists inspire your work?
Gary: When we were kids we all liked The Beatles and The Kinks, pop stuff like that. In my teens I got really into punk, The Sex Pistols were my favourite band, but I also loved The Buzzcocks, X-Ray Spex and The Ramones. I was also really into a lot of US ‘alternative’ bands around this time. Nirvana and Sonic Youth were really important to me, they also helped turn me on to a lot of the more obscure bands that a kid in Wakefield would otherwise struggle to discover. The Replacements, Wipers. I also love a lot of early 80s UK indie, The Smiths, Orange Juice, Aztec Camera.
Johnny: Everyone I’ve ever liked; old pop records and punk and new wave. I liked Iggy And The Stooges, and Buzzcocks, amongst others.

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
Gary: Hi, hope you enjoy the experience!
Johnny: Good luck.

Q6 What are your ambitions for your latest album, and for the future?
Ross: Our ambitions are to keep growing in this organic way that the band has done for the past three records. Each album, in our opinion, has been better than the last, and the fan base grows and we never have to compromise artistically in any way. We have gained really loyal fans from doing things this way.
Gary: I am pretty happy that we can exist on the level we are currently at. It’s nice as it was done without having to jump through any hoops. It took longer but it is way more satisfying, and there is no one to answer to. It would be nice if that could continue.
Johnny: For everyone who might like it to hear it. That’s it.