Dr Marvelo & His Best Friend Corkie
Every Minute of the Day
Where U At?
Bullets on a Screen
Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?
People Always Say What They Want
“Sometimes,” Chinatown Slalom frontman Liam Nolan confides to Apple Music, “it felt like these songs were taking us for a ride rather than the other way round.” We believe it. On a vivid, playful and at times startlingly furious debut album, the Liverpudlian four-piece mix soul samples and maverick bedroom production while exploring the trippier horizons of indie, hip-hop and jazz. “We wanted to capture our world in a full album right away,” Nolan says. “We didn’t want to drip-feed ourselves across loads of singles and EPs. With an album, you can really fall in love with a band.” Here, Nolan takes you deep into their world with a track-by-track album guide.
”Dr Marvelo & His Best Friend Corkie”
“We all met in freshers' week when we got to the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts. In that first week me and Jake [Brettell, bandmate] started making beats. We went down to the Title vintage shop and got this album called 3:47 by Klaatu. We flipped the beat on this track called ‘Doctor Marvello’ and it sounded so sick. We’d only known each other a few days, but found ourselves rapping on it as these absurd characters: Doctor Marvelo, Bottle Top Bill and his best friend Corkie. We played it at a party during Freshers Week and from there I think we realised we’d found a very good thing.”
”Every Minute of the Day”
“Weirdly, we then didn’t make music together for another three months. I think we needed to fully bond as friends first. Once we picked it up again the album began flipping between that teenage ‘I don’t give a shit, who’d want to be a millionaire anyway’ braggadocio and the angst and anxiety that can take hold as a teen. This song is shaped by that latter feeling. Lyrically, it worries that the game is basically rigged. It sums up the negative space we can all hit sometimes.”
”Where U At?”
“When we were making the album we held the foolish opinion that we could sample anyone because if anyone decided they wanted to sue us we’d be so big that we wouldn’t care. So we went a bit mad, before then having to take things off or wait a while for clearances to come through. This is a sample from a Patti LaBelle & The Blue Belles song called 'Where Are You' that we were so pleased to get. Lyrically, this song all came out at once on the spot—it was like subconscious ramble. Afterwards I often have to go through and figure out what I was actually talking about.”
“This is our love song. I think this was the first song we really made. It all came out in one voice demo, then the guitars and the full lyrics, with the bassline and horns added. It was the first time we all looked at each other and thought this could actually be something.”
“I think the album would be too full on without this little light intermission. I love how it captures how life was for us recording the album: you can hear us sat in Jake’s university room, smoking a doobie and just chatting about life. It all felt so fun and causal. There was no pressure whatsoever. You can hear us at one point say: ‘That’s what Frank Ocean would do,’ about whether we should cut bits of words out. I love how candid it is.”
”Bullets on a Screen”
“My favourite song on the album. Certainly the one I’m proudest of. It evokes the hermit stage I definitely went into at university where I didn’t really like going downstairs, didn’t really like answering the door, didn’t like it if people were in my living room. The line in the second verse came out subconsciously, but sums up exactly how I was feeling: ‘I’m upside down and I’m trying to read signs that are flying at me/ like bullets, bullets on a screen.’ Sometimes you don’t know what direction to turn, and that’s how I was feeling at this point.”
“This is our Marxist anthem. We wanted to capture that innate rage that I think a lot of people have. That’s why it’s called ‘8:30’, because it sums up the daily grind and the wanting to get out. Even though it doesn’t have too many words, we wanted to really project that feeling of wanting to let something out. Wanting to scream.”
“My mum told me this is her favourite. It’s largely about self-reflection, almost quite literally. I was looking into the mirror and starting to see someone I didn’t recognise. For the first time you have an awareness of yourself changing. I have the view that the whole of life is about self-reflection. When I’m looking at anything, I’m looking at myself, almost. This is clearly quite a deep song for me! [laughs]”
”Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?”
“As a title track should, it sums up the whole theme of the album. We’re stuck inside this game where we’re all striving to earn as much money as possible and how that basically makes you feel like shit. The lyric: ‘Feeling I shouldn’t feel/ and it’s not right/ it’s not nice/ it’s not cool/ it’s not good for my health/ but oh well’. I feel like that ‘But, oh well’ neatly sums up the whole album. But there’s also a realisation here where it’s: actually, life isn’t fair on these multi-millionaires because they’ve lost their freedom more than I have. I can do more. That we’re actually the winners if we only realised we were. If we stopped chasing them.”
”People Always Say What They Want”
“This is the antithesis of the havoc that the feelings in ‘Bullets on the Screen’ were causing. Here, ignorance is bliss. It’s celebrating the fact you can take peace out of not knowing, and being happy with that. You can just enjoy the ride. So, we end up in a nice place after all that anxiety. It basically ends with us saying to you: ‘Just smoke a doob, mate.’ It’s a nice way to resolve matters.”