London alt-rap lads CLBRKS and Conrad Mundy have just dropped their joint EP, Out For Lunch. Produced entirely by Drae Da Skimask, the five-track project is a murky stumble through the minds of our favourite greyscale gobshites. The pair already have a couple of collaborations under their belts, including ‘Cement’ fom CLBRKS‘s recent Blah Records album Microwave Cooking, but this is their first full project together.
“The internet has always been our stage.”
We sat down to talk about the EP, but ended up chatting about classic cartoons and YouTubers with their heads stuck in microwaves. The duo are doing things differently with their approach to Out For Lunch so there was a lot to chew over. Check out the interview below and get to know two staples of the UK’s underground hip-hop scene. They also show you where to go for more.
Listen to Out For Lunch now
Am I right in saying you’re both technically Conrad?
L: “Yeah that’s both our first names, he’s Conrad Bobb and I’m Brooks.”
M: [Laughs] “Indeed, that’s true. C.B., we’ve both got the C.B. initials on lock.”
When did you first cross paths and start making music together?
L: “Was it 2017?”
M: “Yeah 2017, I think it was about that, we just spoke on Instagram. From the jump, obviously my name is Conrad on Instagram and he was like ‘Ah fuck, my name’s Conrad as well.’ Then we shouted each other and just started talking about Courvoisier and Hennessy and how we both loved the shit. Then we was like ‘Fuck it, let’s make some music.’”
L: [Laughs] “Yeah I think it was a shared interest in getting waved and also liking the same music and films I guess. Then we met at Kiina‘s didn’t we? I was making Habits and we linked up from there. In between those few years we released two singles and one music video. We’ve had quite a small output but we’ve slowly been building innit.”
Why Out For Lunch?
M: “Well, it’s just something that we both enjoy doing, like going out for lunch. It’s as simple as that. Also, we pondered on the thought of having a name like that for a while but we couldn’t quite put our finger on it.”
L: “I think we first started thinking about it ‘cos Lemmy from Motörhead would write ‘Born to Lose Out to lunch’ on his bass guitar and we thought that was cool as fuck. We kinda wanted to call it Born to Lose Out to Lunch but obviously you can’t call it that because of the internet and how things work, you can’t go against a massive rock band. I talk about food a lot in my raps as well.”
Back in the jazz era they used the phrase ‘Out to lunch’ as a euphemism for shooting up, amongst other things, so I thought some of that was behind it.
M: “Ah! [Laughs] Can you re-ask the question now?”
L: “That’s dropped knowledge on me man, that’s dope. Cool of you to mention, that’s really surprised the both of us ‘cos we really didn’t know that. That’s probably a part of why he had it on his guitar. So it’s a euphemism for doing heroin? [Laughs] Mad, I didn’t even know. But yeah, obviously on the cover we’ve got a plane crashed into a cake with cigarettes sticking out of it and a big Valium and some women’s legs. It’s got this whole excess rock ‘n’ roll thing.”
M: “Yeah, and the whole theme of it is black and white.”
L: “Yeah like a zine or some shit. Ya know, punk kinda DIY type shit. We like that with Junior Adesanya, he’s a jack of all trades really, he’s mostly known for has incense brand Cremate that’s sold internationally, but he also makes graphics and we commissioned him to do that art for us. [Grinder taps, tap tap tap] He really does that kind of look, he makes stuff that [tap tap tap] looks like that so we knew he was the fuckin’ guy. He’s a friend of ours, but as well as that, it was definitely something in the back of our heads, like that’s the kind of art we wanted.”
How did Drae Da Skimask come to produce the EP?
L: “Oh we bought them shits.” [Laughs]
M: “Yeah we paid for them, well to be fair, we made the first tune from the EP, sat on that for a while and then slowly made the other ones. When it came to it, we was like ‘Fuck it, we’ll just get the whole thing produced by Drae,’ ‘cos then it’s gunna have a consistent sound throughout the whole thing. The thing is, it’s a mix of trappy tunes and ya hip-hoppy tunes, and we didn’t want two different producers mixing their styles within that ‘cos that wouldn’t sound great.”
L: “It’s weird, it’s odd, I’ve got a solo track on there and that was originally to another beat. We found out that we couldn’t actually use that beat so we had to change it and then he gave the new beat like three years down the pipeline, and that’s why that song might sound a bit different. All of these are from a time when he was in a specific headspace and so were we, years ago. So, it’s weird ‘cos it sounds different to the things that we’ve put out recently, like say Mundy‘s ‘Thru The Winter‘ or my last album, but in actuality we made it all before we made those things. It’s all made around two years ago really.”
M: “It was a long process but it wasn’t dragged out, like I’d link up with CL and make a couple tunes. I think that single we put out on Loudhouse, I think we even thought about chucking that out around it.”
L: “Yeah ‘First Class‘. We bought those beats of Drea‘s Traktrain at the time because I think that was his modus operandi business-wise, like he was just gunna lease instrumentals non-stop to people. There was another track that was meant to be on the album that we paid for the instrumental, but we actually don’t really like that track too much. It was interesting for us as people that are still learning and young artists, like Mundy‘s younger than me but I’m 25 now, I’m getting kinda old, but it’s been a learning curve where we’ve had to make them kind of sacrifices to come out with something that we feel is 100% good, something that we’re really confident in. It’s been cool.”
M: “It’s the first of many as well. I’m happy with this one, but I feel like the next one is gunna be a lot better. The next one will smash it out.”
L: “For sure, ‘cos it’s so old at this point. Everything has a right time and maybe if we never put it out now, then I don’t think it would ever come out. We’d probably have gotten tired of it. It’s a good time, it’s a strange time to be dropping it (during quarantine) because we can’t be out doing gigs, but regardless, the internet has always been our stage. It’s never been a thing that has to be about us going out and performing.”
M: “Excuse me, I’m just putting some incense on.”
With Conrad Mundy and ‘The Ghost of Chef Maras‘ both being characters in classic cartoons, what are your favourite cartoons, new and old?
M: “That’s a question that I love. Favourite cartoons…”
L: “Ayy he’s buzzing now!”
M: “The classic shit like Ed, Edd and Eddy, The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy – I saw Grimm Doza done a Grim project and I really wanted to do a Grim Adventures themed project so that was a bit annoying – but, I like Courage the Cowardly Dog. You can always hear references about shit like that in my rhymes man, that’s just shit I grew up on. I’m not much of an anime guy, I was just straight to the point cartoons.”
L: “I remember you telling me you like The Cramp Twins as well, that’s the shit.”
M: “My name takes inspiration from cartoons ‘cos if you’ve ever watched Recess, Conrad Mundy was a character. I used to get called it by my mate’s older brother and the name Conrad Mundy kinda stuck. Yeah, cartoons, big part of my life.”
L: “That’s cool man. In terms of that sort of era for people our kinda age, Cartoon Network shit, I like Dexter’s Lab and stuff. I fuckin’ look like Dexter first of all [laughs]. Boomerang, before it was just a plus-one channel, it used to do Popeye and Top Cat. My dad always had me watching Top Cat when I was little, I loved Top Cat.”
M: “Old school shit like Dastardly and Muttley and Wacky Races.”
L: “Then there’s the anime aspect of things, my girlfriend is massively into anime so I watch a fair bit of it.”
Mundy also features on ‘Cement‘ from CL’s debut Blah Records release. What are your thoughts on the microwave fiasco that the track samples?
M: “That’s the one where he gets his head stuck in a microwave innit. I remember hearing about that before I heard the sample. I think I went to Morri‘s with CL and they were like ‘We’re gunna show you some new work off the project,’ and I’d already heard the beat but not the sample that went over it, so I was like ‘Ah that’s them fuckers that I heard about a couple of months ago in the news.’ It brought back a little memory. It’s stupid though.”
L: “Yeah shouts to Morri. I think Morri basically just typed the word ‘microwave’ into YouTube for a lot of that stuff, that’s not to undermine any of his excellence because he’s a fucking genius. So I think that guy’s a famous YouTuber or something, he’s like a loser. I should be careful calling famous YouTubers losers ‘cos they’ll come and get you, they’re evil.”
M: “You’re gunna get cancelled now.”
L: “Yeah bruv. But nah, I don’t really know, it works though. It’s weird ‘cos when it was put over that dark beat it sounded so different to how I imagine the guy’s video. I haven’t seen it but I imagine it’s way more funny, but this sounds…”
M: “Yeah I’ve seen the video, I’ve seen a couple of their other ones before and it’s like your Jackass kinda video, ‘Let’s do stupid shit to get a reaction.’”
L: “That’s all related to Morri in a way. It’s his artistry and his direction as a producer with those concepts. I really liked how at the end of it, it goes something along the lines of ‘Do you not feel remorse for what you’ve done?’ and he’s like ‘No, I’m just gunna keep doing what I’m doing.’ So that relates to our (collectively all three of us) our ethos as artists: just tryna do things that we want to do, not necessarily things that are necessarily right, but we just wanna do them.” [Laughs]
Did you know the guy is actually a Blah fan? Even uses Cult of the Damned tunes in his prank videos.
L: “So he’s heard it? That’s really interesting. Well shout out to him then ‘cos I just called him a loser. That’s cool though, it’s interesting that things have this reach. I guess it’s not something that’s done on purpose like ‘Oh we’re gunna sample this YouTube thing ‘cos everyone knows it,’ but that’s what’s happened and that’s brilliant. I fuckin’ love the internet man, the internet is crazy.”
M: “Big up the internet.”
In the underground/alternative scene, what labels, artists and movements should people check out?
L: “Firstly, Loundhouse all day.”
M: “Shit man, you know what, I haven’t actually been keeping up with a lot of underground scene shit at the moment, I only really pay attention to Loudhouse and obviously Blah and shit like that.”
L: “Off the top of my head, platform-wise of where you could find shit…”
M: “Oh yeah like Offie Mag and fuckin—”
L: “Yeah always Offie Mag. And Kish!‘s blog Paradoujin. He offers a different perspective ‘cos they have that very contemporary style of rap music that’s coming out of London right now that’s a bit more trappy and alternative. They support a lot of that stuff if that’s your cup of tea.”
M: “Oh that Jimi Da Killa, I know he’s got a podcast and platform.”
L: “The Pit, shout out to The Pit. The Pit‘s been supporting man for a long time yeah, they’re good people too. Who the fuck’s namedroppable right now, like some actual hot motherfuckers artist-wise… always dylantheinfamous…”
L: “Them man for sure, they’re also on the Blah thing. There’s so much cool stuff in Birmingham, I was talking about Birmingham the other day on Twitter. Right now you’ve got dylan obviously, oghost, Franklin Armstrong, you’ve got Kofi Stone who’s on a bit of another level ‘cos he’s now famous and stuff, you have JaydonClover, Tony Bontana – there’s some really interesting young—”
M: “WilfMerson, shout out WilfMerson.”
L: “Oh yo! Shout out to WilfMerson, that little motherfucker. I don’t know where he is but fuck man, I think he’s only 17 and he’s killing it. He’s making beats and rapping and shit, he’s just got this energy that everybody should—”
M: “He’s doing shit that I don’t even do. He’s making his own beats, he’s mixing his own shit. He’s doing a lot.”
L: “It’s very inspiring, his energy is wicked.”
What’s next for both CLBRKS and Conrad Mundy?
L: “We haven’t even started yet.” [Laughs]
M: “As soon as this self-isolation is over, I think me and CL will have a sit down – or a stand up – and we’ll have a chat about the next thing that we do. Something big from me and CL next.”
L: “Something that’s conceptual again, but an album not an EP. Something longer.”
M: “Yeah, with lots of music videos and lots of naked women.”
Would you release that independently again or tie it to a label?
L: “Oh well, we’ll see what happens with this shit you know. It feels right to be dropping this independently, but we’re getting some help from some other people as well. It’s not all confirmed but we’re tryna work with some brands. We’re definitely working with Scumlife and it might have something else that comes along with it. We’re taking a different route in terms of sales and marketing, trying it out differently. It’s something that we should only really do ourselves because I think if you did this with a label, they’d probably not be happy with some of the decisions we’ve been making. We just wanna do what we wanna do.”
M: “We just wanted to get this one out the way ‘cos we’ve been sitting on it for two years. It’s almost annoying at this point, the fact that we still haven’t dropped it, because I’ve just had to listen to these tunes over and over again. Let’s just get it out man.”
L: “It’s gunna be weird if people like them and are then like ‘Hey man, I really like that tune,’ but we’re like ‘I fuckin’ hate that tune.’“
M: [Laughs] “Yeah innit, ‘I’ve been listening to that song for two years ya cunt.’”
L: “We’re nice man, really.”
Listen to Out For Lunch now
Interviewed by: James Wijesinghe