Singled Out: Slightest Clue's Carousel

Keavin Wiggins | 02-28-2024

Singled Out: Slightest Clue's Carousel

Vancouver's Slightest Clue just released their new "Carousel EP" and to celebrate we asked Malcolm McLaren to tell us about one of the songs and he selected the title track. Here is the story:

Carousel first began in my old apartment on my acoustic guitar. Most of the parts came together quite fast with the help of my roommate who has helped me write tracks for Slightest Clue in the past. I had just the 2 chords that we use for the instrumental distorted jam for a long time and really liked how they swapped back and forth in this kinda Beatles-esque major minor interchange.

When my roommate came home from work I showed him just the first 3 sections of the song from noodling on my guitar and we got straight to work figuring out the flow of the parts together. The vibe felt slower and more psychedelic and brit poppy so as the parts were laid down I was really thinking about bands like Oasis and Radiohead and what those vocalists might do on a song like this. The melodies came to me pretty fast but it wasn't more than mumbles for a while. Sean joined me one evening and we showed him what we had worked on and he pretty quickly came up with those lead parts on the song that stayed until the final version. We also ended up using a lot of the same effect pedals and a Roland space echo that we used for the demo on the final project as well, instrumentally it felt like if it ain't broke don't fix it situation. This song musically flowed out of each of us without much difficulty. The big outro was a very collaborative moment as we pieced those chords together using all the shapes from previous sections along with some new ones to get that chromatic descending line. It was fun to just move one finger down along the fretboard and hear all those chords work together in this satisfying loop.

When we brought it into the room we began to troubleshoot things more lyrically and that is where Hannah and I really collaborated on that chorus to fill the gaps that my falsetto part left. Both Hannah and I were experiencing some pretty intense breakups at the time of writing and so the lyrics began to form out of that place of trying to move on and forgive ourselves and the other person for the hurt we caused. Grabbing bits of poetry and lines we liked from each other's writing it ended up all gelling nicely into a cohesive message in the song. At this point the song still wasn't called "Carousel" and had the working title of "Skittle Dan" because that's what we were eating in the studio when me and my roommate worked out the demo! Hannah came up with using a carousel lyric at the end of the song from another demo I had pitched the band. We all really liked the imagery and found a way for it to fit into that "Dark nights I sit alone" bit at the end and that's where all the visual inspiration began to unfold for the entire EP. We took our press photos at night in a closed theme park and made this song the title track of the entire project. It gave us a cohesive "full circle" (if you'll forgive me) feeling to the whole project and we were able to sequence the EP's tracks with this in mind as the final message. Another fun tidbit that Sean pointed out is that Both the first and last songs on the project are in the same key, so once "Carousel" ends and you loop the project back to "These Days" it starts in the same key which we thought was a fun subliminal easter egg in the project's sequencing. Carousel is our attempt at an Arena Rock brit poppy sound with big choruses and soaring guitars. It is also my favourite guitar solo that Sean has ever written for the band. :)

Hearing is believing. Now that you know the story behind the song, listen and watch for yourself below and learn more about the EP here

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Singled Out: Slightest Clue's Carousel

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