Cribs twins Gary and Ryan Jarman on their intertwined lives

There are three brothers in the Cribs – and two of them are twins. Gary and Ryan Jarman explain how their special connection helps their music

HIS STORY Gary Jarman, 34, musician

People think of brothers in bands as a volatile and unsustainable combination, but working together has made us really close. We were insular growing up – there weren’t many kids in Wakefield into punk rock. When we started the band we were gang-like in our mentality. Ryan is stubborn and very motivated. If we’d both had my personality, we’d have achieved a lot less, but with his, we would have burned bright and short. Both of us can be very up and down, but his arc is slightly wider than mine.

At the NME awards [in 2006, when Ryan threw himself on to the Kaiser Chiefs’ table], we were all feeling quite fried after a long and turbulent campaign. Awards ceremonies are naturally quite weird: there’s a lot of industry and congratulatory stuff, so it was a bit of a powder keg. I was terrified and took Ryan to hospital. The doctors were alarmed but he was really flippant about it. I know how Ryan responds to any situation and have a different connection with him from anyone else in the world – even our brother Ross, who is also in the band, or my wife.

Ryan can be tardy. For some people on the road, it’s an irritant, but to me it doesn’t matter. He doesn’t worry about details; his mind’s always on something more important. He’s the sort of person who will make his own mistakes and learn from them rather than listen to others.

When I moved to America and did various things that diverged our paths a little bit, it was quite difficult. But now he’s following a similar path and has moved to New York.

I like to think I’ve been a benevolent force in his life. I’m always doing stuff he doesn’t necessarily know about to help him. I’ve spent my life worrying about Ryan and trying to look out for him, and I think that’s my lot in life.

HIS STORY Ryan Jarman, 34, musician

Gary knows how he wants his life and is in control of what he does. He is only five minutes older than me, but I see him as my elder brother in some ways. He was always slightly more mature – if he got a birthday present that I preferred, I would cry about it so he’d swap with me, either out of empathy or to shut me up.

It’s good working together. He wants to layer sounds that are surreal and pretty while I’m doing something more primal and guttural – there’s a rub that works. We don’t argue much about music, but when we do it’s explosive. People think, “Wow, this is heavy,” but they don’t understand. We don’t discuss it afterwards or apologise – we’re used to it. I would have got so sick of the music industry if I weren’t in a band with my brothers. Our understanding of each other keeps things in check.

I know that if I left the band, it would have an impact on people I care about. Anything I tell Gary, I know that Ross is going to find out, and vice versa, and everyone worries about each other. Johnny [Marr, of the Smiths] joined us when we’d done three albums on the trot. He changed the vibe for the better and it was interesting to have someone else to talk to. Gary and I generally speak every other day. We share a room and van on the road so we’re very used to each other’s company.

Gary’s a proper Portland guy now – the Pacific Northwest attitude stuck in the 90s really suits him – while I totally love it in New York. Gary helped me organise a green card and mortgages when I moved. He took a lot of the burden and I really owe him for that.

The Cribs’ latest album, For All My Sisters, is out now. New single “Different Angle’” is out on 1 June through Sonic Blew/Sony Red


Katie Forster

The GuardianTramp

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