Synthpop architect premieres first episode of his cartoon ‘Bacon And Eggs’ on Electronic Sound
‘Bacon And Eggs’ is a new animated series from Erasure’s Vince Clarke, following on from the ‘Günter Finn’ shorts that Clarke began uploading in late 2022. Featuring two instantly loveable characters in the shrewd and enthusiastic Eggs and his cynical counterpart Bacon, Clarke’s new series charts the hapless duo’s tragicomic adventures as they navigate their way hilariously through the complex modern world.
Today, Electronic Sound are delighted to serve up the first helping of the ‘Bacon And Eggs’ series, ‘Likes, Plays And Going Viral’. Here we find Eggs coming up with the cracking idea of making an instant pop hit – electronic, of course – after watching a TV shopping channel advert for an ‘80s Synth Band Starter Kit’ (voiced by Vince’s close friend and VeryRecords label artist Reed Hays).
As well as being a glorious riposte to anyone who thinks making electronic music is easy, the episode takes a sideways look at digital streaming revenues, featuring a brilliantly deadpan pop song and catchy earworm of a theme tune. We find Eggs hatching a plan to make back the $19.99 they spent on their kit – requiring them to get 9,995 streams of their wry two-note pop tune, which they attempt to do by playing the song on a loop.
Electronic Sound had a chat with Clarke about his interest in animation, his brief spell making attention-grabbing jingles and what lies in store for his comic duo. On the evidence of this episode, we hope it’s not the frying pan.
”I probably started getting interested in computer animation about eight years ago when Erasure were on tour.
”You’ve got a lot of time doing nothing on tour, so when I was backstage I’d be either programming music or messing around with animation. I started watching endless YouTube videos and animation tutorials on ToonBoom. Unfortunately, it’s a really complex piece of software and I could never really get my head around it.
”When we went into lockdown, I started experimenting with another animation program called Adobe Animate and decided to get someone to teach me how to use it.
”I work with an online tutor, Ray J. Gutierrez who’s based out in California and having face to face lessons with him has made a huge difference. Once I got to grips with the basics, I was away. When you can get a circle to move across the screen, or a character to walk, you think everybody is going to be as impressed with that as you are, but of course they’re not…
”The idea for ‘Bacon & Eggs’ came to me while I was working on my first really stoopid animation series, ‘Günter Finn’. I started thinking, ‘Oh, I think it’d be quite good to have two characters called Mac and Cheese.’ But then I was like, ‘Is that universal? Or is it just American?’ I’d never heard of mac and cheese until I moved to America. ‘Mac & Cheese’ evolved into ‘Bacon & Eggs’. I like the idea of Eggs being a smart guy. He’s voiced by a fantastic voice actor called Tiny Mike, who I found on Fiverr, and Bacon was voiced by the actor Andy Nyman. Andy’s a family friend with a massive sense of humour, a super nice guy and just perfect for the part.
”I asked my brother, who’s a technical genius, whether it’s possible to stream one song repeatedly like Bacon and Eggs do. He said, ‘Well, the problem is, you’d have to have a zillion IP addresses.’ Spotify software recognises repeated plays from a single IP address so those plays won’t count. Even if it was possible, it would take you forever.
”Back in the 1980s, there were some bands that would release a record, and then they would send a team of people to go to the chart shops to each buy ten copies of their own song (allegedly). That would help put them into the charts so that inspired that part of the story. As far as I know, you can’t repeatedly stream a song like Bacon and Eggs do. A better way to make money is to play gigs and Eggs did not want to go on tour.
”In the end, Bacon and Eggs throw all their kit in the trash. I’ve never done that. I’ve given keyboards away that just aren’t useful, and I’ve sold gear that is really collectible but, at the end of the day, is of no use to me. I would sooner someone else own that stuff and make use of it.
”I’m happy to say all that all the things here in my studio get used. There’s nothing that’s lying about not being used. At my old studio in Chertsey I had stuff down in the basement just gathering dust. Everything here is is plugged in and ready to go. I try to use everything when I’m making an Erasure record.
”The ditty Bacon and Eggs come up with is simple and catchy. It’s almost like the music for a commercial. Years ago, Andy Bell and I actually made a jingle, for a department store called Marshall Field’s based in Chicago. Back then, I also recorded jingles for the Jeff Wayne Agency. Doing music for commercials was my fall back plan in case Erasure didn’t work out.
”I’ve already started working on a second episode of ‘Bacon And Eggs’. I don’t want to give too much away but Eggs has written an autobiography. The next adventure is their attempt to sell his completely uninteresting story to the world. It’s lots of jokes about publishers, reviews and stuff like that.”