Dundee, Scotland residents Gavin Bain and Billy Boyd had aspirations to become the next big thing in Rap; but regardless of their ability to rhyme, they were told at a London audition that their accents were too thick.
In an attempt to be taken seriously, Bain and Boyd adopted new identities, reports NPR.org. Bain assumed the identity of “Brains McLoud,” while Boyd became “Silibil.” WIth the new identities came a new backstory: the duo explained that they were from a small town in California, got kicked out of school and went broke in the UK, where they were working on becoming the group Silibil ‘N Brains. Basing their personas on comedians Jim Carrey and Chris Tucker (with corresponding American accents), things began going their way.
“These lyrics were just the same when we did them again in American accents,” explained Bain to Weekend All Things Considered. “There was nothing different, and all of a sudden, people were saying, ‘Oh, wow. They’re just as good as Eminem.’ But in the Scottish accent, they’re saying, ‘Oh, no. They don’t have any talent.’ “
Eventually, Bain and Boyd signed a $350,000 record deal with Sony UK, and recorded three albums on the label. Songs like “Losers” poked fun at those who fell for their massive deception.
“We kind of liked to put little hints about what we were actually doing,” said Bain, “because we knew as soon as the record came out, we were going to come clean and that would make sense. It was a very naive plan.”
The lies began to have a real impact when the two young men claimed to be friends of Eminem and D12. When their manager told them they’d be joining the group on tour, the duo did their best to play it off, says Bain.
“We walked over and we started throwing high-fives and cuddling them and acting like we were the best of friends. And they just went along with it,” he says. “To everyone else, it just really looked real.”
While Bain and Boyd were able to get by with that line, an appearance on TRL lead to fans and friends revealing on message boards that the two were from Scotland. And while they worked to shut the websites down, the lies were beginning to pile up. “We were so in love with these characters,” he says. “We couldn’t get out of the character. It was complete insanity.”
The duo eventually split up, recalls Bain. Boyd wanted to remain in the group and marry his girlfriend in Scotland, while Bain didn’t want to endanger the group. The argument lead to the group’s demise, and the loss of their label deal.
“I always said when I was younger, if I hadn’t been happy with music by the time I was 25, then I would kill myself,” said Bain, who lived on in his alternate persona for two more years, before nearly overdosing. “And that date had really crept up.”
After living through his American persona for some time, Bain came out with a new band, Hopeless Heroic, in 2007 – claiming it was the first time he had been sober on stage.
“That was the aim of it,” he says. “That was the message, to get people off their asses and doing what they want to do and never give up.”