YouTube can be fickle, a promise of instant fame, but like in a talent show on TV you are really at the mercy of the viewers, as well as any new algorithms Google decides to put in place that can stifle promising new personalities from making the break through.
Step forward the scots, sarcasm and p*ss taking are ingrained in our society, it’s how we bond. Grow a pair, or GTFO many would say. It’s the basis of true friendships in this bonnie wee land. So how else would a Scottish YouTuber rise to infamy and a steadfast following on the platform?
Gary Marley, otherwise known as ‘MarleyThirteen’, struck gold about five years ago with a random series, ‘Sh*t Scottish COD Players Say’. A title as punchy as the content that lies beyond your left click.
Gary Says: “Basically I was trying to wind people up on Call of Duty, just anyone and everyone.
“I think it was about three o’clock in the morning I randomly came across a group of Scottish guys playing, they were all friends before they knew me. I tried to wind a few of them up and in turn one of the guys started winding up the other players as well.
“I just edited and posted the video, I didn’t think they would ever contact me. Then about a week later I got a message from Noodles, (another player in the group he just met) saying something like, ‘Get in my party, I need to speak to you’, that is literally what happened in that video, that is the first time I spoke to them.”
The videos blew up across social media, on YouTube alone he gained over one hundred and fifty thousand views, not to mention the numbers on Facebook as it was shared like wildfire. Then the decision to release a compilation video of the best of the series so far hit big numbers with nearly a million views so far on the video.
A series was born, based solely out of the ramblings of a handful of Scots taking on the world in a first person shooter, throwing insults such as “yer maws got a chin like Buzz Lightyear” with straight back quips like “To chinfinity and beyond.”
To be honest, there are so many great back and forwards but the beautiful use of the F word in Scottish culture, employed as a comma, sometimes multiple times in one sentence, makes it difficult to quote 99% of the patter from the lads.
Put to Gary, if his and the groups “patter” had improved he said: “Don’t know if noodles patter could improve to be honest. Mine’s definitely got better as it went along.”
That last comment from Gary had the room laughing out loud. We are surrounded by other Scottish YouTubers in the green room at a gaming conference at the SEC. Just to prove the point of bonding they take great delight in sitting in on the interview just to laugh at Gary’s answers. He doesn’t forget this though as he has a wee friendly dig back when I say that he’s probably one of the better known Scottish YouTubers.
“That’s awful nice of you to say in a room full of Scottish YouTubers,” he laughs, making eye contact with every single person in the room.
The brand he has made just by that series alone means people know who he is when they maybe haven’t seen him in person before. Most of the videos are not with him in front of a camera, rather just the voice chat from in-game.
Gary Said: “I don’t think it’s mental to say that, there’s anybody who would be into Scottish COD players that haven’t seen it by this point. If my friends are introducing me, they’ll say, ‘This is Gary, he makes YouTube videos, MarleyThirteen’, ‘Oh I don’t know him’ they’ll say and then they say the series name, ‘You know the one where they slag each other’ and then they’re like ‘Oh aye’.”
Making our way to the green room to set up the interview, Gary was stopped twice by fans in the SEC. He was there for the full three days, and has been coming for the past three years. He sees it more as an opportunity to meet his fanbase rather than grow it – although it doesn’t harm the growth by showing up to these events.
Gary said: “Just to see it grow (Resonate) from what it was in 2016 to what it is now is quite insane, it’s easily the biggest event in Scotland. Hearing the rumblings of what awaits in years to come, it’s only going to grow.
“I don’t know about growing my platform but it’s just giving myself a chance to meet my fanbase, so it’s a great opportunity.
“We do meet a lot of people that don’t know us as well, if we’re doing stage stuff or meet and greets there’s people who come along and say, ‘ I didn’t really know of you before, I heard you were coming to the event, so I looked you up to see what you do’, so there is that potential there too.”
The Scottish accent can be cringy when heard on the TV, I’m allowed to say that. It is well known that a lot of Scottish comedy down south ends up being broadcast with subtitles. Not even comedy, but the news too. It can be seen as a double-edged sword when it comes to widening your net for growth in your subscriber base. Gary is all too aware of this, and the positives to it.
He says: “I’ve kind of dealt with it for that long now, my accent has changed since I started YouTube. I talk differently on YouTube than the way I would with my pals, I get called a traitor sometimes.
“It’s not really the accent as much, even though I do tone it down a little bit, it’s more the slang. If you don’t know what certain words mean then I might as well be speaking a different language. Subtitles helped, but you can’t subtitle every video, I’d be making one video every two weeks if I done that.
“I’d never say abandon it. Embrace it because Americans and people from other countries love the accent. There’s always going to be people that hate it, but there’s a huge amount of people that watch me just because of the accent. Like I get people saying, ‘I’m not even a fan of COD anymore, I just like hearing you speak while you play it.
“I don’t know if it’s stifled in anyway, you just kind of have to find a wee workaround. I don’t see a problem with just making yourself more understandable to wider audience, that’s ok. As long as you are authentic about it. I don’t think I’ve went too far, the day I start speaking in an American accent is the day I deserve a smack.”