Make Alternative Weird Again – Creeper Talk Disney, Creative Inspirations,The True Origin Of The Creeper Cult & More
In the process of all of that, more and more people began to show interest in Creeper and went to join their passionate fan base, the “Creeper Cult”. Sooner or later, the band from Southampton, England was destined to catch our eye as well and luckily enough we were able to catch up with lead vocalist Will Gould and vocalist/keyboardist Hannah Greenwood in Amsterdam at the final stop of their headline tour.
You can find our lovely chat about life on tour, the influence of Disney, how the Creeper Cult came to be and so much more below!
How’s the tour been? Is there any major difference between going on a tour as a support act and as a headliner?
Will: We’ve got loads of crew so we don’t have to do anything (laughs).
Hannah: We’ve become very lazy. I’ve been going to load in the other day and our tour manager was just like “No go sit down and eat something” and I was like okay, I don’t have to be told not to work twice (laughs).
If you had to be remembered for only one song from your new album, which one would it be?
Hannah: I think for me personally “Crickets”.
Will: I think for me “Crickets” as well. It’s a refined song, that’s my favorite one.
Hannah, was it more exciting or daunting to get the vocal lead on “Crickets”?
Hannah: A bit of both. I think daunting because I was worried what people might think about it, but exciting because vocals is what I’ve done predominantly for so many years. So it was really nice to step forward, although it was daunting at our first show this year in Manchester. I think as I went to step down to sing it, it hit me all at once, like “wow, what’s going on?!”. But yeah, overall exciting.
Will: That depends on the song really. Sometimes it’s quite methodical, like we have a certain type of song that we’re looking to write, but other times Ian can just play a song and I’ll be like “play a bit like Jawbreaker” and he’ll just play a riff and so it varies from time to time what technique we’re using, but the record itself took ages.
Will: I don’t know if it was noticeably different, but lyrically it’s a reference to a David Bowie song. There’s a song on “Diamond Dogs” called “Rock ‘N’ Roll With Me” and it was a song that he had made just for his audience. That was the first time he was breaking that fourth wall, speaking to his audience directly. We’ve been dealing with a lot of our audience coming to us with letters and going through all sorts of different problems and it was really difficult to know how to help someone, when they are reaching out to you. I personally know the effort, I know how hard it is, when you’re dealing with something, to reach out to somebody. And all these people tried really hard to reach out to me and I couldn’t help them because I was going through the same things in a lot of cases. So “I Choose To Live” was a reaction to that and it was a way of reaching out to our audience directly for a song. It felt like a really important song on the record. And well, it’s kind of a grand closer I suppose. I remembered something about this the other day, I kept saying to Hannah “Hannah, I need you to write a song like ‘Hey Jude’”, but we were so busy doing the rest of the record that she never got around to it, so I just wrote one instead (both laugh).
Will: Yeah, loads (pauses). I feel like I’m doing all the talking here, I’m sorry.
Hannah: Well then, go for it. I like your voice (laughs).
Will: When I was growing up, AFI and Alkaline Trio were a big inspiration, because those are two bands that combine visuals and music as well. I’m really into Wes (Eisold) from American Nightmare’s band Cold Cave, I think they’re really cool in terms of what they do. The Sisters of Mercy were a big band for me as well, obviously all the glam rock stuff was very important for me like T. Rex and Roxy Music. One of our first sessions was a Roxy Music song, we covered “Love Is The Drug”. It was all my dad’s music and I love it so much. Other than that though, bands like The Bouncing Souls and just all these melodic punk rock bands. I like bands that kind of play fast, but sing slowly like The Smoking Popes from Chicago. The Misfits were a big band for me and Ian (Miles, guitarist), one of the first bands we grew up loving together. So yeah, loads of stuff, but I’d kind of sunk my teeth into the punk rock and hardcore scene, so that’s the music I know from early on I guess.
Hannah: Mine was classical and musical theater, because when I was younger I used to do lots of musical theater productions and stuff.
Will: What were you in?
Hannah: I was in “Grease”, I was in “Joseph”…
Will: Who did you play in Grease?
Hannah: I played Doody.
Will: Are you serious? Do you remember any of the songs?
Hannah: Yeah I remember one (starts singing “Those Magic Changes” from “Grease”). I had to do that for a production with this crappy acoustic guitar, so that was interesting (laughs). But yeah, I come from musical theater. I’m a classically trained pianist and vocalist. And then I fell into Sum 41, Paramore, Good Charlotte…that’s how I came around to this world. Actually, I was going to do a degree in classical singing. I was going to be an opera singer, but I didn’t get in because my voice wasn’t mature enough. Then I had to take a gap year because I didn’t get in and I didn’t apply anywhere else and in that gap year, I went to a contemporary music college instead, did pop and rock vocals and then met Sean (Scott, bassist) and that’s how I met these guys.
Will: Well, we’ve given out all the clues out, or the majority of them. I always want to make more music videos because that’s “my thing” I guess, like I always wanted to make movies, so I love making those videos and we’ll get to another one I’m sure, but as far as I’m concerned, all the clues are out there. Now it’s interesting to see especially people who have been following it really intensively, some people are so close to solving it. I’m not sure anyone quite has yet, so it’s very exciting for me. But yeah, I feel like if you’ve spelled it out too much, if you’ve been over the same things too much, it will make it too easy, you know? It’s more fun having a mystery.
Will: Tapes are similar to vinyl, I suppose, that whole era of music is so much more exciting for me. I always wish I grew up in my dad’s era. I feel out of place in this time, because I love the idea of holding music, having something tangible to hold on to. So tapes seemed like fun because I used to have this little Walkman I would take to school, put tapes in and listen to stuff. I think there’s something romantic about that and you have to listen to a record all the way through. And “Eternity, In Your Arms” isn’t a record that’s supposed to be split into singles, so when the record label started choosing singles, for me it was a nightmare, because it’s all one piece of music. In 2017, trying to get people to listen to a whole record is hard because they can’t focus on one thing for long enough. But when you had a tape when you were a kid, you couldn’t just go “I’ll listen to something else” because that’s what you had. You can’t shuffle a tape, you can’t just change it over to the next band. I feel like in a world where everything is really fickle and things are exciting for 24 hours and then not any more, it was fun to make a tape, because the idea that someone would listen to the record all the way through, the way we intended for it to be listened to, was exciting and the prospect of them not being able to listen to anything else is also exciting (laughs).
You address your fan base as the “Creeper Cult”. Who came up with that and where did it come from?
Will: I don’t remember who came up with it. It was all a joke in the beginning, because we were going to call the band “Coven” originally. No one knows that.
Hannah: Honestly, I didn’t know that.
Will: “Coven” was the original band name, but we changed it for some reason and went with “Creeper” instead. So we still wanted to have something that was about a gang of people and so “cult” seemed fun. It was all about the Twitter handle or something, because you couldn’t set “Creeper” and it was just annoying. Our (former) guitarist Sina (Nemati) wanted to be called “@wearecreeper” and I hated that, it was so awful (laughs). I was just like “that’s what every band does”. I hated it. So I thought “Creeper Cult” was really fun, but what actually ended up happening was it kind of grew into this thing. And now we have a Creeper Cult Facebook page that the fans have made. They use it to communicate with each other and it’s become this larger than life thing.
Will: Puppy. They’re the opening band tonight. You should get here early and check them out, they are amazing. What I like about Puppy is they have a very clear visual identity as well. Their music videos are amazing, they make them themselves and there’s only three of them but they sound like there could be a lot more on stage. So they’re a really great band and I think they’re an example of a band that’s trying something different. I feel like over the last few years, we’ve had a lot of the same stuff in alternative music, just boybands basically, with guitars. It’s rubbish. So it’s exciting now, I feel like heavy music is getting weird again and that’s what I love because heavy music was always kind of owned by alternative people, weirdoes. And Puppy are weird dudes, they’re so great.
What can we expect from Creeper in the future?
Will: I can’t tell you. As far as our touring schedule goes, we’ll be touring a lot. We’re doing Warped Tour in America and when we come back home, we’ve got lots of stuff in the UK that hasn’t been announced yet and then we’ll be doing even more things next year. We’re a band that kind of pride ourselves in our work ethic. I grew up in DIY punk bands that were touring all the time. I’m used to touring, touring, touring, so that’s what we want to do, just be out on the road playing. We’re playing Download Festival in Paris and at home. Main stage at home which is crazy, so big stuff is happening for us at the moment but as far as what we’re doing creatively, that’s a closely guarded secret (laughs).
Will: I just want to say thank you to everyone who’s come out on this tour and made it so special.
Hannah: Yeah thanks to everyone that’s given us gifts and letters.
Will: And fed us, we’ve had lots of food this tour. All the vegan stuff has been great. Thank you for giving Hannah all that chocolate and making her hyper…thanks a lot (both laugh)
Creeper released their debut album 'Eternity, In Your Arms' last month!
We reviewed this record and if you're interested in reading that review, you can do so right here!
Interview contributors: Theresa Theuerkauf, Charlotte Hardman, Eva van Kuik & Glenn van den Bosch
Photos: Eva van Kuik