Creeper are a little different, which is never, ever a bad thing. We took some time to chat with them at Slam Dunk Festival, to find out what goes on in their alluring black and white world. We talk to vocalist Will and keyboardist Hannah about film noir, momentos from your first ever show, and what it was like to support their heroes at their last ever show.
BM: It’s early but it’s the first day of Slam Dunk, is there anyone you’re looking forward to seeing? Or anyone you’ve seen already?
Will: We’ve just seen Mooseblood, they were great. They’re like our brothers in arms, they were absolutely great. Their new material is going down very well, we’re so proud of them. We want to be seeing Boston Manor but we can’t because we’re busy. WSTR we missed as well, which is a shame because they’re our friends.
BM: But you toured with WSTR and Neck Deep right?
Will: We did! So we have seen them a lot. I’ll probably go and try see Set Your Goals.
Hannah: We want to try and catch New Found Glory at some point.
BM: There’s three days though so if you miss someone today you’ve still got two days to catch them… Are you guys excited to play?
Will: Yeah! We haven’t played since a week today actually… We’re very busy. The last show was with Funeral For A Friend
BM: Was that their last show? How was that?
Will: Very tearful, we all cried.
BM: Are they influences to you?
Will: Yeah well Funeral For A Friend were the first band who ever took a chance on our band, they’re a band I grew up listening to. I used to obsess over their records and I saw them loads when I was a kid. Then my old band that I was in with Ian, our guitarist, Matt Davies came out and saw us on our last ever tour and even though we were breaking up he wanted to put our record out. It was an absolute dream come true, like ‘oh my God this hero of mine is helping us out’, and it was really good and the record did great and then we made Creeper a whole year later. He hadn’t forgotten about us, and our first ever tour was with Funeral For A Friend… it was great.
BM: I bet it was dead emotional to be playing at their last ever show then
Will: It was, it’s the end of an era. I think with those sort of bands, the kinds of bands you grow up with, when you see them pass and move on, it’s like a whole part of your life. It’s just like part of your youth.
BM: Because you can tie songs to certain memories and things you were doing at a certain age
Will: Yeah, there’ll always be a song for when you were going through a break-up and stuff like that and you’ll go ‘that’s my song!’ You’ll hear it at a nightclub or something… and I have a few of those with Funeral For A Friend, that were like a soundtrack to my youth in a way. It was really sad, but it was amazing. I was really emotional after our set because I knew it was the last ever Funeral For A Friend show, and Matt from Funeral came up and gave me a hug, it was just a really nice evening.
BM: How was the Andy Black tour?
Hannah: Yeah that was really good fun! Really good.
Will: Yeah Andy Black is great, he’s a lovely man, very supportive of our band. He’s a very good looking man… very kind, and he’s a very talented man- multi-talented. I feel like Andy is one of those last remaining rock stars you know? I appreciate him, and he’s very kind to his fans. He’s one in a million. He covered Billy Idol, did a Social Distortion cover…It was a really good tour
BM: How was the reception for you, were people stoked to be seeing you?
Will: Oh yeah! It was great, our shows went brilliant. We did a meet and greet every night, for free, after the show.
Hannah: We just met so, so many people every day it was crazy. There were people for whom it was their first show, so it was cool to meet people and say, ‘oh I remember being your age and coming to my first show’. Literally so many people wanted to meet us, it was really nice
Will: I remember my first show! It was Ozzfest at Donington Park in 2001, and I remember picking up a piece of the grass and putting it in an envelope just because it was from my first show. It died… But that was cool, it was nice to meet those people and get a photo so they have that from their first ever gig. You should have something to take away with you
Hannah: I think my first show was Give It A Name Festival in 2005/2006 and I took home a plastic cup and I was like ‘yep I’m having this’ and it wasn’t even mine, I found it on the floor! It’s part of having something that reminds you of things like that. I actually don’t have it anymore though, my mum threw it away…BM: So you say that Bowie and Metallica are your inspiration musically, which is cool. But is there anything else other than music that inspires your art and what you do?
Will: I think a lot of film and cinema. Me and Ian were both film students… So a lot of art-house cinema and a lot of our videos have a lot of film-noir. We’re interested in a lot of that kind of stuff. For instance, our last record… Peter Pan, the J.M. Barrie screenplay version of that was a very integral part of our writing, and it was a structure that we used across all our records so far. I read a lot of papers on that, a lot of literature as well; we kind of try to make each record like a project, or a study almost. We put a lot of different things into each one, the last one for example had the Peter Pan threads in it, about the crocodile and we researched a lot into that. Directly before that was based on Heathers, that film, and a lot of things like The Breakfast Club and those kind of 80s teen films… It varies each time, we try to mix it up, like doing an art project at school, because I was an art student. I kind of see Creeper as like making one piece at a time, then moving on and being different and varied each time.
Hannah: I was just thinking I draw a lot from classical music influences. I was brought up with classical music, so when I write piano parts and stuff I’m more drawn to the classical elements. It’s good that we’ve got a mix…
Will: That kind of thinking, how Hannah comes in to write her parts applied to a punk-rock template, is kind of how we get where we’re at
Hannah: Yeah, it’s nice that we can draw from loads of musical influences but also things that aren’t music as well
BM: It’s great when music is a whole art though, rather than just music. Especially when there’s a group as big as yours with six people, so it’s six creative minds coming together
Will: The hope is that everything is distinctive enough that people will just know it’s us
BM: Almost like your brand in a way?
Will: Yeah, that’s what it is I suppose. I find that a little difficult to apply though, because it’s so pure to us and a brand seems so corporate. For us it’s like something that ties all of the elements together, rather than it being like a marketing thing.
BM: So you’ve just released your third EP Stranger, is there any plans for the release of a full album or any more music later this year?
Will: We can’t really talk about what we’re doing, we’re very secretive about those sorts of things. There’s only so much we want to talk about, and I feel like a lot of the time it doesn’t really aid the creative process to go into all the ins and outs- we’re not really about that whole giving people updates from the studio thing
BM: That’s cool though, it’s a whole air of mystery around the work that you’re doing
Hannah: Yeah, we like to keep it between ourselves, we like to keep the creative process quiet. We don’t like to give it away in drips and drabs, we like to be like ‘here you go’ when it’s all done
Will: If we were making a record right now, the campaign for that would be well thought out, very detailed and very elaborate. But I can’t say we’re doing right now, and it’s a credit to our audience as well! It’s an insult to their intelligence, how many bands can you go online right now and find out exactly what they’re doing? I find it a little trite and a little boring. For me, the best artists are the ones where you didn’t quite know everything about them
BM: So you’re trying to shake things up a bit about the way things are done?
Will: Yeah definitely. I think since about 2007 or something where everything went mental with social media, I feel like sometimes we share too much. And we’re guilty of it as well in our personal lives, but I think the air of mystery is good. My favourite bands are like AFI and The Alkaline Trio, and not knowing about what they were doing was the best part. Not knowing what you were going to get, I think that’s very special. That’s what differentiates this era of music and the early 2000s
BM: It’s really about what’s happening right now? Which brings the next question, you’re playing Camden Rocks next Saturday and then also at the Reading and Leeds festivals, are you excited for the shows this summer?
Will: Yeah, we always have a really nice time. We always get really drunk don’t we?
Hannah: We do, we’re all about getting drunk. I like to make everyone a cup of tea. Even when I’m drunk I’m quite sensible, and the end of the night I’m like ‘does anyone want a cup of tea!?’
Will: Hannah was always taking care of the bus, she could get really drunk and then in the morning she’d be up like washing up like ‘we need to sort this out guys’. If Hannah wasn’t there we’d be living in our own filth all the time!
Live photograph by Ian Collins