BIG IN 2016
As 2016 opens its doors, we’ll make sure you’re properly briefed on the acts who will dominate the next twelve months. Not that our good chums Creeper will need any introduction.
Words: Ali Shutler.
Creeper set out to play Southampton’s Joiners a few times and make some records for fun. Somewhere along the line they’ve galvanised a committed and growing fanbase, signed a record deal and been heralded as the Next Big Thing. Their journey has been “shocking” – in the band’s own words – but the South Coast mob are more focused on penning the next chapter than changing the world.
Speaking from West Quay, as featured in ‘The Honeymoon Suite’ video and the weekends of Southampton’s youth, frontman Will Gould is excited. “It’s been a crazy year. More’s changed that you could possibly imagine,” he starts. Gifted time away from the front line, Creeper have finally had a chance to process 2015. “Fucking hell, that was mad,” is the general summary. Last year saw the band achieve all their dreams. This year sees them with new ones.
“2016 is a crazy year for us. We’re going to be away so much,” he teases. Kicking things off supporting State Champs and Neck Deep on “the poshest tour” they’ve ever done, Creeper have their eyes on pastures new. “Nice big rooms and we’re all going to share a bus. Me and the Creeper boys aren’t used to that world. We’ve been trying to work out how to do our show on a big stage. We’re going to be playing to kids who have never heard of us before. As soon as you play with these bigger bands, you get a mix of kids but it’s going to be really, really fun to do those shows. We’ve got all these theatrical ideas for it.”
In amongst that tour, which will also take Creeper to Europe for the first time, the band will be heading out on their first ever headline run as well as taking on a show at Southampton Guildhall. “Growing up, I went to all the shows there. It’s absolutely mad because Ian [Miles, guitar] and I would never think one of our bands would get to play there. We never thought of ourselves playing big stages like that. All of our dreams, dreams that were more daydreams, are coming true.” A rare pause. “All of our wildest daydreams are slowly becoming real,” he repeats, rolling the words around his mouth. “It’s weird,” Will laughs.
The three months between the band’s Halloween homecoming and their “biggest show to date” in Birmingham this February is the longest break the band have taken, but they’re not returning empty-handed. There’s a bombastic new EP on the way. Yup, Will drops the b-word but if anyone can pull it off, it’s Creeper. “It’s a sequel to ‘The Callous Heart’ and introduces a new character, The Stranger, to the fray. It matches the ambition, if not takes it a little further than our last record.” After two structurally similar EPs, this new record is “completely different.”
With a “really bombastic” intro that Will is still “really wrapped up in,” the band’s third record nods to High School Musical, REM, The Bouncing Souls, Explosions In The Sky and Jim Steinman while also being self-referential. The record also includes a song that is “really involved in the concept. It wraps it all up,” as well as one of Will’s favourite ever tracks and “one of the hardest, fastest songs,” the band have ever written. “I’m really excited about it. It’s rich with ideas and really different for us.”
However you paint it, Creeper are a punk band. There’s only one way they’re ever going to do things and that’s their way. However, there’s a passionate, enthusiastic audience waiting at the door. “Although I’d argue that we’d always do what we wanted to do anyway, the fact that people were so responsive to us, and so nice about ‘The Callous Heart’, it did give us encouragement. We’re all very awkward and anxious. Even though we shrug it off and say we don’t give a shit, you always worry that what you’re doing sucks. It was such a sweet reaction though, we weren’t prepared for that.
“I think I’ve said that line so many times (Creeper bingo players, take note – Ed) but we just weren’t prepared at all. We were always completely blown away by the response and it meant we could justify a lot of the decisions we were about to make with this new record. It’s meant that we can kick everything up a gear and be really, really confident in what we’re doing. I have full confidence in all my friends in this band, in everything they do and every idea they come in with.”
Not only has 2015 allowed Creeper the confidence to fully explore every one of their fairytale ideas, it’s also gifted them a shared vision to create. “We’ve learnt a lot about how we like to write songs. In the past Ian and I would write a song, bring it to the band and they’d flesh it out for us. This time we came in with skeletons of ideas and the whole band would put it all into one piece. That’s been really fun and we’re all just having a really good time.”
“Slowly, something’s really happening at the moment,” offers Will. It would appear Creeper are beginning to catch up to their impact. “We’re in such a good creative space at the moment and there were a number of years where Ian and I just weren’t. It’s difficult to turn it on when you do anything creative and I think that’s why bands make crappy records sometimes. You have to make records because you’re a band, it’s what you do but if you’re not in the right place to do it then it sucks. That’s always my nightmare.” Don’t worry though, for Creeper it’s dreams all the way.
“We’re very lucky at the moment, we’re always very inspired and we’ve got a lot we want to get done. We’ve got a lot of songs we want to write. We want to keep this momentum going and keep playing. We’re really just having the time of our lives with this band and trying not to take anything for granted. We’re just like excited little kids about everything, all the time. I can’t wait for people to hear this new thing we’ve got going on, and we’ve got even more going on that we can’t talk about. We just want to keep doing what we’re doing. That’s the plan and this year it goes up. It all gets cranked up in quite a significant way.”