If you’ve ever had the pleasure of seeing Creeper perform live, you’ll know immediately why they’ve been included on our Ones To Watch list 2016. The sheer amount of energy that comes from the Southampton gloom punks on stage could probably power a small city and their ever increasing army of fans sing along to every word like it was written about their own lives. At the forefront of the madness is lead singer Will Gould. Will came to hang out in our office for the afternoon and we had a chat about how it feels to be in one of the most exciting rock bands in the UK.
Something you’ll notice if you go to Creeper gig is that it’s a very welcoming experience. Everyone in the crowd seems to be on the same level as the band and vice versa. There’s no room for rock stars and pretention at a Creeper show. I want to know if that’s something that the band themselves have tried hard to intentionally create. “I don’t think we cultivate it,” Says Will, “We’re all from the DIY punk community. The whole, having no barrier, doing floor shows and having the band on the same page as the audience and there being no hierarchy intended in terms of who was at the show and having no barrier between those two. It’s always been something we’ve always very naturally had.”
I always feel like the mark of a truly great band, is when their shows feel personal and intimate in whatever the venue they’re playing in. It’s obvious when a band is disconnected from the audience and it’s not the case that this is entirely related to venue size. Why do their fans such a connection to Creeper? “A lot of the people who come see our shows these days, even though they’re younger than us are exactly as we were when we were kids, in college or whatever and they’re exactly the same people as we were,” Will explains. “We get these weird different demographics of people coming to see us, from all different sorts of backgrounds and it’s really cool. We never really sat down and thought to do that as such, it came without trying. All the bands we’ve ever done were bands for everyone and not for a specific group.”
One of the things most interesting about Creeper is how there’s an aesthetic running throughout everything the band does. The Callous Heart logo, became synonymous with the band as a symbol that they wear on the back of their jackets on stage, on tour posters, as the name of their second EP and as a t-shirt design. It’s something that resonated so strongly with the bands fans that before they released an official patch, fans would buy the t-shirt, cut out the logo and sew it onto jackets themselves. “People responded to it really strongly. It’s cool to have something that marks the sort of people we are and the sort of values we have. I think it’s really cool if you’re walking down the street and you’ve got a patch jacket and you saw someone else wearing the callous heart you might say hey or give them a knowing glance,” says Will.
This is something that’s clearly thought about a lot by the band. Giving fans the chance to identify with each other and become part of something bigger than themselves, “I think every time we do something, we’re always trying to make it serve a purpose. For example, say we have a t-shirt and that comes along with a record as part of a bundle. We look at that and say, right, putting a t-shirt along with a record that seems like a ploy to make money out of our fans and people who like our band. We didn’t want to do that. So we found a way to incorporate it in our videos. For example, the Bad Luck Charm t-shirt, which is a lyric from one of the songs. It didn’t say Creeper on the front of it on purpose. I would wear it each night on stage. It’s the start of us trying to make our march seem more like a prop from a film, that’s really immersive. I think with our band, if you just wanna listen to us casually, just put a song on and that’s as far as it goes for you that’s fine, but if you wanted to look more into it you’d find there’s lots of stuff we’ve hidden, small attention to details that you’d have to really squint to notice.”
This kind of commitment to every little detail in their band has put Creeper in a fantastic position going into 2016. They have a support slot on Neck Deep’s huge UK and European dates booked in, as well as a headline run in February and March. Their London show had to be hastily upgraded after tickets flew out in 24 hours. New EP The Stranger is out in February and you get the sense that a debut album won’t be far behind.
My time with Will ends abruptly when someone starts playing ‘Let’s Dance’, by the now late David Bowie on full blast in the room next door. One of Will’s favourite artists, who he talks to me passionately about, it feels like a good time to end.