If you don’t already know about Creeper, the chances are you probably will soon. Based in Southampton, Creeper are a five-piece punk band and have enjoyed a rapid rise to fame over the last year since their formation in 2014 after the demise of their previous bands Our Time Down Here and Hang The Bastard. Having recently signed with the coveted Roadrunner Records, the band will embark on a world tour next spring. As I was sitting in my cold university house waiting for Warner Music representatives to patch me through to Will Gould, their enigmatic front man, I did not know what to expect.
“In life, you live for the first 20 years and you have to die for the 50 after.”
The first striking feature about Gould is his surprise at Creeper’s success and his modesty about it. As he talks about his band’s rise to prominence, he describes signing to Roadrunner Records, home to huge names such as Slipknot, Slash and Killswitch Engage as “an odd one”, explaining that when they first formed the band they never thought they would be doing more than a couple of shows, let alone signing to a Warner Bros. Music Label and going on a World Tour! “It all happened a bit out of the blue”, he laughs, talking about being spotted by Roadrunner Records after headlining a show, “we’re idiots really, we don’t know how to get signed to a label!”
Throughout the interview Gould describes the whole process numerous times as “natural and organic”. They had no trouble finding band members, they were familiar with Roadrunner Records growing up and had friends already working at the label, so trusted them not to compromise their creative output. He tells me very assertively that they were never aiming to be in this position and that the last few months had been a whirlwind. Creeper are making the music they want to make and not being forced by their label to change. And their fans are loving it. Their sound is fast, melodic punk, taking influences from the DIY Punk Community, horror bands, heavy metal, early-My Chemical Romance and other artists including David Bowie. Creeper’s sound is not heavy punk, but aims to “mix flamboyance and snarl”. Gould and his co-writers are interested in the “death of time periods” and their lyrics are based on themes of “growing up and finality”. He references David Bowie telling me that in life, “you live for the first 20 years and you have to die for the 50 after.”
“We’ve never compromised artistic output to get anywhere and have always made records that were true and sincere.”
Gould goes on and says Creeper’s latest E.P., Callous Heart, is loosely based on Peter Pan and the story had a lot of relevance to him and Ian Miles, their guitarist, because the two of them had been “running away from their responsibilities”. He jokes, “we were like a weird gang…so the Lost Boys made a lot of sense.” Gould continues to explain how they play at festivals, wait for the headline band to go on stage then steal all their beer. Although he wouldn’t tell me which bands!
It is clear that they are making music for themselves and it is just a bonus that other people are enjoying it. This kind of attitude is incredibly refreshing in a world of heavily commercialised music. I ask him about what he thought of many reviewers tipping Creeper to have huge success and he quipped back “we try our hardest to not listen to what people are saying because most of them didn’t give a shit about us a year ago,” but stresses that they would want people to always say that they “never compromised [their] artistic output to get anywhere and always made records that were true and sincere.” As a musician I sympathise a lot with this. It seems that, for Gould, doing justice to themselves as artists comes first over getting paychecks for record label, an enviable quality for a band to have.
Creeper played a headline show at the Cavern in Exeter on 29 October with local grungers Skeleton Frames, and Northampton glam punks Dead Frequency supporting.