Creeper's Will Gould is in your Rock Sound 50. We sat down with him to discuss what it's like being a role model.
HOW MUCH HAS CHANGED FOR YOU SINCE THE RELEASE OF ‘ETERNITY, IN YOUR ARMS’?
“We’ve had a lot of life-affirming moments. Every time I see someone with a Creeper tattoo I think, ‘Oh my god, these are words that me and my friends have written, and they’ve etched them on themselves forever!’
"Ultimately it comes down to the kids who’ve found a safe place at our shows. With a song like ‘I Choose To Live’, they’ve already taken it and made it into something bigger. When I’m onstage and that chorus kicks in, it’s like a bolt of electricity shooting through me. It’s almost tangible magic.”
THERE’S SUCH A TIGHT-KNIT COMMUNITY AROUND THE BAND – WAS BUILDING THAT YOUR INTENTION ALL ALONG?
“I think the community aspect is what we’re proudest of, overall. We all come from punk rock in the first place, and the whole idea was the community we found, the sense of belonging getting involved with that.
"Having something like that ourselves, people getting together just because of one band, that’s more than we could ever ask for. People are coming from all different backgrounds, coming to shows and going on all these forums. They look after each other as well. It’s something we’re part of, but not something we’ve made.
"I feel like there was an absence of this sort of community for some time in the alternative scene, and I never for a second thought we’d be the ones to pull something like that together. To hear hundreds of people singing something with such a positive message together has absolutely become the goal of the band.
"In a world on fire, where everyone’s being divided more and more every day, it’s important that people have somewhere to go and feel like they’re part of something. This is a world that people can escape into. People are dressing up like the characters from our videos and coming to shows… they can completely lose themselves.”
SO THE VISUAL AND CONCEPTUAL ASPECTS ALL TIE INTO THAT?
“Absolutely. A lot of bands come onstage and say they’re being really truthful, but what they’re really giving you is a pantomime version of honesty.
"We’re promising you something really over the top and theatrical, but embedded in it is something very sincere. The idea of Creeper was… we’d been doing hardcore bands through our youth. Instead of doing something that was angry and straight up, sulking about our everyday lives, we wanted to tackle those problems in a different way.
"There’s a magic to putting on David Bowie’s ‘Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars’, and to some small extent we can provide that for people now. Wherever we go there are people there supporting us, sometimes hours before we’re even at a venue! It’s more than just a fandom, it’s become a little phenomenon. The people who get it really understand it. And my god, there’s nothing worse than not being divisive!”
WHERE DID THOSE IDEAS COME FROM?
“The references we’re pulling from are often bands from days gone by. The whole thing of promoting the album by ‘disappearing’ and all that that came from being unhappy with the way alternative scene bands were doing things.
"I hate to say it, but I feel like over the last ten years in the UK, we’ve had some really bad excuses for rock bands. For some of them it seemed more about being a rock star than creating something with any vision. The way we looked at it was, that’s what they’re doing, so we’ll do the opposite. Setting things up meticulously and building all these different websites, the clues and then the complete silence, the idea was that by being silent, we were making more noise than the other bands shouting about their records!
"We were trying to let the audience discover it for themselves. It was so exciting. I’d never put our band in the realms of something original, we’re a group of people ‘magpieing’ together different styles, but so were all of my favourite musicians. We’re still trying to create something fresh, that people haven’t seen before. We’ve even made paranormal investigators’ badges and a shirt with the missing poster on it. We want to challenge people, to not do something boring. It’s a really cool vessel for storytelling.”
HAS YOUR APPROACH TO THE BAND EVOLVED MUCH SINCE YOU STARTED?
“We’re doing everything ourselves still, applying that same DIY mentality while essentially being on a major label.
"The more involved I’ve got in the alternative music industry, the more I’ve realised there’s this blueprint people follow to get signed and make the band bigger. Getting bigger and getting signed, those weren’t things we thought would happen to us anyway, so we never tried to make them happen. It’s happened very organically.
"There’s very little to believe in sometimes, and we have a lot of bad role models playing the part of rock stars. People deserve more.”
This interview is adapted from the Rock Sound 50 issue of Rock Sound. You can pick up a copy below...