In the perfect prelude to Halloween, our guest music blogger Verity Vincent went to Exeter’s Cavern club for it’s aptly named line up of Dead Frequency, Skeleton Frames and Creeper for a night infused with trick or treat sweets and even warm pasties on the bar. Yes, we were in Devon.
Before the gig we caught up with lead vocalist Will Gould and bassist Sean Scott from to have a chat about all things Creeper.
Tell us about this tour, how’s it been going?
Will: It’s been great, it’s the last night of the tour and it’s been quite a long one for us. Tonight’s a headline show but the rest of the shows have been with Frank Carter and The Rattle Snakes. We weren’t planning to go on tour again this year as our last one with Moose Blood was going to finish the year but Frank messaged us and asked us to come out, so you can’t really say no to that!
But it’s been good and we’ve learnt a lot on this tour. This year is all about us getting out there and playing and having as many amazing experiences as we can and I feel like with this tour everything that could happen – has happened. The Frank shows have been rowdy as hell. Frank is the nicest guy in the world, really softly spoken but when he’s on stage he’s mad as hell and the crowd are the same. Playing to them is not always what they’re expecting as we’re perhaps a bit more flamboyant! Black Coal were on the tour too so we got to know them really well.
We were opening up for the first time since January so we had to re-work the set to fit the crowd. We only got 30 minutes and we were used to doing a little bit more than that and doing a bit more of a closer. We’re a lot more theatrical than some of the other bands we play with and you can’t really do all that in an opening slot on a 3 band bill but it’s been really good, it’s really challenged us. I feel like we’ve come out the other side of it with not only a respect for Frank and his crowd but it’s made us give ourselves a bit more callus, and toughened us up a bit, it’s been really good.
So doing headline shows for you guys isn’t as much more pressure, but more freedom?
Will: We’re not a warm up act for anybody, if someone’s coming to a show they kinda know what they’re gonna see and we’ll do it all. Like tonight, we’re doing one of our closing songs and all the fun stuff in between but it seems a bit pretentious doing a big dramatic closing song when we’re opening a show, it didn’t feel like the right thing to do.
Sean: There’s expectations of what people know you’re meant to be doing in terms of your own set, there is that respect to those people who come to shows all the time that they want to see that. If we’re playing to a completely new crowd, you can expect people to stand around, maybe not liking it, their ideas are going to be different to the average person so you’ve got to maybe play into them a little bit more than you would do normally.
Will: And it’s not that we would ever change what we do to suit someone else, it just doesn’t always seem like the right thing to do. There’s one song we’ve been playing with a piano theme and it sounds like it could be from a musical, so if we ended a set on that when we were an opening band it just seems almost disrespectful for the bands that are playing after. It’s difficult going back to being an opening band and working out how we do that now with our new material but it’s been really fun to do it. I think half the point about doing that tour was to go out and challenge ourselves.
Did you find it similar when you toured with Misfits?
Will: It’s a very similar sort of thing but it’s something we couldn’t say no to again. We got the opportunity to do it and to be honest on the Misfits tour everybody there was wearing full makeup and a leather jacket and I was like – this is our crowd. So we did end with some of those big songs that we could get away with more on those particular shows. It didn’t seem as out of place for some reason. But that was really fun as well but a very similar sort of vibe you know, we’re proving ourselves and we’re cutting our teeth and it’s all about the experience for us.
You’re playing with Skeleton Frames and Dead Frequency tonight, have you heard much of them before or played with either of them?
Will: Yeah, our agent sends a list of suggestions basically of everyone available and we check them out and this is our first time playing with them but I’m always excited. One of the best things about being in a band, and one of the first reasons you get in a band is to find new music and check out new stuff and it always really interests me what’s going on in a city. I might end up bumping into everybody again, you never know. So when we do get to do headline shows, I think we’re quite privileged to do it anyway, but even more so to have other bands play with you we try to take as much interest in that as we can, so I’m really excited to see everybody today. See what Exeter’s got going on.
Is it interesting to see how the music scene differs from city to city?
Will: It really does! Some places have a really strong hardcore punk scene and sometimes there’s no punk scene at all. But because you come through they’re so grateful that a punk band have come there and they’ll come out to the show because there’s not a lot of it in the area. So yeah it’s really cool to see how it differs place to place.
Sean: We’ve been here twice this year with Bury Tomorrow and Bayside and the demographic for those crowds is so far apart in a way so it’s kind of like each time we’ve come we’ve had a different scope of the audience. We’ve had the heavier crowd, we’ve had the sort of nostalgic Bayside crowd and now we’ve got what could be more ours and catered to with those who are playing with us.
You released your Callous Heart EP on vinyl which sold out on your website, why do think that format has had such a surge in popularity again?
Will: When I was a kid and my parents divorced I remember my dad giving me a load of records so my first impression of owning music was holding something really tangible. So when I got more into music myself I bought CD’s and the whole thing was about going into town on a Saturday and flicking through CD’s and finding something new.
I think a big part of what we do is visual and our visuals are really important to us so we spend a lot of time working on those. Our band in particular translates very well to vinyl. It’s a large platform for our fans to interpret our band in an artistic sense in terms of something physical – something you can hold. But in terms of the medium itself, when mp3’s were happening and everyone was terrified that Napster was going to kill the internet, I think that was maybe ill-founded because people that care about music were always going to want to have something to hold.
When I’m at home and I look through my record collection, I’ll see something that I want to listen to and I might just put it on my phone straight away – but I’ve seen it and had a visual stimulus to do that. Imagery and visuals can define a band as well, when you see a logo or a tiny little nuance – or when people do a colour variant it’s such a bit deal to people because people like to hold it and it’s about ownership. I remember my dad had a Pink Floyd gatefold record and opening that up, it was already like going into another world, having something to explore in itself and read all the notes. When I was a kid it was about finding out what bands were thanked on the record to then pick up bands that inspired the bands I like. So I think that stuff absolutely has a place and it was always going to come back round again. It’s why people are selling tapes now. You can laugh at it and say its retro or just a fad but I really don’t think that records will be. CD’s have gone now because you can have an audio download in great quality and play it right then and there and have the record for something to collect at the same time – that’s why most records come with download codes.
Sean: I think a lot of people don’t see a value in a CD for the money that it’s priced at, but with vinyl you get a bigger thing to hold or even with 7 inches, there’s more artwork, it looks like more time and thought has gone into it than the average person will see in a CD. On a wider scope, majority of people will see music as a service not a product. The may not think a lot of time has gone into the artwork or a CD booklet, whereas when you see a big vinyl that actually looks, like Will said, like art, you can frame them and have them on your wall, and have the download there as well.
Will: I think there’s something really romantic about it as well; going to a gig and picking up records and taking them home. It’s literally picking up piece of that music and taking it home with you, I think that’s something that will never die. Taking a record over to your friend’s house in a tote bag – that’s timeless.
There’s something about the sound as well isn’t there, it’s almost more tangible?
Will: Absolutely, it reminds me of being a kid because of my parents but I think that’s what I like about it, it my head the bands that I’m into, would have some relevance to my dad. Sending one of my records to my dad and him going “Oh! You’re in a band!” because he recognises that as music and something he would’ve got when he was a kid and I think that’s really cool. And the sound quality, absolutely.
Sean: It aids an artist as well, someone I always buy on record is Lana Del Ray, although she’s seen to be in a very contemporary music world, her sound is slightly of an older generation, it’s a very 50’s / 60’s influence. So if you’ve got that added thing of a crack or a slide of the needle going through a groove, you can’t get that with an MP3 pristine link.
Will: It’s almost ritualistic; you have to invest that time into it. Music can start to seem disposable to people. I remember Dave Hause once said he didn’t want to be on a record that was locked in someone’s hard drive and forgotten about forever, lost in time.
Knowing that someone would take the time to buy your record, unwrap it, put the needle across – that may not seem like a lot but we live in a world where people will click and play something for 5 seconds and then cross it off on Facebook. For someone to invest that time in 2015 when there is not time for anything, that’s really special.
You’ve been touring a lot! When it comes to recording do you take time out for that or try and juggle it on the road?
Will: In terms of records, we tend to keep what we’re doing very quiet and on the down low on purpose. As a band we like to make something and then present it when it’s done. Some bands I know like to record diaries but it’s not really our thing at all. Behind the scenes is something that only half interests me. I don’t like the idea of someone being in the studio with a camera or constantly doing updates like “recording drums today”. With our band the appeal is to escape for a minute, to see something different, to find something in it that makes them think of another time or place. They want that nostalgia, that performance. What good does it do to walk round the back of Disneyland, who wants to do that? And that’s exactly how I feel about it. I’m not comparing our records to Disneyland! But in a way I think that we set the stage, we play in character and with the conviction that those songs need. The process of it may seem quite boring of it, quite mundane.
This time, we were recording in the day and doing festivals in the evenings. We didn’t want to slow down and take away from touring, but at the same time, we needed to record.
What’s next year looking like for you? More of the same?
Will: We’re going out on tour with our friends Neck Deep in the UK and round Europe, we’ve doing some of the biggest things we’ve done with this band, playing spaces like the London Forum it’s a dream come true for us. There’s a venue in Southampton – the Guildhall and we used to go to gigs there growing up and seeing that we’re main support in that venue we get to do all the theatrical stuff we dreamed of doing, it’s gonna be great.
We’re away a lot next year, putting out new music and having great new visual ideas already. It’s going a be a busy and hectic one! We take pride in our work and just try to work as hard as we can. It means a lot to us and we sacrifice everything to do it. We get things in place so we can just hit the ground with it in 2016.
In line with The Horror Issue, are you horror fans?
Will: Yeah! I mean in particular there’s a film called Phantom of the Paradise – i don’t know if you’d call it a horror film as such but it’s a play on Phantom of the Opera and there’s a great scene where the main character gets his head caught in a record press. It’s kind of Halloweeny I guess!
Sean: We went to the Pleasure Beach the other day and we had a moment that was like that scene from The Exorcist. Ian our guitarist is really into exorcism films and there’s a section of the Pasaje Del Terror where there’s a girl on the bed and you’re thinking – she’s gonna wake up in a minute and do something scary and then all of a sudden she does and chases you out of the room. So not only have we been watching those kinds of films with Halloween coming up, we kind of lived it a little bit too!
After continuing to chat about our horror icons and fancy dress, it was show time.
Daventry based Dead Frequency kicked things off with some classic punk rock, mixing their catchy original tracks with a little Green Day cover to warm up the crowd. Lead singer Matt threw himself into a high energy set and even got a mini circle pit of 6 people on the go.
Next up was local band Skeleton Frames. A mix of 90’s grunge and heavy guitars saw the indie rock band prove themselves popular with the night’s crowd.
Lead singer Emily Isherwood will either enchant you with her introverted demeanour, or just annoy you for keeping her eyes shut and frequently sitting on the floor throughout their set. Their music though, can’t be faulted.
Creeper treated fans to songs old and new with tracks taken from recent release Callous Heart, right through to their first EP, including anthem The Honeymoon Suite and the beautifully theatrical Novena. After a pretty magical set, I’d urge anyone to join the Creeper Cult.