To their fans, Southampton’s Creeper are much more than a band.
Creeper is a cult, a community that wears the same uniform (the Callous Heart patch) and that brings together all manner of rock fans: metalheads, punks and hardcore kids, all drawn into Creeper’s dark and fully formed universe.
After three years of constant touring and releasing EPs, the band released their debut 'Eternity In Your Arms', an amalgamation of sinister theatrics and pop culture-influenced punk.
Clash chatted to frontman Will Gould about the influences that underpin their debut.
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Baz Luhrmann - Romeo + Juliet
Creeper is as fuelled visually by cinema as it is by bands and music. One of the core things that’s influenced the visual side of Creeper on this current record, is Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet, in particular the death scene from that film where the church is set out with all the neon crosses. That scene was really inspiring to us because it’s so iconic.
We’re trying to recreate that live but also we have a shot in our music video [for ‘Black Rain’] in which we dressed up almost shot for shot. We were trying to go for this neon-noir future and an updated version of our home city where it almost looked a bit like Bladerunner, it seemed like the neon crosses from Romeo + Juliet were a good way of introducing that.
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AFI – ‘The Art Of Drowning’
One band that’s clearly influenced the sound of the band is AFI. 'The Art Of Drowning' is one of my favourite records and it was one of the records I heard when I was a kid and I couldn’t believe there was just four people playing on the record. It was this incredible explosion of sound, it was so fast but so melodic at the same time. It had a intro, an outro – a grand finale, and it started off with one thing and over the course of the album tried to affect the listener and take them somewhere else instead.
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The influence for the Callous Heart patch: Disneyland gangs and The Lost Boys
I was in California before we started the band in Disneyland. The first time I went over there, there were all these Disneyland gangs that had back patches on their backs, like punks but families. I thought it was really cool that something you’d associate with a bike gang was being used in a fun, way and binding these people together.
The band got signed to Roadrunner and I said were going to have these back patches on the back of our jackets, like a gender neutral Lost Boys where anyone could join, like a positive gang something that would bind kids together again.
I’ve heard countless times that the back patch has brought this community together and I think that’s a really special and magical thing.
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Jim Steinman – 'Dance In My Pants'
Jim Steinman is a huge influence on this record. He proved how grand you can be on record, that all-encompassing sound. There’s a song, 'Down Below', on the record, it starts off like a Blondie song but by the end you’ve got this Jim Steinman like choir, and an over the top textuality to try and build it up slowly over the course of the song. [In Dance In My Pants] there’s this bit in the song which we pay tribute to on our song 'Suzanne'.
That’s a very direct influence on us that song, you can hear it clear as day.
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Jawbreaker – 'Dear You'
Jawbreaker were a scrappy punk band who were signed to a major label and made Dear You. They were completely slated for it by fans at the time because they’d sold out, but the record doesn’t sound like this pristine pop record at all, they could play fast and be snotty. The lyrics were always really clever and sad as well, they were not just heartbreak songs but songs about being pathetic, about real life, very smart, very well-read.
It’s one of my favourite records of all time and it’s a direct influence on this record because I can hear stylistically and lyrically the tone of what I’m singing about being very similar to those Jawbreaker songs.
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Creeper play Download Festival on June 10th.
Words: Dannii Leivers
For tickets to the latest Creeper shows click HERE.