“We’ve Never Done This Before!” Crawlers On Their Debut Album

Liverpool rebel-rousers sit down with Clash...

Following their rapid rise in success since 2022, aided by TikTok drawing in all the hype to single ‘Come Over (Again)’, Crawlers succeed in establishing their signature grunge sound further and back up their buzz on dark but delightful debut album ‘The Mess We Seem To Make’. 

The four-piece have been hailed by their youthful core fanbase for reviving the nostalgia of early 2000’s pop-punk artists such as Avril Lavigne and merging it with a modernised-grunge edge. Speaking to Clash ahead of the release of their debut album, the band express a multitude of emotions. It’s a “little bit of excitement… little bit of nervousness… I feel sick in my mouth thinking too much about it to be honest,” describes guitarist Amy Woodall. “We’ve never done this before… it’s our debut album and it’s so fresh, we are lucky to be at the point we are at without an album but now it kicks in like… oh shit we’re real musicians now,” adds front-person of the group Holly Minto. 

Whilst Crawlers opt to define their debut album as cementing them as “real musicians”, their huge following of fans – who spent summer trailing to watch them take the stages of festivals all over the country – would certainly argue the humble quartet are already very real, serious and successful musicians. Indeed, ‘The Mess We Seem To Make’ serves as further backing as to why the band have curated such a huge hype around themselves so early on in their career. 

Crawlers took things steady on their discovery to find their fully-fledged, signature sound releasing a series of singles before approaching the release of their ‘Loud Without Noise’ EP in 2022. Lead singer Holly Minto adapted on Crawlers’ strategy in doing so, commenting: “I think we really needed to find our feet and not rush into anything and I’m really proud of us that we didn’t just go.. ‘oh shit we need to get the debut album out’. We tried out different producers, different writing methods until we were ready to craft the debut and we needed those trials and tribulations to find out who Crawlers are”.

One of the producers mentioned by Minto happens to be none other than Pete Robertson of British indie cult classic band The Vaccines. What was it that was so special about Robertson’s production that Crawlers opted to work with him on every single song within their debut album? “We clicked straight away… he brings the best out of us and we bring the best out him” urges guitarist Amy Woodall without any hesitation. “He’s the fifth Crawler” continues bassist Liv Kettle honouring Robertson as a crucial component of the band and an essential force within the creation of debut album: ‘The Mess We Seem To Make’. 

When asked how the band’s collaboration with Pete came about Minto told a rather remarkable story showcasing that this partnership was one that was simply meant to be “I was listening to ‘Sorry’ by beabadoobee and I loved the production of the song being raw and grungy but standing in a modern testament and that was what we wanted for ‘Come Over (Again)’… our manager just said ‘Pete Robertson. Let’s just try’… we played the song for Pete and he just went ‘I fucking love this demo’.” 

The rest was history for the creative dream team – Robertson seemingly as infatuated with working with Crawlers as they were with the magic he added to their tracks. “He came to Liverpool for the demo… that never happens. People always want you to go to them in London. After the EP our label urged us to try other people, we even tried some of our dream producers but we just knew with the debut it had to be with Pete. He helped unlock this sound within us but he also said that we helped him too and now it’s so amazing to watch the kind-of dad of Crawlers to go do other projects with other artists using what he’s learnt from working with us”. 

Single ‘Come Over (Again)’ which finds itself right in the middle of ‘The Mess We Seem To Make’ acted as not only as the catalyst for Crawlers’ TikTok spread craze but simultaneously as the first sense of creative direction for the band’s debut album as the first song the alt four-piece worked on with beloved production partner, Chris Robertson. The single also fittingly slots within the story ‘The Mess We Seem To Make’ goes onto portray. “I think ‘Come Over (Again) ensured the story we wanted tell. The story the album tells incorporates ideas of grief, yearning, growing up, frustration… ‘Come Over (Again) slots into that idea of grief” explains Holly Minto. 

‘The Mess We Seem To Make’ grasps it’s namesake from Crawlers’ single ‘That Time Of Year Always’ making for some confusion amongst fans as to why the track had been left off of the album; however like everything in Crawlers’ creative world, there was a calculated reason for this. Minto goes on to emphasise: “We were originally thinking of including songs like ‘Messiah’ and ‘That Time Of Year Always’ but decided they felt like more of a prologue for the album. Those singles were almost our version of what The Hobbit is to The Lord Of The Rings, setting up this story for us as adults looking back on the mess which we make”.

One of the unique facets of Crawlers’ songwriting is their specific way of narrating their own coming-of-age experiences in a way that their fan-base of, predominantly, queer adolescents are able to resonate with. Minto reveals the trick to enhancing this relatability within the group’s storytelling lyrics is “being honest but ambiguous”. “That’s accidentally become the Crawlers’ ethos” they went onto state, before zooming in onto the themes of the topics Crawlers focus on. “We cover a lot of traumatic topics that are a big part of our lives and very emotive but there’s a way of speaking about it that conveys the emotion but almost doesn’t say exactly what happened to allow listeners to grab ahold of that and apply it to their own lives”. 

With the band describing the recording process of their debut album as being such a positive experience, it was only right to get into the juicier details fans will be yearning for answers to such as whether the members having any secret favourite songs on the album and what they happen to be. Amy Woodall opts for ‘I End Up Alone’ – upbeat pop-rock track favouring synths amongst bursts of 2000s punky guitar – whilst Liv Kettle went for ‘Better If I Just Pretend’, a dingier track which showcases a grittier guitar and a more raw edge.

Bass-heavy and more mellow song littered with lots of lyrical yearning and the angst which aids Crawlers’ resonance with teenagers was the track of choice for drummer, Harry Been. Frontier of the alternative four-piece, Holly Minto decided on ‘Hit It Again’ a sensual but darker, fast paced headbanger which has seemingly been favoured by fans additionally since the album’s recent release. 

Like a lot of bands, Crawlers’ fanbase – or “Crawlies” as the band call them – really do seem to be at the heart of everything the band do. It creates more of a communal discussion as the band describe songs from the album which they love but go onto say that the feedback on certain album tracks has already been made apparent by fans at the run of live in-store shows they’ve been embarking on up and down the UK. “We’ve noticed ‘Kills Me To Be Kind’ is one of the songs fans have been screaming at our shows recently,” Minto explains, before Kettle chips in “I didn’t expect that… it’s good feedback for us though!”

Excitement extends beyond the release of Crawlers’ debut album and opening up for their heroes as 2024 will also see them return to the main stage at Leeds and Reading Festival, snagging a sort-after spot on the stacked lineup. Leeds festival specifically has a special place in the heart of Crawlers, drummer, Harry Keen discovering his desire to drum whilst watching Travis Barker from Blink-182 drum at Leeds Festival: “I’d never had any inclination to be a drummer until that point and now we’re playing main stage there this year on the same line-up as Blink-182.”

Crawlers will take to the stage on a varied day of the line-up including Liam Gallagher and Catfish and The Bottlemen. “I have been thinking they’ll be quite a lot of indie lads there on our day who don’t like there being women on the lineup who get more pussy than they do,” Holly Minto states with a smirk whilst breaking into bursts of laughter. Holly goes on to credit indie artists for being “the reason we wanted to be in a band… as much as we maybe don’t fit in the indie scene there’s so many bands such as Catfish, The 1975, Arctic Monkeys and Oasis that we look up to.” 

Minto then went onto describe the band’s mindset in dealing with differing demographics they may encounter on the main stage: “I love going into things with a point to prove and I think us going onto a stage of indie icons with a predominantly queer fanbase and sort of this emo-alternative vibe about us, I believe we’ll put on an amazing show and I really want indie lads to go ‘oh they were alright them Crawlers actually’… that’s the goal!”

‘The Mess We Seem To Make’ is out now.

Words: Lauren Hague
Photography: Rachel Lipsitz // @littletrousers

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