OPENmind / SATURATEDbrain (openmindsaturatedbrain.blogspot.com) spoke with the band CREEPER from Toronto through a smokey haze around a picnic table before their show with Ed Hochuli on July 27th, 2013. The following is a humorous and honest look at a band transitioning from simply having a good time, to having the maturity to be self-aware of their importance and abilities as a band. Enjoy, and watch those embedded video links. Check the distro here for CREEPER products.
C - Colin (guitar/backing vocals)
B - Braeden (guitar)
L - Leo (drums)
R - Rob (vocals)
Drew - not present (bass)
Zach - former member (vocals/bass)
OMSB - Please explain how you chronologically joined the band.
C – At first we had another vocalist, but we didn’t start playing until around the time that Braedan joined, and then we went on 2 years or so where it was like that and then Zack decided that he just wanted to do vocals.
B - We did 3 tours with Zack, so it must have been 3 years.
C - Yeah, so 3 years like that. And then Zach decided that he just wanted to do vocals so he could concentrate more on that, I guess, or whatever. And then he did that for a little bit, and then he quit. So we got Drew when he stopped playing bass. Drew is…not here. When Zach actually left the band about 3 or 4 months ago (said july 27, 2013) and then he joined.
B - And here we are today.
C - And there’s the 5 of us.
OMSB - So it’s been what, 5 years this summer?
C - Yeah about 5 years.
L - I think we started the band right around January.
B - Fuck this is 6, because this is 5 for me now.
L – We started the year that fucking the New York Giants upset the Patriots. That’s how we remember it. It was like 3 weeks after we started jamming.
C - We finished jamming and then that happened.
OMSB - I know where I was when your band started.
L – I remember watching that and we were like, “holy fuck, that actually happened – we should have played ProLine.”
OMSB – That must have paid at least 6 bucks.
L – Fuck. We could have made money.
OMSB - Was the demo recorded with the core instrumental guys?
C – Yeah, the Creeper demo and the 7” was the four of us…so that would have been me, Braedan, Leo and Zack. Zack was doing bass and vocals on those records.
B – And all the other splits and shit. Everything before this new record was the four of us.
C – Even this, Zach played bass and did vocals on the recording. So we wrote the songs with the intention of him doing bass and vocals and then he just kind of decided that there was too much vocal action for him to be able to play and sing at the same time and he just decided to back away and just do vocals. But that was while we were recording or maybe even afterward.
B – No, that happened when we were in the studio. We recorded and Drew chilled with us in the studio and we said, guess what, you’re playing bass for us now.
OMSB - So how’d you get this guy? Or maybe he should tell the story? (OMSB motions to Rob)
L – Well, Zach kind of left and…fuck, we were like, we gotta find someone for vocals.
B – Rob is the only possible replacement .
L – Yeah nobody else made sense. We weren’t gonna put ads up, “Who wants to try out?” Cuz that would be weird. I don’t know. I’ve known this guy since high school.
C – He’s been in a few bands and stuff before that we liked.
R – Yeah I haven’t done vocals in a band in probably…3 years. At least 3 years probably.
OMSB - Did it take you awhile to get your voice back? When I scream I lose it for the first couple weeks and then I’m okay.
(band) - Still looking for it.
B – Yeah he can’t find it yet.
R – I’m there…I’m getting there.
OMSB – You sounded fine last concert, but maybe you were hurtin’ the next day.
R – Honestly, it hasn’t been affecting me that much. It’s been good. It’s kinda like…the old muscles are getting back into use, so it’s kinda working out. It was good - what, I hadn’t done vocals in 3 years and I was pretty unsure about if I wanted to join because I liked the band so much. I didn’t know if I wanted to join a band I liked.
C – Awww.
R – And then, yeah we practiced and it was fun.
B – You got the twitter password and that was it.
OMSB - How has your music progressed over the last 4 years up to and including this record, and now past since Rob joined the band.
B – In a word – downhill.
OMSB – Do explain.
B - I don’t know. Every batch of material that we write has been different. It’s all relative to what we’re listening to at the time. You know what I mean?
L – I don’t listen to hardcore anymore. Like I stopped listening to it. So whenever we write it’s like, oh, cool, I can actually play something hardcore now. And these guys will show me the parts and then I’ll come in but I’m trying to keep the drums as simple as possible but still fucked up so I don’t get bored. (laughter) And just more, like, we’re trying to simplify it and kinda listen to what it sounds like as opposed to when we first started writing and it was like a bunch of cool parts thrown together - but it’s not technically a song.
OMSB – Yeah I hear bands say that all the time.
C – That’s what hardcore is, right? We just mash riffs together a lot more than we do now.
B – Well, it’s like a little bit different. It’s actually songwriting now as opposed to before it was just like, hey, that riffs really loud and that riffs really heavy, so let’s…
L – I’d say now we’re more open to certain riffs that are longer and have less of them, as opposed to trying to cram in a bunch of riffs.
OMSB - So how was the writing process, then? Did you guys literally say, “No. That doesn’t work.”?
L – To be completely honest, it’s been a lot of me and him (gestures to Braedan) kinda back and forth and then we teach the guys the songs. Right now it’s just been working and it’s easiest because we can’t jam that much … so when the five of us get together and start writing it’s kind of just like, a lot of ideas thrown around and it’s kinda fucked. You know? And nothing really gets done. But if someone comes to me with 3 riffs already written, then it’s like, at least there’s some progress being made. You know?
B - I think part of the thing is we all listen to very different stuff – like I mean we’re all into some of the same bands and that’s how we all came together but we all listen to really different stuff on our own. Which on one hand makes it really interesting in terms of writing because it’s like the people around you are hearing something entirely different than what you hear with it. Which is a nice change but like it throws on what’s going on but at the same time it means you have 5 different influences coming in and being like, “I’m hearing it that way and it works but someone else is hearing it another way and it doesn’t work,” so it’s like pros and cons, you know?
C – Yeah we all, aside from Leo who pretty much only listens to pop-punk at this point, (laughter, “and house music/stuff now and again”) we all listen to vastly different styles of heavy music. Like way, way different.
B – Heavy music has such a wide range of stuff now. There’s rock and roll bands that just are way heavier than any hardcore band that’s coming out.
OMSB - I teach a lot of Korean students, in Korea, and they only know rock music and heavy metal so trying to explain to them the kind of music that I like and the kind of music that you play, they wouldn’t understand because they literally have no words to describe it.
B – I don’t think that’s specific to Korea. Try to talk to your parents why you enjoy going on tour and why, you know, you take a night off work to go play a show in someone’s loft for 40 kids – there’s no way to explain that to the generation before us. Well, maybe not the generation before us, but our parent’s generation.
C - Anybody who isn’t involved…
B – It’s really hard to explain the sense of community that this is more than just people going to a concert and being in a band there’s nothing glamorous about it – you know. It’s not like in the 80s when you could go drive in your truck and buy a loaf of bread for like 75 cents. You know? It’s like it’s a different ballgame now and hardcore has become so media friendly – I don’t know how to explain it. It’s like what’s going on with with what Tooth and Nail and Victory and shit like that - what they are putting out, it’s still commercially driven. It’s still like – it’s pop music but with breakdowns and stuff and that wouldn’t have flown at all in terms of the mentality of the group in the 80s and 90s.
L – There’s so much shit music. It’s fucking retarded. You can cut that out.
OMSB – No, no, no – I want to get back to that, I just wanted to say quickly though, I remember when Alexisonfire…
L – I was gonna say man, “Pulmonary Archery” man, that’s what it is. Right? Like… - Dude, that video changed my life.
B – Actually that video was what got me into hardcore.
C – It’s still a phenomenal record.
R – I don’t think you could have grown up in the GTA area or the golden horseshoe and like 80s 90s? and it not affect you. I know that’s ridiculous. I heard what they are now and their singles are on the radio now and I didn’t even know it because it was like a cover of a Midnight Oil song. And I was like, Holy shit, this is Alexisonefire? Everybody that I know though, it’s that first Alexisonfire album that did it.
L – Yeah the first 2 albums are like…
R – Yeah, anything with that original group –
L – Yeah, with Jesse or whatever… yeah, great album, man.
C – Yeah, life-changer.
B – “Counterparts and Number Them”
L – It was weird to be into this after being into New Found Glory for like, ever you know and it’s like – Alexisonfire came out, Boys Night Out came out and I was just like, holy fuck, this is weird but I like it. And after that I just went on to hardcore bands. I think that’s how everyone gets into it – you gotta ease yourself into it.
B – It’s like you were saying – it was really weird that that band obtained any sort of commercial or mainstream success but I think in a lot of ways that affected a lot of us because that first album came out when we were, what, 14, 15, something like that – so that when most people I knew were really into punk and the people that I know are still into punk now are…
OMSB – It’s when you’re starting to take music seriously.
B – Yeah, we’re starting to take our music seriously. New Found Glory, or I was into Saves The Day and like stuff like that, Millencolin…so when that album came out and there was the ‘Math Sheet’ demo and the self-titled and the “Pulmonary Archery” that was one of my favourite – for anyone who was watching TV at the time, you were like, “Woah, that’s such a departure from everything else…”
OMSB - There’s a guy screaming at 3 o’clock in the afternoon, and it’s the countdown…
B – Yeah, exactly and it’s like woah, that’s a definite change from everything else we’d seen up to that point.
R – For me Alexis was like, I’m a little older than you guys so I was like 19, 18 – I’m 28, (Colin=25, Leo=26, Braeden=24) when Alexis came out, they weren’t the first hardcore band I liked, but when they came out and it was definitely a turning point for hardcore.
B – Well, that’s when the whole Golden Horseshoe scene kicked off and it was like Silverstein and shit.
OMSB – Oh, Silverstein. Those guys went to my university.
L - I was into them though, a whole lot.
C – One of the first bands that I ever listened to had even remotely screaming in it was like fucking The Used or something stupid. Yo, I was like 13 years old, I don’t give a shit.
OMSB – Oh, that first album…
R – I never got in to The Used.
C – Dude, it was everything I liked about pop-punk, and then screaming.
OMSB – Yeah, they weren’t the first heavy band that I listened to…
L – No, no, no. That’s not what I mean. I was too young, you know. It’s just how it is, you know. But it’s cool man. I still see young kids at these shows…it’s fucking cool.
C – That’s the thing that’s really weird now. Right now, I’m noticing that things like, the last couple of years, it felt like the scene was like, I don’t want to say stagnant, but it was all these people who we knew and it was all really tight-knit and recently I’ve been noticing that there’s a turnover happening. There’s the young kids coming out and now we’re the old kids. Yeah there’s all these kids I don’t know showing up to shows who like – and I look at them and I’m like, jesus christ, they’re like 17 and 20 year-old kids that just moved out.
B – At the same time, we were those kids and we were going to all those shows.
C – Our old metalcore bands when on tour years and years and years ago when we didn’t know each other…
R – Before this band we were all in different bands and we had played shows together that’s kind of how we know each other. I went to high school with Leo but I only met these guys through shows.
B – But I’ve known you since we’ve been like 16 or something.
C – Yeah, totally. Most of this scene, like Darryl and most of those guys, Sooz, and all these people that we know through being in bands since I was in the 9th grade or whatever and then we all moved downtown at the same time. So there was this group of people that everyone knew. We all knew each other.
R – All went to the same shows.
C – Yeah, we have been going to shows together for years and years.
R – Bands played together.
B – It’s weird. For us, it’s like when we first started going to shows from in our teens until like, a year or two ago, it was the same 60 people at shows and I guess part of the weird thing is, and I was talking to Drew about this, we kind of took a year or two off from playing shows. We were still playing shows but we weren’t playing locally very much, once or twice a year. We played maybe 3 times in Toronto last year. So when we started the band it was us getting as drunk as possible and playing loud for our friends, you know? That’s pretty much what the band was. We toured…
R - You’d get black-out drunk and watch Creeper.
B – …it was fun.
R – Some of the first shows these guys played were just fucking ridiculous.
C – Oh god yeah. We had some shows just descended into mayhem so quickly because everyone in the room was your best friend and were like, “fuck it, let’s just get wasted.”
B – We did $300 of damage the first night that we did Soybomb.
C – Yeah the very first time we ever played at Soybomb. $300 in damages in like lights…fucked just a bunch of shit up because that was just like – and everyone we knew, we just got black-out drunk and knocked everything over.
B – Before it was like we were playing in this tightknit community of friends so it was like, not to say a joke or serious band but it was like, you’re playing for all your friends, you’re having a good time. It’s just a party right? Now, we took that year or two off and we’re like we don’t know people. We don’t know a lot of people at shows anymore, which is like a weird enough thing as it is. Because I’m used to knowing like 95% of people there I went a show a week and a half ago where I knew 3 people there, and it was like on one hand it’s great to see all the kids coming together and we’re like, “oh I’m the old one at shows now.”
OMSB - Do you find that you’re meshing with this younger generation?
B – That’s what I was getting to.
L – You can’t really fucking talk to 17-18 year-olds the way you talk to 26-25 year-old buddy. But if they’re into the same shit…
B – The thing I’ve noticed is like the younger crowd or just the newer people coming in seeing us as a viable band. Not to say we haven’t been a viable band for a long time but our friends are like ‘huh huh, you fucked that part up, because I’ve seen you play it 6 times before” and it’s like, shit, I did.
C – Yep, he did. You were there when we wrote it. We fucked it up.
B – Yeah. The new crowd coming in is like seeing us as a viable band and that’s a nice change, too. They legitimately like the band and it’s good.
C – It is nice to play to people like it gets to a point where even though they’re our friends all the time it was just still, “we’re wasted, Creeper’s playing.” It’s nice to have a group of people coming into a show who aren’t just expecting us to get wasted and fuck everything up. (laughter ensues)
C – As sad as it is… It’s still a trepidation where we have fresh people to disappoint, it’s great.
L – Does that answer your question? (laughter)
OMSB – I don’t even remember what the question was.
L – We have 35 minute answers. Ask us weirder stuff.
OMSB – Alright, lets get weird with it. Wait, I do want to know why your band name is CREEPER. That’s not a crazy question, though.
C – Fubar.
B – Fubar.
OMSB – I haven’t seen that since University.
C – Yeah man, Dean says, “I used to be in a band…Creeper.”
OMSB – What are your influences compared to what you guys think you sound like? Because you might be influenced by one band, but sound like someone completely different.
B – Oooo, that’s a good question.
C – That is a good question.
OMSB – Because I know who I think you sound like. But that doesn’t mean…
B – But that may not be who we think we sound like.
OMSB – Exactly.
B – I’m really influenced by…
L - ...we’re trying to go for like an S-Club thing.
B – In terms of influences. I got involved in hardcore in a lot of old 90s hardcore like Mineral and Converge. Yeah, so stuff like that. In terms of what I try to channel into this band – Hamilton is a huge influence on me. Cursed and Shallow North Dakota are probably the biggest influences for me, going into this band.
OMSB – I didn’t know Cursed was from Hamilton.
B – Really?! Yeah, man.
L – Yeah I was never even into Cursed.
C – In terms of this band, influence, definitely Eastern Canadian hardcore like Black Ships and Cobra Noir a lot…
OMSB – I’ve seen that name a lot but never heard them.
C – Yeah Shallow North Dakota was really fucking good. What’s that band called?
B – Shotmaker, uh Union of Uranus even, One-Eyed God Prophecy - basically anything that was heavy and disgusting that’s come out of the Eastern half of Canada in the past 20 years. We kinda think like we sound Curl Up And Die.
OMSB - I love Curl Up and Die
B – Yeah we hear that a lot.
C - Yeah, Curl Up and Die-ish. I mean there’s a lot…
B - Curl Up and Die are one of the ones we get compared to a lot.
L – Yeah, the simple, heavy fast parts.
C – I’m sure there’s a little bit of Converge in there. We all listen to Converge. (agreement)
OMSB – I got 3 for you that no one’s said. I told you (Rob) last time that you sound like Graf Orlock on your new stuff. You might not be influenced by them
L – Maybe the Jurassic Park song. (laughter)
B – “The Dream Left Behind”.
OMSB – That’s an awesome song.
C – I really like that. I think that I like those dudes other bands more than Graf Orlock, though.
OMSB – Oh, like Ghostlimb?
C – Ghostlimb!
B – Ghostlimb is fucking awesome man!
OMSB – Yeah…you guys sound more like Ghostlimb than Graf Orlock.
C – Yeah I can take that. Totally. Ghostlimb.
OMSB – I was going to say Cassilis and Phoenix Bodies are in there, too.
B – Wow.
C – I’ll take that.
B – Yeah, for sure.
C – What’s another one we’ve gotten before?
B – Curl Up And Die comes up a lot.
L – Ed Gein.
C – Breather Resist.
B – Ed Gein. Breather Resist.
C - Old stuff. (turns to Braedan) I was going to say that.
B – ‘Judas Goat’ era Ed Gein was big for us, too.
L – Minus the blasts.
B – Yeah. Hm. What else? Someone compared us to Sunn))).
OMSB – No, that’s too slow.
B – Yeah. Okay.
OMSB – You guys definitely have some sludge breakdowns. The demo especially. I really liked your demo by the way. Your demo was really good.
(band) – (murmers, unsure)
L – Like, fuck. No one should like those songs.
OMSB – No. Like “Brannigan” and 2 or 3 songs have some sick breakdowns.
L – “Brannigan” was really fun to write cuz it was just 2 riffs.
B – Phoenix Bodies, I’ve never heard that one.
OMSB – Well one of you just brought up Brighter Arrows. And Colin (May) is the nicest guy.
C – Yeah Brighter Arrows are really good.
B – Yeah I’ve never seen a band so determined to get naked before as Phoenix Bodies.
OMSB – Oh my god, yeah.
B – Every show.
OMSB – Derek. Every show. Peeing in bottles.
L – Derek from Inferno?
B – No, a different Derek.
OMSB – Derek was in Mara’akate as well. Have you guys ever listened to Mara’akate?
B – I don’t know enough about them to get excited about that.
OMSB – Phoenix Bodies before Phoenix Bodies. Anyway, what about your new split? What was the recording like versus all your old stuff. I mean, it certainly sounds different.
C – We recorded it live off the floor for that, actually.
OMSB – No way.
C – Yeah, for the first time. The rest of them were all done track by track. And that one we went to the studio in Hamilton and we all set up in the room. It was like a church…It was rad. It was a really cool fucking place.
B – Sean Pearson.
C – He did some of the tracking for one of the Cursed records
B – He did Cursed. He did some of the Shallow North Dakota records. He did Mob Wheel as well.
OMSB – Did he do Titan as well? I know the guy who did Titan was in Hamilton.
B – Yeah, he did Titan.
OMSB – So, did you enjoy that, compared to your track by tracks? Was it better?
B – Actually, all the recordings we had done before were either in someone’s basement or practice space or garage or whatever. So that’s the first time we had ever, as a band, gone in to a studio and had a groove and stuff like that, and just be able to spend 2 or 3 days sitting around recording music, which was like…
L - Pretty cool.
B – Yeah it was awesome.
C – A pretty cool experience.
B – It’s also learning, too. Like none of us have really recorded a lot of music professionally or anything. We’ve all been in bands for years but it was like, “Hey we got a mic, we got an amp. Well we can record a demo in your bedroom.”
C – Yeah, we’ve recorded 3 times with this band. Otherwise I’ve recorded twice and you’ve (motions to Braeden) probably once or twice …
B – But it was always the same thing, it was like a practice space.
C – Yeah, we recorded at Jay O’Young’s house. My old band - it was the same shit.
B – Yeah, the gorgeous studios.
C – Yeah, it was just a personal space or whatever.
B – So, yeah. That was an experience. It was just like, actually working with an engineer. Someone sitting there on the board being like, “Hey, how does this sound? How does this work?” Whereas normally we just like, we would go in one by one like, you know half the time I wouldn’t even hear the tracks that were playing.
L – Yeah the first two things he recorded were just me and Zack.
B - And 3 days later me and Colin would go in.
L – It was like, whatever speed I happened to play it at, they had to match that.
C – I definitely like recording, at least – I don’t know if I like recording live off the floor better in every scenario. But maybe it’s better in a real studio. I don’t know. But I’ve always felt – especially in the type of music that we play; being in punk and hardcore or anything like that – a lot of it is the feeling of it. It’s trying to catch the vibe. You need that energy to work off of. It’s hard to sit down and try to play perfectly. it’s really bizarre, trying to put, I don’t know, everything together just on your own.
L – There’s some parts that sound a touch slower, they sound way better. Just slow them down a little bit. There’s no point in figuring out the click-fuck-transition, you know?
C – You don’t feel that unless you’re playing together.
B – I guess that’s really symbolic of this band because none of us can read music. None of us know shit about music.
C – I can’t read shit.
L – I’ve never counted a single bar. You know? It’s like what timing’s that in? I don’t know just play it four times.
B – Yeah!
L – This guy counts it because he wants to play it 8 times, because he’s splitting it up by half in his head but I’m like no no, that’s only 4 times.
OMSB – It’s all fractions.
B – As long as we’re all coming together at the same time it doesn’t matter how you count it in your head. I couldn’t tab out any of our songs or figure that shit out.
L – I personally don’t even think we’re good. They’re just fun to play, you know.
B – (hysterical laughter)
OMSB – So you taught yourself, then?
L – Yeah, yeah. I taught myself playing Blink 182.
C – Yeah I took like a year of lessons when I was in middle school, but it was mostly just – I would go in and take a burned cd and be like, “I want to learn this Blink 182 song today” and the guy would teach me how to play it. I got taught “This is how you hold a guitar,” but other than that…
B – I learned to play the stuff I wanted to know. I’m straight up not that good of a guitarist. I can’t do these sweeps and pitch harmonics but, it’s like, I don’t play stuff like that. It doesn’t interest me. If there’s something that I want to learn how to play I sit down with my guitar one afternoon and I figure it out. It’s like, there it is. I know how to play that riff now.
L – If you want to hear pitch harmonics, listen to Protest The Hero’s from the same city as us.
B - They jam in the same building as us.
OMSB – They’re actually my friends from high school.
OMSB – Yeah.
R – They’re from Whitby yo, whaddya mean?
OMSB – That’s where I’m from. I’m from Whitby.
B – Pitch harmonics.
L – What’s your favourite video game.
B – We’re flipping the interview on you. What’s your favourite video game?
OMSB – Of all time?
B – Sure.
OMSB – NHL Hitz 2003.
(band) – Oooooh. Good answer.
OMSB – And Mariokart 64, and Goldeneye.
C – Going for the classics.
B – Were you a Goldeneye guy or a Perfect Dark kind of guy.
OMSB – No, I was Goldeneye all the way. I would take that over Perfect Dark any day.
B – Nah. Original Perfect Dark. Like, the Mauser? Full clip when it goes red.
C – Alright. Alright. You’ve (Dave) got 40 more questions.
OMSB – Wait. First, is anyone here good at Mariokart 64? Is there anyone here who thinks they can beat me? Because I can’t find anyone who can beat me.
L – Me.
OMSB – Yeah you’re probably pretty good.
C/B – Yeah, Leo probably could.
L – Yeah that shortcut on Rainbow Road. That first jump.
OMSB – Can you powerslide constantly?
L – Yeah, yeah.
OMSB – Okay, good. Most people try to beat me and they can’t even do it. Don’t even play.
L – Yeah you get the boost and the thing changes colour and you just pass.
OMSB – Okay we’ve kind of touched on how T.O. (Toronto) shaped you as a band, unless you have more to say on that.
B – We’re all cynical, horrible people.
L – I hate my life.
B - We were shitty people to begin with, and now after a couple of years it’s just like… (motions as if a plane were crashing)
OSMB – Being in Toronto is…?
B – I’m sure that’s the same as any city. It grinds you down. Yeah the city grinds you down.
L – It’s not the citylife, it’s just your life life. Like, I’m just sayin’ it’s how you look at it, man.
B – Yeah.
OMSB – Yeah, perception. It’s all about the choices you make.
L – Is there 12 beers left in the two-four, or 12 missing? You know.
(band) – (laughter)
C – I’m totally at the point now where I want to get out of the city, but it’s like…
B – But we all grew up here.
C - …we live in the city…we’re in a band and stuff.
OMSB – Good luck playing a show in the middle of nowhere.
C - Yeah move out to the middle of nowhere and be a band? That won’t work.
B – Yeah I guess living in a big city like Toronto is beneficial and makes it harder too because on the one hand there’s so many people around so you’re more likely to find people that like fall in with your influences or reconcile with you, but at the same time there are so many things going on that crowds miss each other. You know? That’s what I feel like the scene, coming together with new people, there was probably other cool people into the same stuff that we were that we never crossed paths with in the night. You know? It was just like we were operating on 2 different scenes entirely and maybe it’s started to come and started to fall together and that’s why we’re seeing new people. So yeah, there’s so much going on. Toronto’s pretty hip, right? So there’s always cool stuff going on around ya. A lot of it gets lost in the shuffle.