A cold and rainy morning in Brighton sets the scene as we chat with Creeper vocalist Will Gould about awards, being championed by Sir Elton John and what to expect from their upcoming ‘Theatre of Fear!’ tour.
Let’s talk about your album Eternity, in Your Arms first. It’s safe to say it was one of the most eagerly anticipated albums of the year, which is probably in part due to the fact that there was quite a lot of mysticism around the release of the debut album. What inspired the Room 309 idea?
"The whole project was such a long-winded affair, it took almost a year of planning before we got to a point where we could release the initial campaign, but it was kind of all inspired by the way cinema was promoted when we were younger, especially the way The Witch was marketed - almost as if it was real. The lines of reality and fiction kind of blurred into one and you almost couldn't tell what was fact and what was just part of the story. A really big reference point is something called the Blair Witch Dossier, which was a load of marketing materials that were made to look very official and became one of the first viral campaigns created for a film. That was of interest to us - just how it was marketed and put across. The seeds of it all were there for us, we already had this larger than life world that we were building and we knew we wanted to try and make something that was very grey and boring have a bombastic quality and the idea of trying to blend that kind of fantasy world with reality and to take the audience on a journey with us was kind of the aim of it all I guess."
You quickly gained critical acclaim, with Kerrang! branding you “British rock’s hottest property” before going on to win ‘Best British Newcomer’ at the Kerrang! Awards as well as ‘Best New Band’ at the Metal Hammer Golden Gods Awards. What kind of impact does positive feedback like that have on a band?
"It's really strange, because a lot of the time we're really trying to block it out and I feel like it's often a really backwards way of things in this era where everything is about inclusion, where you try and win people over constantly and try and network and get people at shows to interact at all costs. Creeper are a lot more focused on what we're doing and we've always had this kind of philosophy that you should focus on what you're making instead of making it as such. So when we receive those sort of awards, it's always an incredible achievement for us and we're always very humbled - it's crazy to think that we'd even be considered for something like it, especially with the bands we're up against a lot of the time - but the second you start focussing on that success or the fact that people are responding, I feel like that's when you make your worst material because you kind of lose focus of your views. I'm outside a recording studio at the moment and we heard that Nick Cave was here recording Skeleton Tree, his last record, which reminds me of the great story of when he was nominated for an MTV Music Award in the 90s. He sent this long spooling letter to MTV saying that as soon as you put art in a horserace, you can lose your view and it can buck and run away and you may spook it, so thank you very much MTV, but no thanks. So it's kind of like that for us as well, we still really enjoy the awards and award shows, it's a bit larger than life, but it's not the sole motivation for what we do. It's really just a bonus and it's also a nice thing to have on the side for Christmas when your parents come over because it makes us feel successful."
'Theatre of Fear!’ will be your biggest headline tour to date. Do you find that intimidating at all or do you feel like this is the path you’re meant to be on?
"I think my regular, everyday self tends to be a lot more terrified than I need to be to go and perform the songs, but it really is two separate things. I guess it's like performance art in a way, which makes it a lot easier to go and do these when you're in character. Approaching a stage as the headline act and knowing people paid a lot of money to come see you, possibly travelled from far away, booked hotels and all the other things that come along as you gain fans and play bigger shows, is really scary when I sit down and think about it, but I'm also protected by this mask that I wear on stage and then it's not so bad."
Your single, ‘Suzanne’ was championed by Sir Elton John on his Beats 1 show. What was that like, coming from someone so iconic within the music industry?
"Yeah he is, and Sir Elton John is the closest thing we've had to one of our real influences tipping the hat to us, which is a very nice feeling. I remember the day we found out about that really well. I was upstairs in the tour bus, lying in my bed and it popped up in our feed on my phone and I ran downstairs and Jason from letlive. was there and I said, "Jason, Elton John just played our song" and it was amazing and the sort of thing I really do appreciate. When someone you admire is enough of a fan to champion one of your songs, especially when he's one of those really iconic songwriters, it's bizarre, but also wonderful to be appreciated in that way. Sometimes that means more to me than all the other things. "
Your stage show is set to be more elaborate than ever before. Can you give fans a little taste of what’s to come?
"The difficulty with Creeper is, in order to keep things vital, we have to have this level of secrecy where a lot of things happen in the dark without people knowing, but it makes the reveal so much more dramatic - so much more attention-grabbing. So it's difficult to describe the tour in terms of production without giving away a chunk of what's going on. I will say, it's an organisational nightmare - it's something we've never tried before and I can't really think when another band may have been in a similar position where they'd do something to this degree. But when you're in the position, you don't really have anyone to reference, so you're trying to tell a production manager your vision for this thing and it sounds absolutely outrageous and it's a really difficult thing to put across to somebody. We want it to push the envelope and be daring and want people not know what to expect, but to expect something fantastic and that's what I want our legacy to be. It may almost kill us every time we try to do it, but that's the only way to do it with this band, unfortunately, so we haven't got much of an option. "
And it's worth it in the end right?
"Oh yeah, it's fantastic to have a vision on paper 12 months beforehand and then a year passes and suddenly it's part of your life and you can interact with it and that's really the most fulfilling thing in the world. A lot of the time, we talk about doing this for ourselves for the most part and seeing things through and having it in the flesh, is more than we could ask for."
Immerse yourself in the 'Theatre of Fear!' at a venue near you by getting tickets to see Creeper, here:
O2 ABC Glasgow: Sunday 3 December - Buy Tickets
O2 Institute Birmingham: Monday 4 December - Buy Tickets
O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire: Thursday 7 December - Buy Tickets