Creeper break cover for their Butserfest debut
It's been a very good year for Creeper.
In the space of a few weeks the horror-punks were named as Best British Newcomer at The Kerrang! Awards, and then Best New Band at Metal Hammer’s Golden Gods.
The Southampton-based band have only been together for two years and have a mere three EPs to their name to date, but they’ve clearly made a massive impact on the scene. As befits their rapid rise, at Butserfest they’ll be headlining the Crossroads stage – their debut appearance at the festival.
‘We weren’t expecting to win those awards at all as we’re still quite a fresh band,’ says guitarist Ian Miles, speaking to us on the day the band were due to head to the US for their first American tour.
‘We don’t know what’s happening, it’s all very humbling.
‘Every day we’re like, this could all end any second now, we just need to keep going and focus on today – concentrated and happy with what we’re doing.
‘When we started we only wanted to do a couple of local shows and that was it – we thought: “Oh wow! We’ve sold out (legendary Southampton venue) The Joiners,” and that will be it for now.
‘Me and (vocalist) Will (Gould) have a track record of being in bands, releasing an EP playing a few shows and splitting up. We’ve been in five or six bands together, but for some reason after those two shows sold out, we were like: “Hm, maybe we should keep going with this one...”’
And he jokes how in those previous bands they played a lot of shows to not many people.
‘It’s nice to know we’re actually playing shows this time around to an audience. We don’t know what’s happened, but something seems to have clicked.’
The band are signed to seminal rock and metal label Roadrunner Records, but when they were first courted by the label, they had no idea of its history.
‘I think it was our second or third London show,’ recalls Ian, ‘we ended up hanging out with this guy afterwards. He was saying he was really into the band, he was wearing an AFI T-shirt, we had really similar tastes in music and he ended up becoming a friend.
‘A couple of weeks later we saw him again, it turned out he worked for Roadrunner Records and he was interested in working with us.
‘It was really organic.
‘You hear about record labels showing an interest in people and in your head you imagine them in a suit coming to your show with a notepad – it was nothing like that. He was a music fan who came to watch us and liked us and it grew from there. It wasn’t forced.’
While the band haven’t been to Butserfest before, the all-ages, drink and drugs free ethos of the festival connects strongly with them.
‘I’ve had a lot of friends who go there and play there, and we know (promoter) Marianne Harris who has a lot to do with it. But it seems to be going well and every year it’s been stepping up.
‘All of us in the band were in the punk scene and we were always for all-age shows, I think that ethos is really, really important for these kids to have that option to get into shows.
‘I remember when I was younger and I wanted to go to these shows at The Joiners and I couldn’t get in because I was under 14.
‘Live music is such a healthy thing for young people to get into. It teaches you a lot about community and respect, it did for me anyway.’
Being unable to get into shows actually proved a catalyst for them to do their own thing, in true punk fashion.
‘We ended up just putting on our own shows when we were younger because we couldn’t get into those other shows – we’d rent out a community centre and flyer schools and colleges, that was our answer to not having under-age shows to go to.
‘But to have an actual adult-run and organised event which allows younger children to come to is a much safer environment.’
Another important moment for the band this year was supporting Funeral For a Friend at that band’s last ever show at The Forum in London in May. The alt-rockers had headlined Butserfest in 2011, and have played a key role in Creeper’s history.
‘That was a really magical show. I don’t think I’ve ever cried so much at a show – there was a really tangible sad magic in the air – it was a weird combination. Everybody was there with one thing in mind and that was to see these guys off.
‘They’ve been a part of so many people’s lives, in terms of the UK scene they’re one of the most important bands of the last 10 years or so. You forget how big they were – they really were a bridge into the mainstream for a lot of people.
‘It was really sad to see them go that night, but it was an honour for them to let us play.’
Ian and Will had become friends with FFaF frontman Will Davies when he came to one of the final gigs by their previous band, Our Time Down Here, and they got talking afterwards.
‘He was telling us how amazing our record was and he was really sweet about it and he offered to put the record out on vinyl.
‘He said: “Look I know you’re splitting up and I know I’m not going to make any money out of this, but people need to hear it”, so he invested a couple of thousand pounds into a band who were already splitting up, just because he believed in that record so much.’
When Ian and Will returned with Creeper, FFaF offered them their first major tour support.
The six-piece are currently working on new material, but whatever comes of it, you can guarantee it’s going to make a big noise on every sense.