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Weekend Extra: Creeper’s Will Gould tells Metro about their new sound… and making cardboard bats

Creeper by the dozen: The band’s Will Gould (front) with (from left) Ian Miles, Hannah Greenwood, Oliver Burdett, Dan Bratton and Sean Scott PICTURE: YOSHITAKA KONO

LOCKDOWN has unleashed many new creative talents in us, such as making the perfect banana bread. However, for film-noir punk rockers Creeper, it’s been a little bit more Blue Peter at times.

‘I spent hours painting cardboard bats,’ laughs frontman Will Gould. ‘Literally hours. I strung them up everywhere before I did a reading online for our fans and I could see one of the bats just slowly falling, from the corner of my eye. I knew there would be screengrabs of it sent to me forever more!’

The band infamously ‘split up’ following one of their biggest shows to date, at KOKO in London in 2018, taking a year out before returning to the scene with a tiny comeback show under the pseudonym Fugitives Of Heaven, and some dates with Babymetal. They had big plans for a headline tour to promote their second record, Sex, Death & The Infinite Void, but Covid-19 intervened.

The album is finally released at the end of this month, with the tour pushed back until March next year but, in the meantime, the band have been busy with classic film watch-alongs, book and poetry readings, opening fan mail and yes, painting bats and props. ‘Right now, we’re not even in the same cities. I’m in Manchester, Hannah’s in Oxford, and the others are in Southampton,’ say Will. ‘Everyone is spread out so often when we’re collaborating, we’ve had to work long distance anyway. Quarantine was quite inspiring for us.’

Creeper have a very dedicated fanbase, who enjoy an array of in-jokes, and cosplay as characters from the artwork and stories that are threaded through the band’s music. ‘I’m really glad that we came back and we can be there for our audience and give people something to look forward to. This has been a very difficult time for some people, feeling anxious and alone, and we’ve wanted to do fun stuff to help people through,’ explains Will. ‘It’s bittersweet. Of course, we’d love to be performing, we’ve lost so much money from festivals and cancelling the tour, it’s difficult financially. But we’re never going to be a band that will roll over and die.’

The new album sees Creeper exploring a whole new sound, with theatric and romantic goth anthems doing battle with Americana-tinged rock’n’roll.

‘I knew I wanted to make an American record; it sounds like a British band in America. There was one day where I was in a diner having breakfast and T. Rex came on over the speakers and I knew I needed that glam rock sound. I ended up writing songs that sounded nothing like them, but it gave me a push in the right direction,’ recalls Will.

Although the tour has been put back again, Will is desperate to return to the stage. ‘Those first shows back will be a real moment. Everyone is so desperate to be out, imagine the power when we come back! People have been waiting for another headline tour from us since 2017. I can’t wait for these new songs to become part of Creeper lore.’

Will is also hopeful that we’ll have learned some lessons from lockdown. ‘The most important thing right now is to think how much we will appreciate it when this is all back to normal, we cannot let this feeling fade and take things for granted again. It’s the small interactions.

‘Appreciating the NHS workers, our friends, families, going out for walks, to a bar, to a show. I don’t want us to lose sight of this once it returns to normal. Hopefully, we’ll be a bit more gentle and kind.’

Sex, Death & The Infinite Void is released on July 31; Creeper’s tour begins at Concord 2 in Brighton on March 18, 2021,