I CHOOSE TO LIVE
WILL GOULD REVEALS HOW THEIR ALBUM-CLOSER DEFINES THE MESSAGE OF BRITAIN’S BEST NEW BAND
“To understand this song you have to understand the history of this band as well,” says Creeper frontman Will Gould. He’s talking about I Choose To Live: the strippeddown but powerful anthem that closes the band’s extraordinary debut album Eternity, In Your Arms. It is at the same time vulnerable and uplifting, turning fragility into strength with a central message declaring that, whatever you’re going through, you are not alone.
“I feel very lucky to be living in a universe where good things are happening for our band, because I feel like there are a million other universes where this doesn’t happen,” Will begins. “Me and Ian [Miles, guitar] were just two dudes who got drunk every day and played in a hardcore band. We were working at call centres, working at pizza shops, and we never anticipated that we’d mean this much to people. People say that My Chemical Romance had a mission statement, they were out to save kids’ lives, but that was never our band.”
They might not have set out to be a band that matters, but that’s what Creeper became. Fans began to latch onto their dark theatre-punk and the way they addressed very real issues through the distorting lens of fantasy. The result was a trickle that became a steady stream of letters, messages and daily interactions.
“People would tell us about abusive parents, about self-harm, about mental health. At first I struggled with it, because some of these issues, we suffer with the exact same things. We’re not qualified on how to advise you how to make things better,” sighs Will.
“We sought out charities that we could put people in touch with, but I decided I could also respond through a song. It was a song where we’d had two years of people being very honest with us and I’d been hiding behind different personas on record. It felt like it was time to be honest back.”
The concept was there and Will knew this would be an important song, both for himself and the band’s album. It’s just that the song wouldn’t come.
“Usually when I have an idea some of the guys will help out, but we were so busy with the other work we were doing for the record that this song never materialised. I was getting more and more concerned because I knew we needed it,” Will says.
“Then I sat down at my keyboard one day, I played the first chord and the whole thing just materialised in front of me. It was one of those rare, magical times in your life when everything comes together. The pre-chorus, the climb, the chorus all came together all at once. I wanted it to have some of the classic sing-along elements, a bit like [The Beatles’] Hey Jude. I was also trying to write something along the lines of Rock’n’roll With Me by David Bowie, where he breaks the fourth wall and addresses his audience directly.”
It was, Will says, the first song he’d written by himself in its entirety and, once it had taken shape, there was never any doubt that Creeper had their album-closer.
“With [album highlight] Misery one of the things I was concerned about was our tagline becoming, ‘Misery never goes out of style’,” Will says. “What sort of message is that to leave an audience with? So on the record we put Misery in the middle and we put I Choose To Live on the end. It leaves it with this positive message. It’s a message of hope, and that is so important.”