Kerrang! (UK) - - News - WORDS: PAUL TRAVERS

“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.”

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