Will Gould, the frontman for Creeper, on veganism, theatrics and his responsibility as an entertainer
Will Gould was surprising. We were on the phone for well over an hour, and during the conversation, I had the feeling that we could sit and talk for hours. He was animated, witty, honest, laughed easily and, if you’re a Harry Potter fan, it may interest you to know that his ‘Pottermore’ house is Hufflepuff, although he wishes he were in Slytherin.
I’d wager that he’s a good friend — the conversation flowed without any awkward, paper-shuffling pauses and he asked as many questions as he answered. I had, very stereotypically, assumed that he’d be a bit of a rock and roll diva, and tricky to prise information from. I should have known that stereotypes nearly always turn out to be incorrect.
Will had just returned to his home in Southampton after ‘a crazy couple of months’ touring when I spoke to him, although he sounded excitable, not exhausted. As we talked, I got the feeling that he was somewhat of a lost soul in his youth, but it’s apparent that he’s found his calling as the lead singer of Creeper.
Creeper’s sound is hard to describe. Will says that Creeper is a ‘hybrid of a lot of other genres’, but if you aimed for a punk rock band, you wouldn’t be too far off. However you choose to define the band, Creeper is a success. Creeper was the winner of the 2017 Best British Breakthrough at the first ever Rock Sound Awards powered by EMP and, in 2016, won the Kerrang! Award for Best British Newcomer and the Best New Band at Metal Hammer Golden Gods Awards in the same year.
Creeper seemed to have appeared from nothing and risen effortlessly to success (and without the questionable choices associated with some punk rock bands), but it must have been harder than that, I enquired.
“Me and Ian, the guitarist, have been playing in punk bands for years, since we were teenagers. We never really got anywhere, but we were part of the punk community when we were younger. I was a promoter in Southampton before I was in a band and I used to put on gigs; I wasn’t supposed to do any of this really.
This is someone else’s life and I’ve just inherited it I think.”
Will comes back to this again and again throughout our conversation – the idea that his life is better than the cards he ought to have been dealt, that he has stolen it from someone else. I think most of us can empathise with this, the fear that someone is going to find out that you’re just faking it until you make it. For Will, it wasn’t an easy road to success.
“I was putting on shows in pubs and one day, the singer dropped out of one of the bands that I had. They asked me to fill in, so I did. After that, Ian and I started playing together and we did that band to death. We toured Europe all the time, it was an extremely difficult time of our lives. We were broke and really poor. Living in the backs of vans and playing to nobody.
“We thought we had to stop because we had no money, we couldn’t do anything and we were playing to nobody so we decided to get normal jobs. I wanted to get a place to live — I was living in my dad’s house and Ian was living in the shed at the back of his mum’s council house — it was a crazy situation. We decided to get jobs for a year but we hated it. It was awful. We got jobs at a call centre. We hated it, but we ended up doing it for three years.
“In the first year I suggested that we did a band at the weekends. I didn’t want to tour or that lifestyle. It felt like nothing we had done went anywhere so we decided to just start playing because we loved it. The band that was supposed to be the weekend jam band has become this amazing thing and now it’s our job.”
Will is eager to talk about his transition to a vegan lifestyle; he feels that it is his duty as someone in the public eye, to talk about it.
“I’ve been vegan for about five years now. I went vegetarian and I knew a couple of vegans from the punk community, which I was really involved with when I was growing up; there are a lot of vegans in that world. It was not about needing to be different, about needing to be a different person or part of a counterculture, but, for me, I felt a bit hypocritical being vegetarian. Every now and again I couldn’t help but see an article come up on Facebook or be part of a conversation about the dairy industry and I realised that I was contributing to the death and suffering of animals as much as I had been when I was eating meat. So I felt like a hypocrite. I decided on my birthday that I wasn’t going to do it anymore and I went vegan.”
“For me [being vegan is] a large issue and there isn’t one specific angle. I have one vivid thing that I always remember about animal rights. I was on holiday with my parents. We went to Spain and I had one of those sticky hands that you can splat against the window. This is a horrible story. I was playing with it and there was a bug on the floor, I was a mindless kid, and I hit the bug with this sticky hand. My mum ran over and told me that that was the cruellest thing she’d ever seen me do. I remember being so mortified at this monstrous thing I had done to this poor defenceless bug and I applied that logic as I got older. I applied that to everything and having compassion for living things is one of the most important things to me. Whether it is a human being, or an animal, being compassionate is so important.
You can read Will’s interview in full when you pick up the May 2018 issue of Vegan Life. Save money by subscribing today!