Bar Creeps – Interview April 2016

We had a chat to Bannister from Barcreeps ahead of their single release for "The Hour Between Dog And Wolf" check them out here:

Hey guys, so how did you come together, you’re pretty recently formed with members from all over?  

Hendricks and I (Bannister) went to school together, then we went to uni with Railgrind, then we put an ad on Gumtree and found Campari. And of course we bonded over music, and played in other bands that toured together etc. 

Are you very collaborative in your song-writing process … do you share the same influences mainly and would you say you listen to a range of genres general?

We all grew up listening to fast skate punk in the mid 90s. Even though we all like many other kinds of music, our deep-seated love for this music never died. 20 years on there is something of a revival around this type of music, and we have been swept up in that! The whole point was to form a genre band – to play a very specific type of music that has a very particular audience.

The process of putting together songs is very collaborative – normally, one person will write the bare bones of a song and then we work out the remaining parts and dynamics and move on to the next one. Super efficient. There is nothing ‘jam band’ about us.

Sometimes inspiration can be found in the strangest of places … anything outside of music that really gets your creative juices flowing?

To contradict my answer above, I don’t actually think music really inspires us. There is too much weird shit going on in the world to think and write about. The music is just a kind of vehicle for communicating that. If there is anything that inspires us about music it’s that the musicians and songwriters we admire are some of the more self-aware and less narcissistic creative people out there. They were pioneers and we’re now humbly following in their footsteps, we hope… 

Real stories about people are, I suppose, what inspires us. For some reason, transhumanism and the possibility of living forever is becoming something of a theme – not consciously intentionally…

Your artistry can speak for itself as you are promoting yourselves anonymously … is that important to you to really focus on the music rather than personalities as forefront?

Yes, 100%. Neil Tennant from the Pet Shop Boys did an interview recently where he said that the main problem with popular music is that there is only one subject – the writer. He’s right. I’ve made this mistake myself, and spent 10 years writing about my love life. It was too solipsistic. BarCreeps songs are stories about what we observe other people do and say – no judgement, just stories for the sake of stories. Good ones, we hope.

Are your songs sometimes autobiographical or social comment? Do you have a general message you would like people to hear?

The songs are generally from my perspective, about things that interest me, but there is no message or moral – just observation and perspective. In some of the newer songs I’ve tried writing from the perspective of other people – a bit like the Weakerthans do. For example, we have a new song called Trauma Team, which takes the perspective of someone who has a deep faith in god, although they’re not preachy about it. The song is a rebuttal of sorts to evangelicals, saying I’m interested in helping people for real – triaging people who have had accidents, that’s how I serve god – rather than trying to abstractly save their souls.

Is there a band /artist at the moment really inspiring musically, or that you think will go far this year / would like to see more of?

I’d like to see more old school punk bands coming back. We’re still re-discovering the UK punk scene, so this would be a good question for us to answer in a few months. Wayne Adams, the guy who we recently recorded with, he has a band called Shitwife who are pretty good.

How do you see the music scene generally in 2016. Is there anything you would change if you had a chance?

There was an interesting radio show recently called the Pop Star and the Prophet, where a musician interviewed a French political theorist called Jacques Attali who predicted the decline of the music industry in the 1970s. The most interesting thing though is that he saw the music industry as a harbinger of changes that would rock (excuse the pun) the whole of society. This resonates with me quite strongly – the idea that music is a figurative canary down the mine for how technology is changing the world so rapidly. I have my moments where I would love to be able to ‘rewind the clock to a simpler time’, but obviously this is impossible. I think we just have to find ways to accept that we live in a fascinating but frightening world.

So the single The Hour Between Dog And Wolf (great title by the way!) is out on Friday, how would you describe the story behind the song?

Unfortunately I can’t claim originality around the title (or the chord sequence, for that matter) – the title is from a book by a Cambridge neuroscientist that looks at how adrenalin and stress affect our decision-making abilities. It turns out that biology has a big part to play in this – as in, some people are better at handling stress than others because they’re just built that way (women, in fact, are apparently better at this than men on average). I just extended the idea to our psychologies – that we have these incredibly impactful experiences when we’re younger that shape our personalities and our worldviews, and no matter how much we grow and mature as people, we can never fully escape those deep feelings and prejudices. 

What else do you have planned for 2016 with regards to releases / touring?

Yes, all of the above! A couple more singles this year, then an album early next year – or maybe even this year. Shows and touring when we can, but like most musicians these days we have full-time jobs and other responsibilities that we have to work around.

We're always looking to play more shows so any bands or promoters that like what they hear and want to play a show with us, please email or Facebook us!

Thanks for your time!

Thanks Sam!

BarCreeps will be releasing their debut single 'The Hour Between Dog And Wolf' on Friday 15th April on BCHR Records, and will be playing their first London show on April 23rd, at Camden Barfly, as part of a Camden Rocks Night.