Their killer garage-pop singles have made waves around the world and they’ve played alongside some of the biggest names in indie rock; it’s hard to believe that 18 months ago The Creases didn’t even exist.
The band stay true to their musical goals with debut EP Gradient. Its five tracks cover plenty of territory, though shoegaze and pop are the two influences that shine most prominently.
“It was supposed to be post-punk, shoegaze type stuff but with really pop vocals. A garage Jesus & Mary Chain kind of thing,” vocalist/guitarist Joe Agius says of his original plans for The Creases.
“Not too serious,” adds fellow founder and vocalist/guitarist Jarrod Mahon. “I guess the way that it all came about, it became one of the most serious things we’ve ever done.”
Agius and Mahon didn’t have time for anything serious in April 2013. Besides usual late-teens customs – uni, shitty jobs, partying – they had their own projects which deserved the majority of their attention. Agius had RINSE, a shoegaze band transforming his bedroom recordings to the live stage, and Mahon focused on Emerson Snowe, an atmospheric, dream pop project.
The two founders met when RINSE and Emerson Snowe battled each other in a Brisbane band competition, they hit it off and hatched new musical plans.
“We had an idea for a new band called The Creases,” Agius says. “Our initial plan was to record a song and a video in one night every weekend. But after ‘I Won’t Wait’ got picked up we started taking it a bit more seriously.”
Just weeks later, they were in the UK stitching up a deal with Rough Trade Records. The success of the first two songs, ‘I Won’t Wait’ and ‘Fun To Lose’ meant they were already in high demand for live shows; the only problem was, they didn’t really have any songs. Bassist Aimon Clark joined, injecting a new creative element and helping shape the band’s sound in the lead up to their first shows.
“We got back from the UK and within a month we had to write a whole set so we could go on tour with The Jungle Giants,” Mahon says.
“So we were pretty much forced into knuckling down and having a full set of songs,” Agius adds.
Recorded live with Simon “Berkfinger” Berckelman (Philadelphia Grand Jury, Art Vs Science), Gradient is the sum of The Creases’ early creative toil. Rather than try replicating the songs which gave them their early success, the band wanted to show all they can be sonically. The immediacy of first single ‘Static Lines’, the washed out noise pop of ‘How Long Til I Know’ and ‘Fall Guy’ and the chirpy ‘Do You Know Why’ all lock in seamlessly. But the best clue to its diversity comes in the EP’s name, borrowed from its lengthy closing track.
“It’s called Gradient, which is one of the tracks, but I think that describes it well. It’s a whole spectrum of different kind of stuff,” Agius says. “It’s better to show everyone at the start so that when it comes to making an album they’re not surprised. Rather than doing the EP similar to ‘I Won’t Wait’ and then we get to the album and we’re suddenly a lot different.”
The Creases are a young band, both in respect to the age of its members – with latest addition, drummer Gabe Webster, they average out at just over 20 – and the mere year-and-a-bit they’ve been together. But they don’t follow the trope of the young and irresponsible rock band; they understand the gravity of their situation and they’re not about to mess it up.
“We’re given all these opportunities, but we’re taking it seriously,” Agius says. “We’ve worked so hard to meet expectations; this whole band was just trying to meet the expectations of what people thought of us. To start a band with a single for Rough Trade was amazing, but what came after that was a lot of pressure and stress and we’ve worked day and night to meet that.”