Those who have been following The Creases rise from overnight Internet discovery to Brisbane rock ‘n’ roll royalty won’t be surprised to hear that the boys are headlining an East Coast tour this winter. The band, which began as a bedroom project for singer-guitarist Joe Agius and Jarrod Mahon, was catapulted into success by the garage recordings of their first two singles. In the nearly three years since, the four boys from Brissy – Joe, Jarod, Aimon Clark and Gabe Webster – have signed with Rough Trade in the UK, played shows at SXSW, Laneway Festival, Splendour in the Grass, and supported bands as big as Franz Ferdinand and The Preatures. Joe also picked up the Most Promising Male Songwriter prize at this year’s Queensland Music Awards (QMAs).
It was amid this hype and anticipation that The Creases dropped their latest single, Impact. This release well and truly marks their move away from earlier shoegaze influences and lo-fi sounds of their debut EP, Gradient, towards catchier pop music.
Pop music for The Creases, however, is less Top 40 and more crescendo choruses, group vocals and standout guitar riffs. ‘Impact’ explores the struggle of maintaining a balanced lifestyle while your creativity hinges on drugs and partying and the emotional ups and downs of relationships.
We spoke to Joe about the band’s transition from supporting to headlining act, Savage Garden, and what the next 12 months have in store.
Your latest release, ‘Impact’, has been on high rotation at Triple J. Do you still get a thrill from hearing your music played on the radio?
It's definitely still very surreal every time I hear it played, I can't imagine it ever feeling normal to anybody no matter how popular you are. To be honest though I really don't like hearing myself so I usually turn it down until it finishes and just catch what the presenters say about it, which is usually my favourite part to hear.
It’s common knowledge now that The Creases’ first singles came about very quickly; was the song writing and recording process for ‘Impact’ the same?
I guess the difference in the beginning was that it was just Jarrod and I for the first two singles and we recorded them ourselves with very little knowledge and gear underneath my old house, which was unintentionally labelled "low-fi". We're able to record in studios now with lots more gear and knowledge under our belt so the music is naturally a lot bigger and diverse. When it comes to song writing I usually work on demos myself and bring them to the band and we attack it together live for a while then record it. The song writing process is never the same, it's usually just piecing together little parts and ideas I've had for a while until something flows and sounds right. I very rarely write a whole song in one go. The bridge in ‘Impact’ is actually from an unused song I had from before we started the band so it's always worth hanging onto ideas!
Brisbane has been known to spit out some incredible music talent, The Creases included. Besides your band, who do you think has been Brisbane’s best musical export, and why?
Savage Garden for sure. They are pop geniuses and no matter how much people try to pretend they don't enjoy them it's always a guilty pleasure of everybody’s. They had a piano they wrote a lot of their music on listed on Gumtree a while ago and I'm still a bit upset I wasn't able to buy it.
You guys have supported huge acts including Franz Ferdinand and The Preatures. Name three things you have learnt from being a support act to such popular bands.
Drink less, practise more and always be interactive and supportive of the bands playing with you.
What was the decision-making process like when you chose support acts for your upcoming headline tour?
We don't often get to see a lot of smaller bands we like from Melbourne and Sydney up this way so we usually just choose supports based on what we want to see live ourselves.
What does your rider look like for this tour now that you’re headliners?
Haha, I think we've got a carton of beer, a bottle of Jameson, a pouch of tobacco and potato chips on there at the moment. It's a long shot to ever get what we ask for but once in a blue moon we do, so we try to really shoot high when it comes to riders and hope for the best.
What items would be in your dream, money-not-an-issue rider?
My own personal barista/bartender, a bubble bath, and maybe a few rent-a-puppies that I'll end up keeping.
Is there a particular venue, anywhere in the world, that when you sell it out you will know you’ve made it?
It's not a huge one but it's always been a goal of mine to play a sold-out show at The Shacklewell Arms in London one day, which I've been to a few times when visiting over there.
What do the next 12 months have in store for The Creases?
A helluva lot of touring, recording and hopefully a big release for you all first half of next year.