Cherry Glazerr interview: "We can't be sentimental about sounding like our records, we just have fun on stage."
We caught up with singer Clem Creevy on the phone the day before the album was officially released, and on the morning after another triumphant performance in New York, one of their favourite places to play.
Through the next morning haze, she spoke to me about the path to making Apocalipstick, their hilarious videos, touring life and, of course, sandwiches.
Let's start with the basic stuff; tell me about the cover and the title of the album, Apocalipstick.
I sort of came up with this concept of a sort of futuristic LA, and then a friend Malachi Ward, who's just a fantastic weirdo, who does a lot of sci-fi cartoonish drawings drew it up for us. He has like a character name.
You had the idea for Apocalipstick and you explained it to him, and he did some wizardry?
I was reading back to some of the interviews you did around the time of the first album, and obviously you were in a very different place then with the band. You were talking a lot then about not being sure you wanted to make it into a full-time thing, when did you finally have the urge to go for it?
You know, I don't think there was ever really a turning point, or some sort of Eureka! moment. I think things just sort of happened naturally. And then the next thing I know we were playing shows and recording records and it sort of just all fell into place, without anyone asking it to, essentially.
The album is out tomorrow, how does that feel?
Oh maaaaan! That's so crazy! I'm excited. I didn't even really realise [laughs]. It's been so long since we recorded it so it's not really on the forefront of our minds.
Have you held a physical copy yet?
Yes! They are so tight.
How did that feel?
It felt so great, they are amazing.
Did you play it?
[Laughs] I didn't! I didn't play it, I mean... I don't wanna play it. I know what the fuckin' thing sounds like.
Let's talk about the album itself. From second number 1 you can tell it's a hugely different sound to the original. Was this always the vision for it, or is it something that came about naturally?
Um, you know, kind of both. We knew we wanted to sort of record a bigger kind of studio rock record. And then we got together with Joe [Chicarelli] and Carlos [de la Garza], and we got into Sunset Sounds, and one thing led to the next, and it came out just like huge and very well balanced. It came out like this sort of like powerful huge sound.
Has that affected your live sound?
It was more trying to capture our live sound.
Did you have a moment in the studio where you realised you sounded completely different?
Not really, it's not something I really dwell on like that. We don't really compare our music to our past and our future music the way listeners do. It's a lot more natural for us to just record what we have in our hearts and not really think about how it compares to other things.
Where did you meet the producers of the record?
Carlos De la Garza recorded our seven-inch that we put out with Suicide Squeeze, so he was like "let me do the full record!" and he brought Joe along they co-produced it.
Since the first album, your two bandmates have changed, where did you meet Tabor and Sasami?
Sami and Tabor are great players. Just fantastic, great. We met on Craigslist.
Wow! You guys seem to have some great chemistry, did that seem perfect from the beginning?
No, we hated each other... No I'm just kidding. Yeah, we're really close. We all play really well together.
[Clem starts laughing maniacally at something off phone): FUCK, DUDE! Good thing we have peanut butter. [Back to me]: I'm sorry, my friend just walked out of the bathroom and she has this wad of gum in her hair.
Oh my god, how did that happen?
She probably fell asleep on it.
Does the peanut butter thing actually work?
Yeah it kind of works.
I always thought it was an urban myth.
No! Have you ever actually tried it?
No, I'm too scared.
Well try it some time!
When did Secretly Canadian come into the mix?
We've known those guys for a little while, Chris [Swanson] has come to a lot of Cherry Glazerr shows, he's a fan of the band. And so he asked about our record and we were just happy to work with them. They've been really awesome partners and very easy to work with. Yeah it's been fun.
Let's talk about the 'Nuclear Bomb' video; whose idea was it and why did you pair that video with that song?
The reason why it goes with that song is... for no reason at all. There's no good answer to that question. But, as for the concept, I had this idea to have a sort of a day in the life... I wanted to have the arty, sensual sex scene with my guitar, and then I thought we should do a day in the life with the guitar. Tabor and I thinking and talking about it, and then we brought in our pals, who are awesome creative guys who make videos all the time. We just wanted to do sort of like a rogue DIY guerrilla style shooting day. So, we just ran around town and had fun. We made a video the way a video should be made, just in a fun way that was on the fly, silly, stupid, and it was very us and very liberating. We did everything ourselves, we did it all in one day with no money.
So, since you get intimate with your guitar in the 'Nuclear Bomb' video, I thought I'd ask; fuck, marry, kill - guitar, drums, synths?
I don't know. I have no idea! I mean they're instruments. I love them all very much. I guess I would wanna fuck the drums and marry the synth and kill the guitar.
How about the 'Nurse Ratched' video; whose idea was this one?
Roxanne Benjamin, she directed the video. She's kind of a horror-movie-head and a weird, creative horror movie nerd who has worked on a bunch of horror movies before, so it's her forte.
It seems like you enjoyed that...
Yeah we all did, it was really fucking fun.
But you in particular with the extended stabbing…
Yeah, it was great. Very sticky, very sticky.
Yeah, what is that stuff that they use?
It's just like a bunch of random shit, man. It's like syrup and red food colouring and chocolate.
Definitely worth it though.
Yeah, it was so fun.
How's touring life treating you?
Great! I love being on tour. I mean what's better than being able to play shows every day?
Are you still playing the old songs? How do they sound?
Yeah! They're so different because we fuck around with them and we play away with them. We deconstruct them sometimes. We can't be sentimental about sounding like our records, we just have fun on stage.
Are they crowds responding as you expected or hoped?
I don't expect anything from the crowds, or hope anything. But they do love it; we have great crowds. Very, very awesome crowds. Just weirdos who dance and have a fun time and know the words and start mosh pits.
For better or worse your band has kind of become linked with sandwiches…
[Laughs] That's not a bad thing...
So I have to ask, have you had any good sandwiches on tour?
[Thinks] No, not particularly. There haven't been any good sandwiches, but I did make a PB&J in the green room the other day that was yummy.
You can't go wrong with a good PB&J
Yeah, that's true. How do you fuck that up?
What do you guys do in the van on tour?
Mostly jam a lot of music.
Is it just how you pictured it when you were younger?
I never pictured anything. I never like to set up expectations. I just wanna let things flow the way they do. Of course, every once in a while you have expectation with things, but for the most part I sort of strive to let things flow and think within the moment instead of anxiously trying to create things that are out of my control.
Nice. So any talk of another album is not worth thinking about right now, you're just taking it as it comes?
Well I mean, we've already got a lot of new songs and material...
Are you playing them live?
Yeah, they feel fucking awesome.
Are you thinking about when you might get a chance to record them?
Wouldn't you like to know? It's a secret.
Cherry Glazerr's great new album Apocalipstick is out now on Secretly Canadian.
This article was originally published on The 405 - 6th February 2017.