The Creeping Ivies are one of my favourite bands (writes Andy Wood) and I’ve followed them with interest since their debut gig through several singles and E.P.’s and two excellent albums Stay Wild and Ghost World. The records are both absolutely fantastic, stripped down, primal but immensely tuneful as well. If you like your music raw and stripped down (and why shouldn’t you) then I can’t recommend these records highly enough.
Stay Wild captures the energy of their live set impeccably while being more than just an instant snap of the songs live while Ghost World began to push the sound into new places while still being recognisably The Creeping Ivies. Prior to the release of the second album stand-up drummer Duncan Destruction departed for pastures overseas and the album came out without much promotion or live shows which is a great shame as it is such a great record.
After a long period of silence and a move to Glasgow, Becca Murray added a drummer and bassist and launched The Creeping Ivies Mark II with shows in Glasgow and Edinburgh earlier this year which was cause for celebration around these parts. And even better is the fact that there is more to come with a new E.P. and further gigs including a return to The Cool Cat Club this month. So to celebrate, I interviewed lead Ivy, Becca Murray.
Hello, how are things with you?
“Things are pretty good, thanks for asking.”
There has been a bit of hiatus and a few changes to The Creeping Ivies line-up in the last year or so. Can you talk us through them please?
“Yeah, after Duncan left the band I knew I wanted a break just to do other things for a while and sort out what I wanted in terms of moving forward with everything. I moved to Glasgow last summer and didn’t do any music for about six months but I knew by the end of the year that I was itching to get back out there. I advertised and found a new drummer and bass player and began rehearsals right after the New Year and I’ve not looked back since.“
How, if at all, has expanding the line-up changed things musically?
“Well, it’s changed to a degree in terms of there’s now a bass player and also the drummer plays a full kit so it’s a fuller sound but with the same sensibilities. I decided to write a whole new set for the band as it felt right, like a clean slate, so we already have around ten new songs. I feel like I’m constantly experimenting with song writing and varied influences anyway so I just go along creating instinctively. The rhythm section is really strong so I’m happy with it.“
You’ve recently started gigging again with shows in Glasgow and Edinburgh. How did they go down and how does it feel to be playing live again?
“The first gig felt quite strange as it was just a few weeks after meeting and practicing but as soon as we had played it felt like we were a proper band, it all just gelled. Also, receiving great feedback from the audience was really encouraging. The Lux Lives gig was also great fun doing some rock n roll covers together.“
Has moving to Glasgow changed things for you as both a song-writer and as a band?
“I don’t think it’s changed me as a song writer, only I seem to be writing more songs than ever at the moment. I generally feel more settled and focused and have an even stronger, renewed enthusiasm. I suppose it feels a little like a new band starting out and feeling excitement for the possibilities of the future.”
The title track to your second album Ghost World is being used in the soundtrack to a zombie movie, the spoof, The Walking Deceased. How did that come about and how do you feel about it?
“The director contacted me last year asking to use the song as he had recently discovered us and loved the album. It was an honour and quite exciting especially with being an unsigned band. One of the actors (Dave Sheridan) is in the film, who’s also in one of my favourite films ( Ghost World funnily enough) and he also sent me a message saying he loved our music which was really cool. I’ve not seen the film yet but it looks like good fun if you’re into zombies!“
Stay Wild was released on the U.S. label Deadbeat but you released Ghost World yourselves. Why was that?
“Well, Ghost World was originally meant to be released on Dead Beat too – it’s part of the reason we recorded it. At the last minute the label pulled out and decided not to release it so they let us down with that. It was just before Duncan was due to leave, etc, so I knew we wouldn’t be able to really promote it as a band or anything anyway. It was just awkward timing which is a shame as I’m really proud of the album and hoping at some point to possibly re-release in physical form.“
You’ve just released an E.P. of your solo project, Gold Furs. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
“Gold Furs is the name I use for solo, mostly acoustic stuff I do. I played a few gigs as Gold Furs before forming the Creeping Ivies and these were just a few acoustic songs I’d recorded myself around 2010. I’m quite fond of them so decided to publish them on Bandcamp. There may be a follow up with more recordings when I have time in between Ivies stuff.“
What current bands and music rock your world at the moment?
“I try to listen to new music a lot and enjoy new mixes and podcasts of up and coming rock n roll and garage bands but mostly I’m stuck in the past. I’ve been listening to a lot of Dead Moon at the moment, Andre Williams, Max Richter and compilations of 20s and 30s jazz and blues.“
Any plans for new releases from The Creeping Ivies in the coming months?
“We’ve just signed to Glasgow label ‘Flowers in the Dustbin’ and will release our next EP with them. We’re recording three new tracks at Green Door at the end of April and an EP will be released later in the year with a new video too. I’m really excited about the new songs and can’t wait to get them out there.”
Anything else you would like to add?
“Respect your parents and follow your dreams.”
From the Ghost World LP, here’s ‘What Would Joey Ramone Do?”:
‘Ghost World’ is available from the band’s Bandcamp.