CREATURE / No Sleep Till…
by Nika Vee / photos John Londono pour NIGHTLIFE Magazine
] It’s breakfast time on Parc Avenue which means it’s just past noon and just about when the gang from Creature show up for some eggs, toast and a few prying questions. On the menu is the band’s first full-length album No Sleep At All: a long labour of love that magically captures the band’s voracious onstage energy and the snap-crackle-pop mixture of styles that has been making show-goers bust it on the dance floor for the last 4 years.
You were 4 and now you’re 3. What happened to Anastasia, your bassist?
Kim Ho: Anastasia wasn’t ready to commit to the life of playing music. It entails a lot of work with not a lot of money.
Sid Z: She had an amazing feel: groove with a reggae bass line. That’s what I love off the new album: it’s got some nice counterbalances.
KH: K.C. is her full-time replacement. (ed.: she has since been replaced by Anna Ruddick.)
Originally, Creature started with Kim Ho (vocals and guitar) long before CowBella (vocals, percussion and keys) and Anastasia (ex-bassist) joined on. After playing in a few local bands (PEZ, Stellar Dwellar, The Sherlocks), Kim hooked up with admirer and ex-Me Mom and Morgentaler drummer, Sid Z. Their chemistry was instant and it didn’t take long before the first future Creature songs were given birth.
CowBella: When I saw these guys, I was blown away but I never thought I’d ever play with them. I was super-
intimidated by Kim and was scared of his musicianship. He looks like he grew up with a guitar in his hand. I ran into Sid at a bar and after chatting about music and bands, he asked me to play with them. I was so intimidated!
What inspired you guys to focus on making dance music?
CB: When we got together, slowly but surely ideas were
flying around the room and we really started to focus on fun. We wanted to play bluegrass? We played bluegrass! But when we played all of our songs live, we noticed
people really reacted to our dance songs.
SZ: I don’t know if you’ve ever seen us on the dance floor, but the 3 of us love to boogie. It’s our favourite thing and we’re all pretty good dancers. I think because of that, it was natural for us to play dance music.
Your energetic shows are a testament to how much fun you guys really have on stage. After spending nearly two years in and out of the studio working on your debut album, what do you prefer: the studio or the stage?
KH: I love the studio; being in studio is totally different vibe, a whole different kind of party. It’s much less immediate.
CB: It took a long time to capture our live sound. I’d put on headphones in the day time, in a room alone, I’d hear the click and it felt like I was more of a professional musician than someone rocking out. We actually had to re-record some of my vocals because originally the energy was just not there.
SZ: We recorded it with Claus Frostell at his newly opened studio. He’s one of the best
engineers in town (who coincidentally got his first break by working on Moist’s Creature album). I think it made us an even better live band. We really
concentrated on our groove and once we figured that out in studio, we didn’t even have to think about it live any more.
No Sleep at All is a remarkably good debut, solidly fun and sexy throughout the 11 mostly upbeat songs. Their sound is impeccable. What make this party band stand out from the rest are their smart-and-sassy styled lyrics. Whether singing or rapping, all four members take part in the band’s vocals in a sort of ongoing boy-girl dialogue capturing the listener from the first Franken-cry of opening track Alive.
The album’s song subjects vary from shitty boyfriends, freedom, old school hip-hop to senior citizens, Kandahar, being yourself, the fall of America and Brigitte Bardot.
SZ: When Bush was about to be re-elected for his second term, we thought it would never happen. (Last Days of) America was written 2 and half years ago and it’s still
relevant. We thought we should send it to Michael Moore but that idea never materialized.
CB: I would never say no to Brigitte Bardot. She escaped the spotlight and we put her in this spaceship satellite party. Fuck it! It’s time to let go and go to outer-space.
KH: That song came from space! Bootsy gave us that one.
SZ: When you listen to the album, you can hear how
it would be difficult for only one person to write these songs.
Your fondness for old school hip-hop is so strong that you wrote a love song for it aptly called Love Song. What inspired you to tip your hat?
KH: I dug the old school and how it was all about fun and being free; we feel a connection with that vibe. Back then, it was coming off the streets and was natural, totally not what hip-hop has become today: “I’m loaded, I’m going to kill you and I disrespect women.” It’s now the total opposite of how it used to be. You know, you never hear a lot of hip-hop love songs. There’s no love in hip-hop any more.
Musically, who impressed you in 2007?
SZ: I love Jens Lekman, amazing stuff sort of like Sufjan Stevens. Also I love The Kooks from New Zealand. I bring these guys a lot of music but they just want the hip-hop.
CB: MIA’s album is pretty good. I like Britney Spear’s new album. I wouldn’t
necessarily say it’s my pick of 2007, but it’s worth mentioning, poor girl.
No Sleep At All is all about dancing like there’s no one watching and personal freedom. With that in mind, how do guys feel about the illegal downloading of your own music?
KH: There’s no point in fighting it.
CB: That was a huge thing for our album
mastering. We wanted it to sound hot on shitty computer speakers.
SZ: Giving your music away for free means that you’re going to have 500 people come to your show instead of only 100. That means you have to be smart about your merch and touring. If you see playing shows that way, as your primary means of making money, than give ‘em all the free music they want! I have no problem with that. Prince gave away 1 million copies of his album for free in The Guardian. He then sold out 21 nights in a row. Give it away for free and it will come back to you.
What are your plans for the near future, an album tour?
SZ: We’ve already had interest from festivals in Germany, Australia and France. It’s all about getting the licensing. The reason we’re with Bonsound Records (a small Montreal label), is to keep our master within our country and just license it. Bonsound are also our managers so we’re in a good situation with them. We’re actively looking for other avenues to pursue and if something comes along that we like, Bonsound are behind us.
CB: Music-wise, there’s definitely more that I want to
experience than this. I feel like were baby birds ready to be released. I can’t wait to start writing again. No Sleep At All is great, we’re a party band. [
No Sleep At All: out March 4th
Launch March 5th at Le National
Info: 514.790.1245 / www.creatureband.com
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