“I’m Doing More of What I Want to Do” | A Conversation with Cherry Glazerr
We're very psyched to celebrate the sick new Cherry Glazerr single "Soft Drink" by sharing an exclusive + illuminating interview with Clementine Creevy herself, conducted by our friend Jacob Alvarez of Marquee Marauders Club* at Creevy's L.A. home, with accompanying photos by Paige Strickland. Hit play on the new track + dive in below:
CHERRY GLAZERR: “I’M DOING MORE OF WHAT I WANT TO DO”
-- by Jacob Alvarez
Over the past year, LA’s own Cherry Glazerr have dropped a few singles, teasing a new record. Tracks like “Big Bang” and “Rabbit Hole” have brought a touch of electronic influence, which is something newer to the band’s sound, but not so much to its singer/mastermind, Clementine Creevy.
Motivated to create a long lasting career with her art at the early age of 15, Creevy has consistently put out great records, implementing something new with each release. The band is a staple of the Los Angeles indie rock scene, and Creevy is grateful for the fans that have followed her work throughout the years. However, she isn’t afraid to step into a new realm because the new idea she wants to integrate into her music is already part of her, and for it to be demonstrated in her music just means another piece of her is being shared with her fans. She is laid back, certain of what she is doing, and happy for it.
With the released singles, “Soft Drink” being the latest, there’s an electronic sound/influence. What inspired this new direction for the band?
CLEMENTINE CREEVY: It's funny, because I feel like I started the band when I was so young. When I first started, I was going to punk shows and seeing local bands. So I think naturally, that's what influenced my band in the beginning, a lot of that music. Then as I got older, I started listening to more. My taste just started to expand and now I listen to a really broad variety of music. I actually got really into house music maybe like three years ago, and before, I just didn't really have the palette for it. I started really listening to that kind of stuff, like Caribou and Four Tet, sort of alternative house and stuff. I felt so weird that I make this certain type of rock music, you could maybe call it garage rock, but I am listening to such different types of music, you know? I almost felt like I was going against myself a little bit by forcing myself to stick to this garage rock sound. Why can't I incorporate the things that I listen to in my new stuff? I've always had this philosophy that as an artist, if you really like what you're doing, other people will too. You shouldn't underestimate your audience. I just try to be really open and free with my sound. So yeah, that's kind of what started the new development in the sound. I literally was learning how to play songs when I first started touring. I was touring and making studio albums for like, six, seven years, and at a certain point, you become such a different artist and you actually learn how to do it more. I don't regret any of that shit that I made when I was learning. That's still some of my stuff. I try to have respect for some of it even though I kind of can't believe it. It is what it is. It had to be that for me to be doing what I'm doing.
As an artist, how did the pandemic affect you creatively and personally besides not being able to tour? Some artists used the time to record an LP they wouldn’t have conceived if it weren’t for the pandemic, and others chose not to record any new material and focused more on other hobbies.
CREEVY: That's an interesting question. I had a problem with saying no to tours, so I was touring. I did like 200 shows a year in 2017 and 2019. I did so many shows so I was gone for like nine months out of the year. I got really used to being on the road. It's kind of a way of life and in a way, I think I used it as a little bit of an escape from my problems and my responsibility to myself. I got a little bit addicted to that lifestyle and then to be forced to not do that anymore, it made me realize that I was burnt out. I really try not to complain just in general. I just really try not to. But then I started to realize, “No, you're not complaining by recognizing that you are burnt out. You as a human being need certain things.” So I made a lot of life changes during the pandemic. I moved into a better living situation. I ended a relationship that was kind of toxic. I started to get really close to my good friends, which fulfills me in a really deep way; in a way that you can't do. When you're on tour, you're like a fucking absent dad. That's what you are, so you realize those relationships are important, especially during a pandemic. Not just important, but like, necessary.
That’s a healthy approach to improving your life. Would you say that these life adjustments integrated themselves into the album to make it your most personal LP to date?
CREEVY: It's more focused than anything I've ever done. I think it's just natural, like having the time and headspace and heart space to really do what you're wanting to do. Or like, just being forced to do that. And there's also a very specific feeling that's gone along with the pandemic and I think we all feel it in music in an interesting way. Just this feeling of being lost and going through a huge change. The theme [of the record] is being lonely, but also being lonely in a crowd, kind of like being lonely together, I guess. In those ways, I think the pandemic influenced my writing, for sure.
I'm doing more of what I want to do. Technically, I started Cherry Glazerr as a solo project called Clembutt. I made a lot of stuff off Papa Cremp with my producer Joel, and my friend Paige was playing drums. My friend Luke was playing bass and I was just kind of throwing some shit together. My friend Paige was like, “You should meet my friend Joel and you should record, you're so talented.” I was like, “all right,” then I did. Then I kind of forced my friends to be in my real band. My boyfriend at the time and my friend became my band. I became really serious about it and they were kind of like, “Dude, I don't know if I want this to be my whole life.” We were so young. I was passionate about it in a way that your friends aren't going to be, especially when you just make them be in your band. Yeah. Then I changed the name to Cherry Glazerr and we [played] together for a bit while I wrote all of the music and the lyrics. Then after that, they weren't on the same page as me with being as passionate about it, so naturally, I brought in more actual musicians. Now, all my friends are like nerdy musicians. Like, that's my one friend group. The original band split up and now, I'm the only sole member of Cherry Glazerr. I see it as like Nine Inch Nails or Tame Impala, where it functions as both a band and a solo project where I'm producing and writing music. I have friends that are musicians who helped me really bring it to life. I love my band so much, dude. My bass player, Sami, she's been with me for a while now and she's my favorite person ever. But it's nice to have people who are committed to music as well and see it the same way that you do. To me, that's important.
Growing up in LA, there was an explosion of indie and punk music that everyone was into due to the Burger Records scene. With such a saturated career choice and many bands trying to get signed, there had to have been a great amount of pressure on yourself to make Cherry Glazerr work. What was that pressure like and does it still exist to some extent with future projects?
CREEVY: I think there's pressure. I mean, to be honest, I don't see it that way. I always felt really different from that scene. I always felt like a unique character in that scene. I was never trying to do anything “throwback.” I was never trying to do anything specific. I was always just kind of doing my own thing. I always didn't feel 100%, then they put out my first tape. Then I quickly found a more sort of developed label that actually signed me. Like Burger [Records] doesn't sign you. They just put out your tape and it's like a handshake deal which was cool because Secretly Canadian wanted to sign me and they did really early on. I put out one tape with Burger and then Secretly Canadian signed me quickly after and actually got all the rights to the music. I've now been with them for like six years. When the Burger stuff was happening and [they were] getting canceled, I was like, “Oh, yeah, there were some shady characters.” But I never spoke about that because I don't really have an opinion on it. I was never involved in it. I had my own story that I shared about someone but it was unrelated to that. I didn't want to get involved in that conversation because I haven't even spoken to those guys or thought about them for over five years, you know. So yeah, it's a weird place to be because I think sometimes people wrap me into that. And I'm like, “Oh, no, dude. I don't have an opinion on Burger Records.” I never even signed with them. They would rep me so maybe people think I was more involved than what I was.
It's interesting to see a band like yours grow from playing five dollar shows at The Smell to touring full venues and opening for bands like Foals, Local Natives, and CHVRCHES. Many bands in Los Angeles sadly don’t make it out of that spot that Cherry Glazerr used as a stepping stone to get to where you are now so what are your thoughts on that growth and choosing your passion over what people may want to hear?
CREEVY: I literally do whatever the fuck I want. I trust that my audience will come with me or I'll develop a new audience. And, you know, if the old people fall off, they fall off. And if new people come in, they come in. I try really hard not to compare or worry about anyone else in what they're doing. I think I have that gut-feeling. I have gut instincts about what I want to do with my art, and I follow them as much as I can.
What was it like working on Willow’s latest record? How did that come about?
CREEVY: She's been like a longtime Cherry Glazerr fan. She's very sweet and cute. We didn't do it in person because of the pandemic, so she sent me the song and then we talked about it. Then I went to record it at my friend's studio and sent it to her and then she chopped it into the track. I loved her album from 2017. I remember listening to it and being like, “Dude, this sounds like Cocteau Twins. This rocks.” So when she asked me to be a part of the album, I was like, yeah! I was totally excited. I think she's a really talented artist and I think she's sick that she also does whatever she wants.
Is there anything you can tell us about when fans can expect the new record?
CREEVY: It's looking like next year. Right now, I’m with a producer that I'm working closely with, Jerome Potter. He was a part of this thing called DJDS, DJ Dodger Stadium. I really wanted to work with him so we've been making music together. I have a few other features that I won't mention. I'm really excited about that. I just did a session with Jack Green. He's also an electronic musician. So my producers right now are mostly DJs and electronic musicians and that works well. It's a really good blend. The latest single I did with Suzy Shinn. She's primarily a rock person, but I was like, I want to do something different. And she was like, “Fuck, yeah.” So we both kind of branched out a little bit with the new single that we did. It's like electronic rock. People might describe what I don't want people to think like, “Oh, she's like a rocker who's now doing pop music.” That's actually not it at all. I think I naturally have pop tendencies already. I've always had those and I've always kind of made pop music in a way. But I started off making punk music and now I'm very influenced by house and straight up techno. I'm not really trying to do pop per se, just maybe people sort of associate pre-programmed instrumentation with pop music. That's not what I'm doing. It's more like rock. That’s what it is.
Check out Jacob's MMC* blog + his incredible bootleg action figures + toys here.