Once lost, now found .. The legendary lost band of Manchester finally release their much lauded debut LP. We spoke to them about their history, their frustrations and the future…

Questions answered by vocalist Ben Le Jeune.


When and how did the band get started?

The Creature Comfort first started way back in 1986! I’d come up to Manchester from down south to go to uni and find some musicians to form the best band in the world with. After a couple of years I found the right guys and we grew to be the largest underground band in the region with a residency at a key venue of the time (The International) playing with bands like Mudhoney and Gun Club that were in a similar zone to us, and taken under the wings of The Stone Roses manager as ‘the next big thing’. Then we got rid of him as the Manchester scene was getting all the media attention – good timing right!? I kept the band going until it collapsed in the late 90’s due to too many substances, paranoid egos and bad management. After that I entered an enforced period of hibernation, a kind of dark night of the soul, which I’ve only come out of quite recently.

The Creature ComfortWhat have you been up to recently? Any plans for the near future?

Well our long-awaited debut album has just been released which I hope you’re liking! And so of course we’ve been busy busy getting everything in place for that, and playing gigs and touting ourselves to the media to promote it. For the near future we’re looking to play live, record more material, blow people’s minds – all that usual band stuff.

How did your sound evolve… did you have a clear idea of what you wanted to do from the beginning?

From the beginning yes we had some common reference points – garage rock, punk, soul, psychedelia, blues – and the sound evolved around that but it also evolved by keeping true to the vision of what we’re trying to do with this – not selling out to yourself, you know? And that vision is about creating always-amazing no bullshit music that swings, with an ‘outsider’ message, two fingers to the world, and a full-on live experience.

Also, we’ve always been clear that we shouldn’t be scared of trying to write a classic ‘pop’ song to try and get the message out to maximum people – simply because we know that ultimately it’ll still end up somewhat fucked up and loud and a little scary. We’re always aiming to create some mixture of bliss and dread…

What can you remember of your first gigs, and what have you learned about approaching live shows since?

Our very first gig was after 2 rehearsals and we were a disaster zone, except for a weirdly brilliant version of Search & Destroy. So the first learning was rehearse like there’s no tomorrow – like I said, live has to be full-on and powerful, so it’s got to be done right  – this is serious business after all haha. Another learning fairly early on for me as the front man was that there’s no place to hide up there – it seems kind of obvious but there’s no point in being bashful on stage.  But to be honest I can’t remember a huge number of the early gigs because we tended to be off our heads before going on stage – and I’ve learnt from that too, one way or another.

 

What do you consider to be your best 3 songs, and tell us the inspiration behind them?

‘I Do Need You’ because of the gear changes in the song, from light to dark, from light to heavy. It’s a bit of an epic too and it makes me want to move – a nice workout. And it’s got some of my French lyrics too! It’s about loss and being alone and having an aching hole in your heart you want filled forever, over and over.

Then ‘Windowpane’ also from the album and B –side to the first single, though it could easily have been the A-side. It’s a hazily intense inner city blues song, maybe a bit soully even. It’s about Moss Side and mentions a pub there where we used to hang out called the Robin Hood and a regular Lee Perry-type character we called ‘the preacher’.

Third – okay, well I’ll go for ‘What We Want (Power Corruption & Lies)’ which is a new number, for its impact and swing, and its lyrics about our basic need for respect, escape, rebellion. It’s inspired by the corruption, destruction and apathy that seems to permeate everything. But you’ll only have heard it if you’ve seen us live – “business is warfare and we’re the ammunition”.

Describe to us the process behind writing music within your band? Is it a democracy, or a benign dictatorship?

The process varies. It might start from a lyric, or a riff, or a beat, or noise, or a jam. I’m very rhythm driven with my own writing – probably because I started out as drummer.  But really it’s not set in stone – anyone can bring ideas to the table though I do have final say over what gets used, and how. Over time I’ve learnt when a song is right and when it isn’t – not just the music but the message too.  It’s my little albatross really, being the gatekeeper of the band’s sound and vision, the keeper of the flame.

How would you describe your own/bands sound, or what do you hate being labelled as?

I prefer to leave it to others to pigeonhole us, you know? Please decide for yourselves. We just call it ‘music for the good of your critter soul’.

What are your key influences (musical or otherwise)?

Oh, way too many to mention – PJ Harvey, Iggy & The Stooges, Rolling Stones, John Lee Hooker, Lee Perry, Temptations, Funkadelic, Kinks, Love, Doors, 13th Floor Elevators, Nick Cave, Velvet Underground, Buzzcocks, Pixies, Albini, Beck, Staff Benda Bilili.  And also loads of non-musical ones: alternative thinkers, philosophers, nature and art in all its forms, and so on – and all the insane stuff going on around us.

 

 

Published on February 14th, 2014 on subba-cultcha.com