WORDS BY THOMAS FREEMAN
Recently, I chatted with Jorjee from Sydney’s up-and-coming indie rock band CREO to chat all about their latest single Demon to Love, as well as self-reflection, social media and Sydney culture. Here’s what he had to say:
Where did the name CREO come from?
When I started the band and we started getting together, the word ‘Creo’ randomly came up in a Google search, which in Latin means ‘to create’. I thought it was really fitting, as I didn’t want to put too much thought into the band name, especially with all the other bands I had been in before CREO had put too much thought into the band name and it was an energy that was just a little bit wasted because songs tell more of a story than a band name. So, I thought that we should just rock with it, and everyone else agreed.
How would you describe the music that CREO make?
Essentially, all its foundations are rooted in rock because that’s what we all grew up on. We also all bring in different influences on board; like Dan (the drummer) has a really big hip-hop influence, Carlos loves a bit of heavy metal influence, and I bring a bit of Americana/folk stuff to it, so we have a bit of everything. Overall, our music is rock and roll that’s textured, but also full of energy, raw, passionate and honest – that’s what we bring to the table.
Earlier this month, you guys dropped the single Demon to Love; what’s this song all about?
It was originally written early last year, and I had the demo of it in my phone. I really wanted to write a song about the struggles we have with society and social media, like with ‘comparison culture’ and trying to always paint that perfect picture of yourself online, which I find is a bit fraudulent, especially in the arts when it’s such a rollercoaster of emotions because we are such fragile beings. I just deleted it all last year, and I found that I was free, I was making better music, I was doing better mentally, and I wanted to make a song about celebrating all of you, and not just the bits you want people to see, and that’s what Demon to Love is all about.
What was the inspiration behind the track?
I can’t really put a finger on what I was listening to at the time. I think I was listening to a bit of the IDLES album ‘Joy as an Act of Resistance’, and so I wanted to be a bit archaic or chaotic, which I think you can definitely tell in the bigger moments of the song. I think we also just wanted to continue with our textured approach, with lots of layers and guitars that are pulsating with the melodies and intertwine with each other, as well as a really raucous rhythm section that just drove all the way through. I think the melodies are really sweet on that song, so in the intro where there’s just guitar and vocals, I wanted it to just be those two things so you could have that essence of the melody, and then we reframed the rest of the song in that second section to basically be wall-to-wall guitar-driven textured and intertwined melodies.
I guess I also wanted it to be a bit more fun loving, like a celebration about letting go of all that negative energy, and that’s why the song has that uplifting vibe; I didn’t want it to be a depressing vibe.
Were there any challenges in making this song?
A lot of the recording process we do is off-the-cuff; we nutted out the drum and bass lines, then we wanted to add a heap of different colours, and the song really took some new turns once we added guitars to it; I love those stages that happen in the spur of the moment in the studio. There’s a lot of trial and error, back and forth, and about 20 versions of the song before we got to the final version that we stuck with, whether it was the intertwining melodies that were too distracting or having to remove one or two things. It’s the trial and error that makes the process an arduous journey, but in the end a rewarding one.
Will ‘Demon to Love’ be a part of a bigger project?
It’ll be a part of an EP that we’re hoping to put out very early next year. We’ve got a few tracks in the bank for that release, and we’re sort of in the process of writing an album for after the EP, which currently we really just want to release a catalogue of music. Especially after this year, we just need a fresh start, get all the old songs out there, and start fresh on a new body of work. Being a musician for 10 years, it’s a tough gig, and sometimes there’s talk of it being ‘ok to struggle’ where you constantly compare yourself to your ‘neighbours in the industry’ which isn’t great, because everyone’s on their own journey and you just have to embrace that and we just want to continue that. So, for a bigger project after this release, we’re going to continue down that path because it’s also cathartic for me. It’ll be an EP for Demon to Love, then we’ll continue the model of the song for bigger projects in the future.
If you could describe the song as a colour, what would it be and why?
I think magenta, or a really vibrant pinky-purple. I honestly couldn’t give you a reason for it. I just think it’s a fun colour, and a fun song that makes you just feel a bit free, and that colour just represents that a little bit.
Being from Sydney, how would you describe the current music scene there?
The current music scene, with COVID-19, is pretty dire, but I think that’s how it is all over the world, and like everyone else, we are definitely trying to get back out there. In terms of pre-Covid, it’s a mixed bag; it’s a battle scene out there, with so many artists who are just fighting for the same gigs. It’s not their fault though, with a lot of the venues dying out, so there aren’t as many shows to play and so you’ve got to look a little bit harder.
In terms of embracing the culture, there’s a little pocket of it in Sydney and it’s definitely been growing in the last few years, especially in the last five or so. Before that, it was definitely dying out, until some new bands came through and embraced it which I think is wicked. The new ‘Keep Sydney Open’ win that we’ve had has been great with the government lifting the lock-out laws, which I think will be amazing once the whole pandemic is over.
How has COVID-19 affected the band’s plans for 2020?
I’ve found the whole year to be a bit unmotivating, especially at this time of year when everyone’s got that bit of apathy with so much going on, and that we’ve all just tuned out a bit whilst we’re waiting for it to pass. There’s just so much traffic online, with new music and new products, everyone’s just trying to hustle really hard now, so it’s a bit overwhelming. But overall, at first, we were like “it’s ok, we can push through this”, but towards the end of the year, it’s become a big grind more so than ever. I guess it’s just been an unmotivating year, taking it back to the question about the song, where I just want this year and process to be over so I can start fresh. I feel like that’s the best way to put it; it’s definitely been challenging, and everyone’s just a bit apathetic to everything now and we’ve just checked out from everything, especially with the media being so depressing recently, like society’s self-combusting in a way, which is a bit of a worry. Hopefully it’ll start to fix itself soon, like most things do.
What can listeners expect to hear from CREO in the future?
We’ve got another track we want to release before the year ends (just a fun little teaser track) and then we’ve got another single we want to cap off before the EP, which’ll hopefully be released at the start of next year. We’re hoping to start working on our debut album, so hopefully we’ll get a single out from that mid-next year. Lots of new music in the coming months and in 2021.
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