City Of Angels: Clementine Creevy Of Cherry Glazerr

City Of Angels: Clementine Creevy Of Cherry Glazerr

FOR V100, HEDI SLIMANE BRINGS TOGETHER GENERATIONS OF STORIED ROCK-AND-ROLL ARTISTS IN LOS ANGELES—WHERE THE SO-CALLED DECLINE OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION IS JUST ANOTHER REASON TO KEEP ON CREATING LIKE THERE’S NO TOMORROW.

FOR V100, HEDI SLIMANE BRINGS TOGETHER GENERATIONS OF STORIED ROCK-AND-ROLL ARTISTS IN LOS ANGELES—WHERE THE SO-CALLED DECLINE OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION IS JUST ANOTHER REASON TO KEEP ON CREATING LIKE THERE’S NO TOMORROW.

Photography: Hedi Slimane

Text: Natasha Stagg

Clementine Creevy might, at this very moment, be more famous than her band, Cherry Glazerr. That’s no doubt due in part to a campaign for Saint Laurent Paris in which she modeled, and in part to her role as a member of the fictional band Glitterish in Amazon’s Transparent, and maybe in part, too, for her vocals in the song “Nina Hagen-Daaz” on Seth Bogart’s new album, Seth Bogart. Most likely her image is recognizable to Tumblr users everywhere as one of Petra Collins’s muses, who shows up in a look book for Me & You, a fashion film for COS, and impromptu shoots all around L.A. But Cherry Glazerr is all Creevy really wants to talk about. She’s a SoCal girl from her lilting laugh to her hardcore and surf rock influences, one recognizes right away and in L.A., live music is here to stay. Photos and film sets are fun, but writing music is what Creevy’s clearly best at, anyway (although her acting is on its way). 2014’s Haxel Princess is an infectious but gritty pop punk album, on which Creevy’s uninhibited voice and licks feel like they can outlast any Tumblr trend. At just 18, the band she started and fronts is now working on their third album and touring with Best Coast and Wavves, with stops in her hometown to perform at Saint Laurent’s legendary Palladium show and to be shot by Hedi Slimane again, this time for V100.

CLEMENTINE CREEVY I’m calling from a park near my new house. I just moved out of my parent’s house the other day.

How’s living on your own?

CC I’m loving it, absolutely loving it. I have the best roommates ever, I’m eating healthy, we have a compost, my rent’s not high, it’s totally great.

Sounds very L.A.

CC Yeah, it is.

Did you grow up in L.A.?

CC I pretty much grew up here. I moved to Silverlake from Chicago when I was 12. So I went to high school on the west side, and then my parents bought a very beautiful house in the Hollywood Hills, but I just moved out. I’m going to be there all the time anyway.

So you feel more L.A. than Chicago?

CC Definitely. I think the most transitional period is 12 to 18, when you grow into yourself, and when you really become who you are, in a way. [At least it was] for me. Maybe that’s a little bit later for some people.

Well, you seem to have grown up fast, at least professionally. Do you feel like you’ve grown up fast in other ways?

CC Definitely. Yeah, I definitely do. And I wouldn’t say that’s a good thing or a bad thing, but it came about organically. I still feel almost five years ahead of my peers, and I don’t mean that in a condescending way, or trying to put myself on a pedestal. But I’ve just had to start working at a really young age. I was answering emails at lunch when I was in 10th grade. I wrote Haxel Princess when I was 14. And then that album became successful, so we started touring when I was 16. And I was booking our own shows, and self-managing us. So I had to be professional and creative in a whole new way. I had to be creative in a professional way, which is weird. But that’s what you do if you want to survive as an artist.

Yeah, that’s kind a conundrum: how to stay creative when your profession is your creativity. But I think you’re hanging in there.

CC Yeah, it’s almost a total dichotomy. You have to navigate that in a sensitive way, and a way that’s sensitive to yourself, and always pay attention to what you need, and trust your instinct. But yeah, if you take care of yourself, everything else sort of falls into place. That’s sort of my theory.

Did you graduate from high school?

CC Yeah, I did graduate. I got into college, actually. I didn’t go. I got into every college I applied to.

Congratulations.

CC But I RSVP’d “no.”

Your top pick was being in this band?

CC Yeah, exactly. It’s what I RSVP’d “yes” for.

It’s a noble cause. Is your next album going to be on Burger Records?

CC No, it will not be on Burger Records. We owe a lot to them, and love them, but we are moving on to a new label for the next record. Can’t say yet, but they’re all good labels—the ones that we’re talking to.

What is it like being a spokesperson for an entire band?

CC That’s an interesting question. I sort of take on that role because most of it is my voice. I mean, I write every lyric to every song. And I founded the band. I feel like it’s my baby, it’s a part of me, it’s how I identify myself, so when people are talking to me, about me, that’s what I’m going to talk about. But if people are talking to me about the band, or if they’re talking sort of like, to the band, I’ll take on the role of spokesperson, because I feel like I have the right answers, most of the time.

Are all the guys in the band older than you?

CC I’m the youngest one. Our synth player—Sasami [Ashworth]—is like, 25, I think, and she’s a new member. Then we’ve got Sean, my boyfriend, who’s 24. And then we’ve got Tabor [Allen], and he’s 25, too.

How did all of you guys meet?

CC Well, Sasami and Tabor were actually in a band called Dirt Dress. Their band ended and we kind of took them. Tabor’s a really wonderful drummer. And Sasami’s a wonderful new addition, because she’s trained and is also extremely creative and has just been offering all these insanely awesome creative ideas. It’s a whole new experience because it used to be just me. She’s making it a more collaborative experience and motivating me in different ways. We had a different drummer…People just change. And I wish all the best to her, and I love her always, but we had to sort of separate and go our different paths.

Did you meet your boyfriend before he was in your band?

CC That kind of came together simultaneously. I met him at the Musicians Institute in Hollywood. He was living in Washington. And then he moved to L.A. I had put a bunch of demos online, on Soundcloud—and he was like, “Hey, I listened to your music, and I really love it, and like, can I be in the band?” And I was like, “I don’t know about that.” And then we jammed, and we clicked, and it was awesome, so he had to be part of the band. He plays almost like a guitar player, because he doesn’t just hold down a rhythm, he comes up with these insane licks…there’s a ton of character expressed in every song. He’s a very interesting bass player.

Sounds romantic.

CC Yeah. We’re kind of nerdy. Like, we nerd out on each other’s playing, and we’ve been together for four years. We’re partners. Partners in crime. Creative partners. Working together creatively makes us stronger, I think, because it can be tough, but it’s a really amazing bond that you can have with your significant other.

Have you seen The Decline of Western Civilization?

CC Oh my god, I love those. I love Penelope Spheeris.

Yeah, and those were maybe her best work, right?

CC Yeah. The Little Rascals was pretty awesome, too.

Such a prolific director. Those were an inspiration for this series by Hedi Slimane (“City of Angels,” in V100). Seth Bogart, who you worked with recently, was also part of it.

The first movie is all about the clubs in L.A. Do you see a big difference in where kids find cool music in L.A. today?

CC There doesn’t seem to be much of a difference because there’s been kind of a resurgence in D.I.Y. culture. The punk scene is very much alive. We have a lot of D.I.Y. venues that come and go in L.A., and a lot of amazing experiences happen there. We’ve played a lot of them. The Church on York got shut down. We don’t go to the clubs on the Sunset Strip—that doesn’t happen anymore. Instead we rent out some dilapidated, run down church or some basement and start throwing shows in that. So there’s a difference, but the punk scene is still very much thriving.

Do you guys consider yourselves a punk band?

CC It’s really hard to categorize our sound. When people ask me what kind of band I’m in, I’m like, “We’re a rock band.” We play some punk, we play some mellow dream pop, some psychedelic, some surf-inspired music. We’re not garage rock. We’re a lot of things, I think.

Another thing about naming something a punk band is that no punk band’s ever called their self that.

CC True. We have like, one song that’s definitely a punk song. “White’s Not My Color This Evening” sounds like a punk song to me. I don’t know. We make music. We make art. It’s up to other people to genre us. It’s not up to the artist.

Do you remember a specific performance that made you say, “That’s what I want to do?”

CC Fucking totally. There were all these bands that I went to see, and that’s what inspired me. Patti Smith is one of them—more from watching her performances online. I found out about Burger Records online. And then I found out about the Coathangers, this all-girl punk band from Atlanta that have been going since like, 2005. They inspired me a lot. I was like, “Cool, I can do this. Their music is very simple, they play fucking rocking shows, they just have fun and do what they love, and I think I could do that.” You have this moment when you are an artist, when you know you can do something, and you sort of see it—either on stage or on the screen.

You’ve been shot by Hedi Slimane before this. Is there sort of a Saint Laurent family you feel you’re a part of?

CC Yeah, totally. Honestly, I’ve probably met more people through Saint Laurent than I have through Burger [Records] stuff. But they tend to be intertwined. I’ve met Sky [Ferreira] and just a bunch of awesome cool people and artists. Hedi has great taste, and he’s a real tastemaker: a connoisseur. In his real essence, he knows what’s cool. The core of him is true to what he loves. And he seeks out what he loves, and exploits what he loves.

You’re in a fake indie band called Glitterish on Transparent. Have you gotten any shit for that from your friends?

CC No I haven’t, everyone has been like wow I loved that song that you sang. A lot of people’s moms know about me because of that show. I had a lot of fun doing it. I did a lot of covers. Being on the set of that show is unreal. It’s really improvisational. Jeffrey Tambor is so sweet and cool and funny and chill and such a pleasure to work with on set. It was awesome watching him work. And I’m just a background character so I just watch everyone else, but it’s just a really good vibe on that show. You can really tell it’s making a difference in the world. It’s so open and new and promotes LGBTQ rights and it’s saying, “Hey, in case you guys didn’t know, female directors are just as capable as male directors and we’re trying to get on the same level in terms of just numbers.”

You’ve talked about feminism before to the press. Do you ever feel like you have to explain your own feminism?

CC Feminism is defined in the dictionary as putting women on an equal pedestal as men, making women and men economically and socially and political equals. That’s all it means. So I believe in that and that’s it. So, it’s a really simple thing to get on board with. People like to change that definition that there are a lot of definitions but there’s only one definition according to the dictionary so that’s what I abide by.

Within your generation there seems to be more of an ongoing conversation—that’s actually possible now, for obvious reasons—about the way people should be treated. Whereas in the days of The Decline of Western Civilization, people could yell out any kind of bigoted remark and it was absorbed as part of the punk scene.

CC Well, certainly times have changed. We are more sensitive to each other, hopefully. We are more conscious than we’ve ever been. And consciousness is key to understanding each other and the world and our selves. It makes me happy that we’re becoming more open, looking at issues for people of color. It’s becoming sort of all-encapsulating. A ton of feminist movements have big issues in that they have been primarily white. And hopefully this force wave is focusing on black women and brown women, prioritizing their voices, putting them at the forefront where they’ve always belonged.

There’s been a huge leap of progress and the flip side of it is that a lot people feel like they have to watch what they say more. But your entire lifespan will be within the lifespan of the Internet. Do you feel that shift of pressure at all, or were you born with it?

CC I definitely need to watch what I say, more so now than ever. But I think it’s a good thing. I think that we need to be politically correct—on the other hand, I don’t think that anything is off limits for comedy—but I mean this is in relation to the times changing. The political requirements and social requirements of right now. I don’t think I have to watch what I say more because I’m getting bigger or because my band is getting bigger. Not at all. That’s the opposite. I think I should say more.

So, what’s next?

CC We’re recording right now. We’re gonna be road dogs in 2016. I love being on the road.

You’re too young to get into a lot of shows now, right?

CC I have credentials that say otherwise. I owe many great experiences my fake ID. A bunch of door guys know me because I try to get into a lot clubs around L.A. and they’re like, “No, we know who you are. This show is 21 and up” I’m like, “Fuck you guys, I’m just trying to see Blonde Redhead!” It’s a real pain in the ass right now. We had this one show in San Francisco and they had to push me into the green room. Then, they wouldn’t let me out until I played, and then I had to stay in there until everybody left.

Is Blonde Redhead a big influence?

CC Yeah. I’ve been listening to a lot of Stereolab and Blonde Redhead. I just watched the Fugazi documentary and then I was super into Fugazi. Repeater is so beautiful. “Shut the Door” is one of the most beautiful songs ever written, in my opinion. I love Ian MacKaye, even if he’s a dick. I still love him. He’s just a genius. And their drummer Brendon [Canty]. The guy who plays live. I’ve been getting into Talking Heads, too. Them and St. Vincent and Fugazi all have something similar in that they really bring something to their live performances. I’ve been focusing a lot on our stage rig and connecting with the crowd and carrying myself in an exciting way.

Do you get a lot of fan letters?

CC Well, we don’t get letters. Direct messages.

That’s what they’re called now, I guess.

CC I’ve heard the most incredible things from fans like, “Your music helped me get through…” and that’s what it’s all about. That’s what makes it a rewarding experience— because [otherwise] being an artist can be a selfish and egotistical profession to take on. Basically, what you’re doing is saying, “Hey, it’s me, take it, it’s good, I promise you.” And that’s what you do with your life. So, it can feel like you’re being selfish, but when you get messages from girls who are in high school they’re like, “I just broke up with my boyfriend,” or, “My dog just died and I listened to you a lot and cried and it really helped me get through it.” That’s what brings tears to my eyes and makes me so excited to do what I do.

Credits: PRODUCTION KIM POLLOCK AND YANN RZEPKA DIGITAL TECHNICIAN ALEX THEMISTOCLEOUS (MILK STUDIOS) PHOTO ASSISTANTS FRANK TERRY, MATT HARTZ, JAMES PERRY RETOUCHING DTOUCH EQUIPMENT MILK STUDIOS LOCATION QUIXOTE STUDIOS CATERING FOOD LAB

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