Can you tell us about the origin of the band name, a history of the band and a little bit about the various members?
Oooh, I don’t think I’ve ever been asked about “the origin” of the band name before, so this may be, “an exclusive”! The short answer is, that I took the band name from a song of the same name that I’d written for my previous band, Apathy, back in the early 1990’s. An adaptation of that same song actually made it to the debut Creation’s Tears album, Methods To End It All, and we had Sarah Jezebel Deva (previously of Cradle of Filth) lend her voice to it.
Now, here’s the “exclusive” bit, because you asked about “the origin”. I was maybe about 17 or 18 years old when myself and my good friend (who was the other guitarist in Apathy), spent an entire night sitting beside a lake, surrounded by a forest, at the end of a long lane, in the arsehole of nowhere, in what was still a very troubled Northern Ireland at that time. Let’s just say we were both fairly well intoxicated. We spent the whole night talking and much of that conversation was us expressing teenage angst; insecurities, problems with girlfriends and issues that tend to affect you at that age. The rain absolutely poured down, I mean relentlessly, that entire night, as if to set the tone for that discussion. Every time there was a pause in the discussion, there was just the sound of this torrential rain. I tend to write music and lyrics based on emotive, personal, real-life experiences, so that night inspired the lyric, “Creation’s Tears echo in the silence.” A few years later, when I needed a name for my new band, Creation’s Tears seemed to fit.
The history of the band; well, it’s patchy. I managed to pull some local lads together in summer 2002 to form Creation’s Tears and we quickly played our very first gig in October of that same year as the support act to Vader, Krisiun and Decapitated on the Belfast date of their tour. We went on to play a handful of local gigs thereafter, but when two of the members relocated, we split in 2004 / 2005.
After the split, I stopped playing guitar for a few years and then in early 2009, I got “the itch”. I hooked up with my lifelong friend and bassist Ian Coulter who had previously played in Apathy and Creation’s Tears. Now in my early thirties, I told him that I wanted to achieve my teenage dream of going to record a few songs with a top Metal producer in a country where the process of recording Metal music is really understood. Northern Ireland isn’t really reputed for churning out too many Metal classics (that’s not to say that there aren’t any gifted producers here, it’s just that Metal albums aren’t something that many of them are well versed in producing), so I had “Metal powerhouses” like England, Sweden or Germany in mind.
We didn’t yet have a drummer, so we started to advertise in the record shops and on some internet forums looking for a drummer here in Northern Ireland. The ads yielded no positive results – it was just fruitless, so I decided that we needed to “dream big”. Ian (the bassist) and I, sat down and started to listen to our favourite Metal albums. During that listening process, I remember saying to him something like; “if you could choose any drummer…?” The name that we both agreed on, was Lee Morris, who had played with Paradise Lost on what I’d consider to be their finest album, Draconian Times. Lee’s drumming on the opening track, Enchantment, had always really grabbed me musically.
Social media was a lot more primitive in 2009 than it is today and I didn’t know Lee Morris personally, so the job of tracking him down wasn’t easy. He had essentially disappeared from the heavy music scene following his departure from Paradise Lost, but luckily for us, we found out that he was teaching drum lessons at a music store in England. I managed to get Lee’s mobile number and I gave him a call. Keep in mind that for me, this is one of the drummers that I idolised in my teenage years, so the call was a bit of a fanboy moment for me and I’d imagine Lee thought I was a deranged stalker. He asked me to email him the Creation’s Tears demos, which I thought was him politely telling me to, “fuck off”. Much to my surprise, he liked the demos and he agreed to play on the recording with us.
Ian and I started looking for a studio and producer. Our goal was to record an EP – we hadn’t considered doing a full album at that point. Listening to the production on loads of our favourite albums, Sweden and the mighty duo of Jens Bogren and David Castillo (who produced the likes of Opeth, Katatonia, Sepultura, Soilwork etc) became the obvious choice. Jens Bogren suggested that we make a full album and when a man of that calibre makes a suggestion, you tend to listen.
Within a year of me recounting my teenage dream to my friend Ian Coulter, we were in the studio realising the dream and I’m proud of that fact to this day.
Are you all from the same area? How did you get together as a band?
The early line-up was all from within a 30 mile radius here in Northern Ireland. The latter line-up with which we recorded the album comprised of myself and Ian (both from Ballymena in Northern Ireland) and Lee Morris who lives across the sea in Wigan, England.
Who are your favourite artists/bands and how have they influenced your own sound?
Well, for me personally, it all started with the Metallica song Sanitarium. That’s the song that got me hooked on Metal. I think Hetfield definitely influenced my playing and singing. I also like twin guitar harmonies so albums like Heartwork by Carcass and Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son by Iron Maiden light me up. Then there’s the more morose stuff like Paradise Lost’s Icon and Draconian Times albums as well as the earlier Anathema stuff like Pentecost III and The Silent Enigma.
How have they influenced my sound? Hmm – I think that I started jamming along with the more accessible Metal albums of my generation by bands like; Metallica, Slayer and Megadeth and that was more about playing fast, “rocking out”, turning everything up and getting rid of frustration. I remember being highly impressed by Paradise Lost when Icon was released – I’d never heard anything like that before. That made me think that slow and mid-paced is cool too. Then a bassist I know introduced me to Anathema and I was just intrigued by the sadness of some of their melodies – that really changed how I thought about music. I think I have borrowed influences from all of them in some way or another.
Did you always have the ambition to be a musician and in a band or did you originally have other plans?
Since I reached my mid-teens, I think I had the ambition to be a Metal musician. I almost became a musician but then I ended up becoming a mediocre guitarist and a fairly average singer instead.
What songs or albums are on your current playlist?
I’ve turned into that cynical old bastard that I hoped I’d never become, so I’m always harking back to the classics like Master of Puppets, South of Heaven, Rust In Piece and suchlike. Recently I’ve been revisiting HIM’s Love Metal album, Ghost’s Impera album as well as Confessor’s hugely underrated Condemned album.
Current playlist – as past few days the latest Ne Obliviscaris song Equus – it’s 12 minutes long and it’s had several spins. There’s also a couple of tracks from Sleep Token getting more than one spin, Sepultura’s Quadra album, Mors Principium Est’s Seven album, Hate’s Erebos album and a couple of Gary Moore tracks – a mixed bag really.
Do you sing in the shower?
Not really nowadays. I like to take a good long shower as it’s one of the few places in my house where I get the freedom to listen to the music I want to hear. So, I go there for half an hour, crank up my Bluetooth speaker and rock out to something heavy!
Elsewhere in the house my 8 year old son has Raining Tacos on high volume, or my good lady is chanting along to Lewis Capaldi – there’s no hope for either of them! 😉
Do you have any plans for the band for this year and into next year?
Sadly not right at this moment, but I keep telling people to “watch this space” and I do really mean that. The band has been on a long hiatus. Just a couple of months after we released our debut, Methods To End It All album (over 12 years ago), I collapsed in Dublin and never really recovered from that. I just about physically managed to get through a couple of gigs but we’ve been on hiatus since 2011. I was diagnosed as having suffered from a Stroke and Epilepsy with damage to my central nervous system, so life really has changed a lot for me since Methods was released. I’m now part of a medical recall though and there’s a big question mark over the diagnosis, so I have some medical investigations coming up this year. Having said all of that, the itch to write and record is definitely there, it’s just more a case of whether or not I’m physically able; you folks know how physically demanding even singing a Metal song is let alone delivering a full album or a live set. I do remain hopeful though.
Do you currently have any new songs/albums ready to be released?
I’ve an iPhone full of ideas if that counts?
If you could play at any venue in the world where would you choose?
Can I be a bit presumptuous and pick three venues?
One would be the main stage at Donington – also a teenage dream.
Another would be London’s Hammersmith Odeon as it was once called. In my formative Metal years, I had a VHS tape of Metallica playing there on the Justice tour, so Hammersmith Odeon has always been on my radar.
It would be nice to be able to play Belfast’s Ulster Hall. I’ve seen so many great bands there, it’s visually stunning inside and it would be amazing to be successful enough to be able to play there to a home crowd.
Do you have a favourite album? If so, what is it?
It’s hard to choose just one – I like so many different styles of Metal. If you were to force me to have to listen to a handful of albums on repeat every day for infinity though, and you told me that I couldn’t choose Master of Puppets, then I’d maybe go for HIM’s Love Metal, Cradle of Filth’s Dusk and Her Embrace, Dark Tranquillity’s Damage Done and Anathema’s The Silent Enigma – I’m sure I’ve left out something equally awesome, but I’m thinking on my feet here.
Do you have any guilty pleasure songs/albums?
Hmm, songs; my son recently discovered Elton John’s big hit, I’m Still Standing – gotta confess to loving that one myself as it was one of the first 7” records I owned when I was a child. Dolly Parton, Jolene – who doesn’t like that one? – that opening guitar lick is outstanding! Miley Cyrus and Mark Ronson, Nothing Breaks Like A Heart – Miley’s voice is like a warm mug of hot chocolate on a cold winter’s night. There ye go, it’s all out in the open now.
If you were putting together the greatest show on earth, who would be playing?
Fantasy stuff, but, the classic Slayer line-up with Jeff Hanneman RIP and Dave Lombardo. I’d also have the classic Megadeth line-up playing; Mustaine, Nick Menza RIP, Marty Friedman and Dave Ellefson. A 1980’s incarnation of Metallica with Newsted / Burton RIP. Dusk era Cradle of Filth to stir shit up. Anathema playing either The Silent Enigma or Judgement album in full. Creation’s Tears would be jamming in the car park for you folks arriving. 😉
Can you remember the first album you bought with your own money? What was it and do you still have it?
I remember it vividly. It was in late October 1988 that I went to the record store, Uneda Disc in Ballymena, to buy Metallica’s Master of Puppets album on cassette. That album changed my life! I’ve moved house a few times since the 80’s, but I believe it’s still in a box of cassette tapes in my attic – sacrilege, I must bring it down.
As your fans will be reading this, is there any message you would like to send out to them?
It’s a cliché to say it, but Creation’s Tears has some of the best supporters that any band could ever wish for. The number of friendships that I’ve seen people form through a mutual love of our music really blows me away. Thanks to each and every one of you for sticking with us throughout such a long period of inactivity. To every single one of you who has reached out to see how I’m doing and for all the messages asking us when we might record a second album, these really do not go unnoticed – it really does mean a lot; it’s humbling, it’s encouraging and it helps to keep me strong. I really do hope we deliver more music to you again in the future. Sincere thanks to you all.
Finally, let us know all your social media sites so your fans, old and new, can find and follow/like you!
We’re definitely not as active as we should be, but we’d love your support and I really am hoping there will be some positive news in the not too distant future, so please join us now and be the first to know about it, at:
We, at The Metal Asylum, would like to thank you for your time. Is there is anything further that you would like to add?
Thanks to you folks at The Metal Asylum for your support, passion and enthusiasm. Did I say passion?…I meant PASSION! People like you really do help to keep our Metal scene alive, so your support is invaluable. Thank you for continuing to spin those Creation’s Tears tracks. It really is my hope that I’ll be sending you some new music soon! Cheers!
Photo credit: Ryan Ball.
This interview is purely the property of The Metal Asylum