St. Louis based punk rock band Creature Illicit is young, but you wouldn’t know it listening to them. Fast-paced lyrics by Echo Morse give the band a maturity that’s difficult to find this early on in their music careers. Impose Magazine had the chance to talk to the duo about how they started and their new EP Enjoy the Night.
Note: This interview was conducted last December.
Please introduce yourselves, and what you do in the band.
Echo: I’m Echo, I sing and play guitar For Creature Illicit, and write the music.
Ronnie: I’m Ronnie, I play the bass guitar for Creature Illicit.
How long have you guys been around…as a band, not like, in life?
Echo: We hit the studio after two weeks of being a band on November the 13th in 2015. We’ve been playing shows 9 or 10 months now. Me and Ronnie were friends before that.
In that time, how many records have you made?
Echo: We’ve released one and have one that’s being mixed right now.
Two weeks is a pretty quick turnaround from when you formed and then started recording your first record, Ahead of the Curve. Did you guys already have an idea for the material or was it all written in that two weeks?
Echo: The ideas were definitely there and started to form ahead of time, but I don’t really want to say they were completely finished products before that because minor adjustments were still made and the song “Everyday Things” was written only about a week before recording it
Ronnie: Yeah, it was half way done.
Echo: Through the recording process, there are so many options. Nothing got really finalized until we hit the studio. The general ideas were there, the actual writing, yeah I would say it got done in that two week process. I took a lot of time prior to that starting the band and figuring out what we wanted.
What can you tell me about this new record, which you guys recorded a couple of months ago, correct?
Ronnie: Yeah, we got in the studio September 29.
Echo: Way more dense material. From the base lines to the backing vocals to the lyric concepts and transitions, theirs is much more depth to all of it. It’s not so cut in dry as the first one.
Ronnie: We had a little more time to add in things we wanted to do in the first EP that we couldn’t, which was exciting.
What are you most excited for people to hear on this new record?
Echo: I’m really excited for the lyric content. It’s still in your face and the general idea of punk rock. There’s other stuff in there too, but as far as what I’m excited to hear, the lyric content and the harmonies we have going on in the background are really exciting. And the guitar and baselines, there’s a lot of stuff I haven’t really heard much anyway else. It really sounds like we’re pushing to do our own thing. It doesn’t sound generic and like, old news. It sounds like we’re trying to push through to the other side and figuring out who we are. We’re starting to get there.
Ronnie: I’m excited to show them how we can change in different songs. Every song has it’s own personality, is what I like to say.
Echo: I’ll say too, this next record is very, very thought out. We did the first one in two weeks and we were like, “oh, okay, we can do that in two weeks.” That was pretty hefty for us because we really didn’t know. It was an experiment. We figured we could do it, but we didn’t know it would be as successful in terms of actually putting together a solid record. This time around, it’s constructed very much like a screenplay, and pretty much from start to finish, every song is different. In addition to the six new songs we’re releasing, there’s going to be two live recordings of songs from the last record. It all makes sense. The next song that comes at you, it makes sense that it’s that song. Pay attention to every detail. It’s good to not be in those two weeks anymore not knowing.
You mentioned you’re excited for the lyrics. Do you have a favorite one you can share?
Echo: There’s a song called “Chase the Edge.” There’s a line where I say, “I know the truth, but sometimes in the moonlit night I get confused.” There’s another one, “I’m chasing more, but I know not what I search for.”
Ronnie: “Hound”’s got some pretty good lyrics.
Echo: That whole song though, I can’t even single out a line because it all means so much to me.
Was there some sort of theme you wanted to make sure got across?
Echo: We just wanted it to be really in depth. The title of the record is “Enjoy the Night EP.” The first song I wrote after we recorded the first record was a song called “The Jitters,” and it just gave you that feeling of like, midnight alleyway, but at the same time the way it hit you it wasn’t too dark. It made you want to dance, it was cool jazzy stuff but also punk rock. After that the song, we wrote the entire record around that same sort of vibe. Street lights and night time, party, dance, but kind of old school. It’s hard to put a perfect finger on it.
Was there any specific inspiration going into the record?
Echo: The first record definitely inspired a lot. Where we’ve been at in our personal lives. We’re all in very different spots than we were when we recorded the first record. Just as individuals evolving into what we want to do, whether it’s our personal lives or just the situations we deal with everyday, just enjoy the night. I kind of do experiments with that title at work, just saying those words to people after they get their food, like “enjoy the night everybody!”. Just to see how it felt because it’s just a phrase, you know.
How did you guys get involved with music?
Echo: I grew up around music, but it was obvious at a young age that music was something I was definitely going to pursue. I didn’t start playing shows until 14 or 15. Since third grade, I knew though.
Ronnie: I’ve always grown up with music as well. I didn’t really think I would play in a band until I got a little more curious and started jumping from instrument to instrument until I found that the bass was the best one for me to play.
Echo: I don’t think either one of us comes from a family of musicians.
Ronnie: Once I started playing around with instruments, I started thinking about what it would be like to play in a band. I started researching a little more into bands, I watched concerts. I went to my first concert at age 6. I just knew I wanted to be on the stage since then. I always wanted to, and now I finally have that opportunity.
Do you remember what concert that was?
Ronnie: Yes, I do. I went to Springfield, Illinois to see Alice Cooper.
You were friends before. What made you decide to be in a band together?
Ronnie: I don’t know, we were friends for like five months?
Echo: Five or six months beforehand. I wouldn’t really say we were the tightest of friends or anything, but I’ve been around the scene. And the punk rock scene in St. Louis is a pretty tight nit community. It’s large, but spread out. So it’s not like everybody gets together on one night and goes out. There’s a big scene here, but it’s very rare everyone gets together. Over the course of being young and getting the chance to get out there, I knew a lot of people, and I knew one of his buddies from back in the day. I think Ronnie just heard what I was trying to do, who I was, that I was serious about being a musician, and I think Ronnie saw that. I was kind of iffy about it at first for sure.
Ronnie: I was pretty nervous. I didn’t know how to do any of it.
Echo: Like I said, neither one of us was super tight with the other. We just kind of new of each other. It took us a long time to figure stuff out, but he just asked me for a really long time and knew I was trying to start a band. Eventually, it kind of came to one of those things where I was like, “fuck it.” We’ll see what happens.
Ronnie: I bugged you enough.
Echo: Yeah, that’s basically what it was.
Explain the name.
Echo: A lot of bands have very generic names, that fit perfectly into whatever category or genre that band is classified under. We don’t want to only apply exclusively to punk rock, and that includes our name. It should leave you wondering. We didn’t want a name that makes it easy to classify our genre when our genre isn’t so easy to classify. The things I really thought of in terms of what our name should be was just something different. Something that sticks out. Like Led Zepplin. I think it was George Harrison who was giving either Robert Plant or Jimmy Page shit about how their name wouldn’t stick or it sucked, but then they blew up after that.
I kind of took that a lot into consideration because I personally don’t think a name is the most important thing anyways. But right off the bat, if you’re just reading that off of a flyer, it might be. If we can just spend an extra second in somebody’s mind when they’re considering coming to the show and all the other names just sound like they fit too much in the punk rock genre, maybe our name would stick out and help them decide to come. We just didn’t want to be so generic. And being different is a big part of what we do and I think our name represents that very well.
Check out Creature Illicit’s Facebook page for upcoming shows and new releases.