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Day Creeper interview with Aaron Troyer

Treading a thin line, maybe a nonexistent line in fact, between punk and good old fashioned 60’s and 70’s garage rock, Columbus, Ohio’s Day Creeper bleed a DIY aesthetic honed over the last half-decade.  Their debut full-length Hell Is Real is no exception.  Recorded at home, the long delayed album is finally available via the geniuses out at Tic Tac Totally, the guys behind The Hussy’s Weed Seizure one of the best albums of 2012 without a doubt, and makes no compromises with the production or songwriting on any level.  Hell Is Real is definitely Day Creeper’s album and no one else’s.  Fiercely original and fairly prolific despite minimal output, while they were waiting to put out the Hell Is Real album they self-released the Raging Beast 7” EP during their latest tour, Day Creeper show no signs of slowing down anytime soon!  Founding member Aaron Troyer took some time to fill me in on the details of where Day Creeper came from and where they’re headed.  So take a seat, get comfy, stick on some tunes and enjoy an article why don’t you?
Listen while you read:

What is the band’s current lineup?  Have you always had this lineup or have there been some changes over time?

Right now, it’s me playing guitar and singing, Dan plays drums, and Laura plays bass and sings occasionally.  Day Creeper started as a two piece, with me playing guitar and singing and my oldest friend Shawn playing drums.  Laura joined a year later and threatened to hit Shawn with her bass, so he jumped ship.  Dan joined three years ago or so and has been holding it down since.  Laura’s also pretty mean to Dan, but he likes it.

Are any of you in any other bands at this point?  I know it’s pretty common place for people to be in several groups at one time these days.  Have you released any material with any other bands?  If so can you tell us about it?

Laura plays drums in Bloody Show.  They’re relatively new and they haven’t released any music yet, but they do kick ass.  Dan plays in Turquoise Feeling, who have a tape out on Snow Clone.  I played drums in Outer Spacist, but we aren’t playing currently.  We had a couple 7”s and tapes out as well as an unreleased album or two.

Where are you all originally from?

I’m from a smaller town in mid-Ohio.  Laura’s from a small town in Pennsylvania and Dan is from a small town in Maine.  We all came to Columbus to fulfill our rock and roll dreams, and get useless degrees.

Were your households very musical growing up?  Were your parents or any of your relatives musicians or very involved/interested in music?

My parents weren’t really very musical, but they always supported me in my artistic endeavors and pretend to be interested in my music.  My mom likes stuff like Sheryl Crow, but my dad likes some pretty cool music like Johnny Cash and Neil Young.

What was your first real exposure to music?

My parents got a BMG music subscription in the early 90’s, the kind where you get eleven CDs for a dollar, but you also sign a contract and promise to buy a CD every month for the rest of your life.  They let me pick one CD and I chose Aerosmith’s Pump.  It changed my life.  I didn’t give a shit about anything but Aerosmith for about three years after that. I was hooked.  I got their Greatest Hits, Get a Grip, and Gems soon after that.  I got to see them with my Mom’s coworker when I was twelve on the Get a Grip tour, which in hindsight was kind of weird, but was an awesome show.  Jackyl opened for them and did a chainsaw solo, which I thought was super badass at the time.  I still love most Aerosmith and don’t give a shit about what anyone says, Jackyl sucks pretty hard though.

When did you decide that you wanted to start writing and playing your own music?

I’ve been writing, playing and recording my own music since I was a teenager.  I just love doing it and I will never stop.

When and how did you all meet?

Laura and Dan played in Night of Pleasure together.  Laura lived with members of Outer Spacist and they would have parties and shows and we all became friends through those.

What led you to form Day Creeper and when exactly was that?

I had been playing in a few bands since moving to Columbus in 2004 but never really had a band where I was the writing all the songs.  Day Creeper came out of just wanting to play my songs out live rather than making recordings on my own.  It’s much more gratifying to play with other people.

What does the name Day Creeper mean and how did you go about choosing the name?

I wrote a song called “Day Creeper” about a fictional weirdo/lurker that would, you know, do creepy shit.  I thought it sounded pretty cool, so I decided it would be a good band name.

Who are some of your major musical influences?

Well, Aerosmith obviously, Neil Young, Rolling Stones, Modern Lovers, Cheap Trick, The Stooges, Curtis Mayfield, MC5, The Kinks, Bruce Springsteen, The Jam, Stiff Little Fingers, Velvet Underground, The Nerves, Ike and Tina, Leonard Cohen, The Ramones, Gram Parsons, Richard Hell, Prince, Big Star, Radio Birdman, Skip Spence/Moby Grape, Pretty Things, New York Dolls, Johnny Thunders, Wilson Pickett, Dictators, The GC5 (hometown heroes!), Swingin Utters, early Hellacopters, Townes Van Zandt, Flamin Groovies, The Replacements, Wire, Bowie, Dead Boys, Love, New Bomb Turks, Hunches, Thomas Function, Home Blitz, Total Control.  I’m gonna stop there.

Can you tell us about Day Creeper’s songwriting process?  Is there a lot of jamming and exchanging ideas or does someone come to the rest of you with a riff or a more finished product to work on and finish with the rest of you?

I will usually have a verse/chorus written, we will play it a few times, talk about structure or whatever, then I’ll finish the lyrics and we’ll flesh it out from there.

Do you all enjoy getting into the studio and recording?  As a musician I think we all love the end product.  There’s not a lot that can beat holding that album in your hands knowing it’s your music and you made it.  Getting into the studio though, it can be a little bit rough though.  How is it in the studio for you all?

We operate better in a home-recording set-up.  It’s more relaxed and there’s less pressure to get everything done on time.  We’re really picky and temperamental when it comes to recording.  We’ve only done one “official” studio recording and, while it was a good experience, you always feel like you’re on someone else’s schedule and that every minute wasted is money down the drain.  I’m really cheap, so I’d rather just do it myself or with friends who don’t charge “pro” rates.  I also really enjoy doing overdubs in my own basement where I can really experiment with different set-ups and approaches.

How do you approach studio time?  Do you do a lot of preparation and composing songs or do you just play things more by ear and get done what you can and let the chips fall where they may?

We just practice a bunch of songs until we think they’re ready and then figure out a way to record them.  Sometimes the recordings work, sometimes they don’t.  We have a lot of recordings that will never see the light of day for various reasons.

In 2008 you released your debut single a split 7” with Night of Pleasure.  What are your memories of recording that first single?  When was that material recorded?  Where was it recorded?  Who recorded it?  What kind of equipment was used during the recording?

That was Shawn and I recording in my old basement on a Tascam 488.  We recorded drums and guitar live and then I overdubbed bass, vocals and glockenspiel.  It turned out pretty cool, I think.

Who released that Night Of Pleasure split?  Was that a limited release?

We did it ourselves.  There were 300 copies.

You followed up that split single with the Blah 7” EP on Tic Tac Totally Records in 2010.  Can you talk a little bit about recording that material for that EP?  Was it very different than the session(s) for the Night of Pleasure split?

Yea, we recorded that EP, along with a bunch of other songs with Nick Schuld on reel-to-reel and lots of other nice equipment.  Nick is a total sound-nerd and knows how to make shit sound real good.  That was the last release with Shawn playing drums, although we did another recording session with him that’s buried in Nick’s computer.  Nick also recorded and mixed the bulk of the full-length that just came out. 

Was that EP limited?  Is that still in print?

I just Googled it.  It’s still available on Midheaven and E-bay.

You recently self-released your Raging Beast 7” EP.  After having worked with a label, why self-release the new EP?  Is it a limited release?

Matt at Tic-Tac-Totally is an awesome guy and super passionate about good music, it just took him a really long time to get the LP out.  So, while we were waiting we recorded more music, liked it, and decided to put it out ourselves.  We mainly did it in order to have something to sell on our last tour.  We also pressed 300 of that EP.

Can you tell us about the recording of the material for the Raging Beast 7”?  When and where was it recorded?  Who recorded it?  What kind of equipment was used in the recording?

We recorded it in Laura’s basement with Elijah Vazquez on the same Tascam 488 that the first EP and the LP were recorded on.  I think we did it in February of 2013.

If I understand correctly you have an upcoming LP on Tic Tac Totally coming sometime soon.  Is there any news on when that album is going to be released or what it will be titled?

It’s called Hell Is Real and it is out now!!!!!!!

Did you try anything radically new or different in the writing or recording of the new album?  What can our readers expect from the new album?  When was the material recorded?  Who recorded it?  Where was it recorded at?  What kind of equipment was used in the recording process?

It was all done on the Tascam 488.  It was recorded in various basements and living rooms in Columbus during 2011.  It took a long time for it to be birthed and we’re really proud of it.  We are planning on recording again this winter and have more than enough songs for another LP.

Can we take two-seconds to talk about Aaron’s side project Day Creep.  How many releases are there under that moniker?  How did those originally come about?  Are they material that didn’t fit or work with the rest of the band or were they composed solely for the Day Creep project?

I’ve done a handful of CDR’s and two tapes on Snow Clone, a small tape label in Columbus run by my friend Jesse. They’re songs I recorded on my own because I enjoy spending time alone in my basement for extended periods of time.  I also finished a full-length this year called Through the Void.  I’m dropping the “Day Creep” name because it’s confusing/stupid and just going with my God-given name on this album.  It may or may not be released at an unforeseen time in the future.  I also might just put it up on Bandcamp for the hell of it.  I’m pretty proud of it.

Does Day Creeper have any music that we haven’t talked about yet?

Oh yeah, tons.  Most of it sucks and nobody will ever hear it!

Are there any plans for any other releases planned or on the horizon at this point?

No plans, but like I said, we will be recording this winter.  Ohio winters can be pretty long and depressing, which makes for great art and music.

Where’s the best place for our U.S. readers to purchase your music?

Midheaven mail-order for the Tic Tac Totally releases, e-mail for the Raging Beast EP, or get one through Florida’s Dying, Sorry State, Grave Mistake, Permanent Records or Underground Medicine.  There might be a couple others that I’m forgetting.

What about our international and overseas readers considering the insane recent postage rate hikes?

Midheaven, I guess.  Also, I can just e-mail people Mp3s if shipping sucks.

Where’s the best place for our readers to keep up with the latest news like upcoming shows and music releases at?

We post things on Facebook sometimes and will put samples of releases on Bandcamp.

Having dealt with a record label as well as releasing your own material what are the upsides and downsides to working with a label?  What about doing it yourself?

Working with a label is great because you don’t have to pay for it and you get a bunch of free records.  Also, Matt at Tic Tac Totally gets the word out really good too.  Waiting for records can be a pain, but they’re free so I’m not gonna complain.  That’s like complaining about a free lunch because it wasn’t your favorite sandwich.  Who cares?!?!  Buy your own goddamn sandwich!  The DIY approach is fine, but it’s expensive and you gotta work really hard to get the records out there.  We’re kind of lazy and don’t tour a whole bunch, so it takes a while.

Does Day Creeper have any goals that they are trying to achieve in 2013?

Not really; playing, recording, a little touring here and there.  The LP’s out, so I feel a sense of fulfillment right now as far as my musical endeavors go.

What do you have planned as far as touring goes for the rest of the year?

Nothing really.  We might do a weekend or two.  We’ll probably get out on the road in early 2014.

You have played with some seriously cool bands, Nobunny is absolutely phenomenal!  Who are some of your favorites that you’ve had a chance to share a stage with?

Thomas Function, So Cow, Home Blitz, Davila 666, Estrogen Highs as well as many others that I am having trouble thinking of at the time.  Also, we’ve played with lots of great Columbus bands; Guinea Worms, Turquoise Feeling, Nervosas, Cheater Slicks, Pink Reason and Messrs to name a few.

Do you have any funny or interesting stories from live shows that you’d like to share with our readers?

Old weird drunk dudes always hit on Laura, which is pretty entertaining for everyone except Laura.  A guy in Atlanta gave us fifty-bucks to “jam” with him for about two minutes in the basement of a Nashville Pussy show.  He was really lewd and said some really gross stuff to Laura, but he gave us fifty-bucks which was more than we got paid playing in a basement at a Nashville Pussy show, so that was cool.

Who are you on tour with in your dreams?


I collect music.  I don’t do it because I think it’s trendy or to pass the time.  To me each piece of music that I own is a piece of artwork to be admired and enjoyed, dissected and absorbed.  Having something physical to hold in my hands, artwork to look at, liner notes to read.  Not only does it serve for a glimpse into the mind of the artist who created it but it makes for a more complete listening experience, at least for me.  Do you have any such connection with physical releases?

I like records a lot.  Mp3’s are nice because I download them for free and stealing digital music is so easy, but yeah, I like records the most.

Looking at your back catalog the answer would seem to be apparent, but with the wide array of choices available to artists today I’m always curious why musicians choose the mediums that they do for their releases and why.  Do you have a preferred medium of release for your music?  What about when you are buying and listening to music?

Records are ideal, but sometimes a tape or CDR is just quicker and cheaper.

Do you have a music collection at all?  If so can you tell us about it?

I’ve got a bunch of records and CDs, there’s a little bit of everything.  Lots of 60’s and 70’s rock, soul, folk and punk.

If you can’t tell I’m passionate about music and music collecting.  When digital music first came on the scene I didn’t really know what to make of it.  It allows me to take my entire music collection on the go but I feel like it makes music more of a disposable experience, far less tangible.  I guess there are two main schools of thought on the subject, on one hand it exposes me to a whole world of music that I would never otherwise have the chance to listen to.  On the other hand it’s destroying decades of infrastructure inside the music industry.  As an artist during the reign of the digital era what’s your opinion on digital music and distribution?

Like I said earlier, Mp3s are for stealing in my opinion.  If I really like something, I’ll buy the record.  I have a day job and don’t ever anticipate making any real money in the music industry, but that would be pretty cool.

I try to keep up with as much good music and I can, I spend hours every week pouring over submissions and doing research online as well as bin diving at the local shop trying to find my next favorite band.  Some of the best bands I’ve found though haven’t been from my own research but from recommendations from hip musicians such as you.  Who should I be listening to from your local scene or area that I might not have heard of before?

The bands I mentioned earlier are all great.  Columbus has got it goin’ on.  Also, EYE is a really great band.

Thanks so much for doing this interview, I know it was kind of a war of attrition but I really dig your sound and hope you dug the interview.  Is there anything that I missed or that you’d just like to talk about?

Nah, I think we covered everything!

(2008)  Day Creeper/Night Of Pleasure – Day Creeper/Night Of Pleasure Split – 7” – Self-Released (Limited to 300 copies)
(2010)  Day Creeper – Blah EP – 7” – Tic Tac Totally
(2013)  Day Creeper – Raging Beast EP – 7” – Self-Released (Tour EP Limited to 300 copies)
(2013)  Day Creeper – Hell Is Real – Tic Tac Totally

Interview made by Roman Rathert/2013
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