"It’s something to be proud of": Creeper's Will Gould on what it means to be goth

To mark World Goth Day (May 22), Creeper and Salem's Will Gould reflects on the importance of the subculture…

"It’s something to be proud of": Creeper's Will Gould on what it means to be goth
Nick Ruskell
Andy Ford

“I think I've always thought differently, I've always felt differently, and I never really fit in when I was in school or anywhere else. But I think finding goth subculture is so important to young people, I think like mosher music in general, aside from just the ‘Gothic Lane’, finding something that you really feel that you've been in, especially when you didn't fit in anywhere else, is such an amazing thing for a young person to do. I think it's really, really healthy. I think teaches a lot about the world and how we deal with other people. It’s funny, isn't it? Because Andrew Eldritch from The Sisters Of Mercy is supposed to be the grandfather of goth, and he completely hated the term – but I think it’s something to be proud of.

“I think it starts as an aesthetic choice, when you're younger, and it kind of goes along with music and the things you're into. But like over time, it's become a real lifestyle for me and [my girlfriend] Charlotte, like going to different club nights, and kind of existing outside of the norm. It's funny, because when you get jobs as you get older, you always have that guy who’s like, ‘So are you a goth? What do you do? Do you drink blood?’ That’s still really funny to me. But now, all these years after being in school, I'm still painting my nails and wearing make-up any time I go anywhere, I’m still very much involved in that subculture. I guess it really wasn't a phase. I guess my mum was wrong.

“I thought the Lil Nas X video recently [MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)] was great. Even though it’s hip-hop, there’s themes of goth seeping through into that. And it annoyed so many people. We’re living in the middle of a pandemic, and it’s so funny that with everything else going on, people got so offended by that. I love it! He’s twerking the Devil. That’s the ultimate goth thing!

“It's so weird that fundamentalist religious groups get so mad about shit like that as well. I remember when we did that. Creeper have been having this weird, ongoing feud with the Westboro Baptist Church for a while. Back in 2017 we were on the Warped Tour, and we got protested by the Westboro Baptist Church. They were picketing the festivals, so we picketed it back, along with a bunch of other punk bands. Anyway, we got into this really heated exchange with them on the internet, and they tweeted that we're, “100% Satanic – all they have is death.” So we just had to get that printed on a T-shirt. They’re protesting us, but that literally plays into our whole schtick anyway! I'm gonna carry on going as well, we get the paper out to me and we don't get another message from the Westboro Baptist Church, obviously.

“I think it's always going to be there. It's a very big part of people's lives. You think about like, Dave Vanian from The Damned – they were the first goth-punk band, I suppose. He opened up the door for a lot of people. I think it helps people express themselves a lot of the time as well. Or, like, being confused about your gender and what you're into when you find yourself being attracted to a man wearing make-up – you're comfortable to explore that side of yourself, and the culture actually allows for that as well. I think it's about finding out where you fit in in the world, and being comfortable in yourself.”

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