Creech: Four men and many instruments

Four men and many instruments occupy a nearly 100-year-old house in the Sunnyland neighborhood. There is an apple tree in the back, a toilet that has been broken since they moved in, a stove that once caught fire, a Biggie Smalls poster on the wall, and temperatures that are always bitter cold. The roommates play in a band together, and they call themselves Creech.

Creech is comprised of keyboard and vocalist Rob Paulson, guitarist Mike Graves, percussionist Will Paulson and bassist Jack Aldrich.

Will described the music as “piano-driven sad pop.” He noted a past review that compared them to Explosions in the Sky or Modest Mouse, but he disagrees. The meat of the music is the deep piano-driven melodies that Rob writes, that Will  described as the “mashed potatoes” of the band.

“Aldrich is the gravy,” Will said.

Brothers Rob and Will have been playing together with Graves for years. Aldrich, who has a background playing metal, joined the band last year. Before, it was Will alone driving the rhythm of the band.

“He (Aldrich) added a lot of balls to our sound,” Rob said. Aldrich is a technically incredible player, Will added, and plays a 6-string bass.

Rob writes the skeleton of the music, the basic piano melodies and words. He said a song doesn’t begin to take shape until Will puts drums to it; his drumming determines the feel of the song. Then the rest of the band adds their expertise.

“Graves brings the magic and breathes life [in]to it, and Aldrich always has a funky bass line to go with it,” Rob said.

Rob’s inspiration for writing lyrics coms from many places. He said he is currently working a job where he can sit, write and think for hours, and has also read quite a few sci-fi novels, which gave him some ideas. Also, the brothers’ religious upbringing has played a major role in the lyrical content of their music, like their songs “Hate” and “Ash Wednesday.”

“Creech has a lot of religious references and illusions,” Will said. “You’re feeling guilty and kind of liberated at the same time. It’s really emotional stuff.”

Rob said he is fascinated by learning about religion.

“Our parents are Christian and they are not dumb,” Rob said. “What drives them to believe and have faith is interesting.”

Rob also writes and records solo music. He will lock himself in his room for days and come out with a new album recorded, Will said.

“His solo stuff is really good,” Will said. “Dare I say better than Creech.”

The group moved from Spokane to Bellingham over the last few years. Will came to Bellingham first to go to school, and dropped out and moved back to Spokane.

“There’s a big demographic of people who went to school just because that’s what you do,” Will said. “Now we are just trying to figure out what to do.”

When Rob and Graves graduated high school, the three of them considered moving to Seattle, but instead moved to Bellingham together.

“We all really love Bellingham,” Will said. “Especially for a small band starting out, it would be really easy to get swallowed and overwhelmed if we moved to Seattle.”

Will and Rob said living together and playing in a band as brothers has never been a problem. They even work at the same place.

“Rob and I might have been brothers in a past life, we’ve always been working together on different stuff,” Will said. “We are more like friends than brothers.”

The band is self-signed to cassette label Haze Tapes, which the Paulson brothers started in 2011. They started the company because they wanted to put their music on physical media, but vinyl is too expensive for their budget and “CDs are lame,” Rob said. So the pair started a cassette label when they discovered how cheap and easy it is to make mix-tapes.

Will described the label as more of a record printing-press than label, noting they don’t produce or mix music. Haze Tapes has worked with other local bands like Clubscouts to get their music in physical media, and will be releasing material for other local Bellingham bands soon.

In addition to cassette tapes, the quartet’s music can be downloaded for free on their bandcamp website.

“We don’t believe in charging for online music,” Will said.

Creech is currently working on their new album, due in the spring.