Music/Interviews

Cherry Glazerr envision a radical future where we stop hating ourselves

Clementine “Clembutt” Creevy, the principal guitar-wielder in the L.A. fuzz punk outlet, wants us to be softer to ourselves, and firmer about practicing the feminism that we preach.

Credit: Kate Killet
July 16, 2019

I first fell in love with Los Angeles punk outfit Cherry Glazerr after hearing their song “Grilled Cheese.” I too am a connoisseur of that carbs-plus-dairy delight, and the band’s ode to my fave snack quickly won me over. But as I’ve grown, so has Cherry Glazerr. Now I find myself more in love with the act than ever, relating to (and favouring) their newer, more emotionally raw material that lyrically, bites harder than a simple homage to snacks.

Since forming in 2013, the noise-pop outfit led by Clementine “Clembutt” Creevy have gained a devoted collection of fans, toured with Slowdive, The Breeders, and Portugal. The Man, and have hit most major stops on the summer festival circuit. On their debut record Haxel Princess, they polished up their production and expanded their thematic horizons. Their second album,  Apocalipstick, anchored their brand of guitar-driven fuzz to big ambitions and a social mission to tackle feminist issues.

Now six years after their thunderous entrance onto the scene, in the cold months of February, the band released Stuffed and Ready. Aptly titled, the record is filled to the brim with sonic guitar smashes designed to ground you with their riffs, and empowering fuck-yous to the bullshit of ennui and the patriarchy. Throughout it all, Clem turns teenage confidence on its head, revealing the importance of careful reflection.

Backstage at Toronto’s Velvet Underground, tucked in a quiet and hard to find corner, we spoke to Creevy about the commodification of feminism, prioritizing self-care, and positivity as an act of resistance. And also, learning about praxis from Vanderpump Rules.

A.SIDE: What is your favorite way to fuck up, or fuck with, the patriarchy?

Clementine Creevy: Great question! My ultimate act of defiance is simply seeing femmes as capable and equal beings, and practicing a treatment of them that is equal to that of men. I feel like in order to manifest real change, you just have to start practicing seeing women as capable in your own mind and therefore, changing the minds of the people around you.

How do you take control of the male gaze with your work? 

A lot of the visuals that we [use] in the show and the music is made by me and other women artists. Like, I’m just realizing now that our props and our visuals are made by femmes, which I hadn’t even realized before just now. In that way we’ve kind of taken control of the stage.

Whatever you as an artist put out will be what the audience sees, so I think every little bit matters. It’s a top-down situation, so if the person at the top is creating a certain type of culture, that seeps through the floorboards a little bit. 

How do you regain power when you feel powerless?  

By making music, always. What’s funny is that I surprised myself by always writing new songs all the time, like every other couple of days. I’ve been writing like that since I was five years old. I am always playing guitar and it’s my greatest fear that I’m never going to write another song because I’m just like, “oh shit, is it over for me?” It’s so scary. It’s this weird impending doom in my mind. I guess [it’s] because what I love to do has turned into a career for me, which is scary and weird. This isn’t something that I planned on, it just naturally evolved into this. It is sort of a neurotic place to be, to wrap up my, like, success and purpose in making music.

That really speaks to how powerful making music is for you. How do you deal with anxiety on the road, where you might not have the mental space, or the personal space, or the freedom to stretch in all the ways you need to? 

That’s a great question. It’s all about practicing certain things in your mind, trusting yourself, and not beating yourself up. That comes in handy on the road a lot. If you practice it everyday, everything around you is easier if your head is in a good place. Thinking about what you’re grateful for and thinking about awesome stuff that happened to you that day. And obviously choosing the right people to be around you. That is really essential. I’ve learned that through the years.

It totally makes a very big difference, in a very big way. It’s a big mood changer in general when you surround yourself with people that remind you to see the positive, or can remind you that you’re awesome verses being around people who just are like “Everything sucks” all the time. 

Yeah that’s too easy right now. 

It’s hard to be fucking happy.

Yeah it totally is. I feel like in this day and age and the age of Trump it’s so easy to be negs. I just find it to be too easy. 

And there are so many like self-hating memes in this current culture reminding us that “we’re trash” and such. 

I don’t like that either. It bums me out. Being self-deprecating can be hilarious, and awesome, and fun, and definitely something that I do and share with my friends. But that’s something you should share in a reclamatory way. Not something you post on Instagram for likes. I have gotten into this zone of, like, seeing some super unfunny self-deprecating memes and being like, “okay this is fucking sad.”

Real feminism is still radical and the fact that feminism has been co-opted by corporations is difficult and harmful to the actual movement.

Clementine “Clembutt” Creevy

It almost becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Tricky but important to try and stay conscious about. What would you tell your 17-year-old self, when Cherry Glazerr was first getting noticed in the press and getting notoriety? 

Let yourself be joyous about the joyful moments and don’t try to don’t try to act so cool about everything.

How does one stay punk and keep your feminism intersectional as the band gets more well-known and the project grows bigger? How do you stay punk while pushing into the mainstream? 

The only thing that you can do, because you can’t change your environment around you is, is practice a way of seeing femmes and womxn as capable and equal beings. And [then] you will create a culture around you that practices that as well. The bigger and bigger things have gotten for us, there have been more hiccups with misogyny happening at our shows and they’re always the odd ones out. I try to remember that because we’ve worked hard to create a culture that does not support misogyny. I love our fans so much, and I feel so grateful, and lucky to have such awesome fans. I love them all. We have, like, the best fans ever. So that’s a plus side.

Your audience keeps you rooted and will remind you both what you’re fighting for, and that every opportunity is an opportunity. Every bit matters if you can make a more positive more progressive choice. How can you push that mission further? 

You can create a real strength if you practice something in your mind and then manifest that into reality. It [becomes]  unwavering then, because nothing about it is dishonest. But I do like your question, because I’m not so quick to congratulate mainstream feminism. I don’t think it exists. I think feminism has been co-opted by corporations. Real feminism is still radical and the fact that feminism has been co-opted by corporations is difficult and harmful to the actual movement. It is definitely a major issue and a problem and something that I don’t have answers for. But really I do have one answer, and that’s just like I said, practice what you want to see in the world. 

People can be afraid about “being more feminist” but it’s encouraging and empowering to get in deeper and learn more.

I mean, I’m a little bit of a snob with feminism because I’m like, “Okay, well who have you read?” It is a theory. For example, I watch Vanderpump Rules and in this like recent season, the cast are all being like, “That’s feminism and that’s not! We are feminists!” I liked better when they were ignorant and just like “Fuck you, whore!’ That was funny and  at least [they] were being [themselves]. But now there’s this weird self-conscious guise.

CREDIT: Kate Killet

It’s about doing the work and actually using those connections to create change.

Exactly. It’s about a practice. It’s not about anything other than that. It’s still radical. The reality of putting men and women on an equal political social and economic footing is still radical. 

Which is bonkers. 

Yeah it is! It’s so bonkers and it’s so fucked up. People are into it and want it but there’s so much ingrained misogyny to work through. I’m still working through my toxic misogyny within myself. I still have sexism that I have to work through as a person who has grown up under the patriarchy, and that’s something I have to work on every day. 

On that note, what makes you a “Wasted Nun”?

“Wasted Nun” is a song that is about a character. It’s about this woman who wants to harness the power of the universe, but her self-destructive tendencies get in the way of that. I think it’s one side of myself. I think I can be just self-destructive in this way of being, just having dark thoughts. 

And giving in to that “what does it matter” shit?

Exactly. 

What kind of daddi are you singing about in “Daddi”? 

“Daddi” is a totally satirical song about how I felt in a relationship where I was a feminist but it felt so much easier said than done. I felt myself succumbing to a lot of subservient types of tendencies within the relationship. 

Indeed we’ve been brainwashed to want to please. The album is called Stuffed and Ready. What are you stuffed with? And is that what you want to be stuff with? If not, what would you what would you rather be stuff with? 

I think I’m stuffed with… Hmm… A lot of confusion about myself. And I want to be stuffed with…  Boldness and self-sufficiency. 

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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