"The wedding dress? That's long gone. We used to cover it in blood, so it got a little bit mouldy." Five minutes with Creeper keyboardist/vocalist, Hannah Greenwood

Hannah Greenwood
(Image credit: Steve Bright)

As the beloved keyboardist and occasional powerhouse vocalist for dramatic Southampton vamp-punks Creeper, Hannah Greenwood's role in the band both on stage and in the studio has only grown as their star has continued to rise. We sat down with Greenwood for a no-messing, five-minute chat that managed to cram in everything from bloody wedding dresses and unlikely stand-up careers to life in the NHS.

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How did you get into singing? What was your earliest singing memory?

“Well, I started off playing the violin – I actually got up to a grade 8 [the highest recognised skill for a violinist]. Then I learnt the piano and part of the theory exam is singing. My piano teacher was also a vocal coach, so she asked if I’d ever considered singing and I thought I could give it a go. So I’m a classically trained vocalist. I applied to study it further, but they said my voice wasn’t mature enough and to return in a year. But, by then, I wanted to do something more contemporary…”

How do you bring that classical training into Creeper?

“I was head chorister and lead soprano at my school, so I’m good at constructing all the choral harmonies. I essentially layer my vocals – those ridiculously high notes in Cry To Heaven aren’t pitch-shifted, they’re me! It works well, because Creeper is obviously very theatrical.”

Are you a very theatrical person yourself?

“I’m a big musical theatre fan. I did quite a lot of theatre as a kid, classic stuff like Grease. I wish I’d kept up my acting. It’s been nice amping up the theatrics for live shows. The backstage chaos reminds me of school plays – running backstage, fighting your way out of an outfit, get your make-up sorted, run back out…”

The wedding dress you’ve knocked out a few times for Crickets is lovely!

“Sadly that’s long gone. We used to cover it in blood, so it got a little bit mouldy…”

What was it like when you had to fill in for your singer Will in 2022 at Rise Fest?

“My biggest problem is talking to the crowd. I’m not scared of it, exactly… I’m just a bit of a joker when I’m nervous. It’s a running joke in Creeper that I’m banned from making jokes onstage. So I tried desperately to not let that come out - then things started to go wrong. We started to have technical issues, so I had to fill the time with rambling. I think people find it endearing, luckily. But mine and Will’s personalities on stage are really different – I love having the moments where it’s just me and the crowd, but I like retreating and hiding behind my keyboard.”

Would you ever do solo stuff?

"Knowing me, if I ever did a solo thing it would turn into a stand-up routine with a few songs thrown in. I was working on some stuff a couple of years ago, but it’s finding the time to do it. Creeper is my main focus, but I also work part-time when I’m not on tour.”

Is it grounding, having a normal job alongside Creeper?

“I love being surrounded by musicians, but working with the NHS, you’re just surrounded by people that don’t know anything about that world. I’m out in the countryside, so when people find out they ask if I ‘play down at the local pub?’ and I’m like ‘not quite…’”

How’s it out in the countryside?

“I’ve always been a proper country bumpkin - love walks, love clay pigeon shooting, love horses. The dream for me is cuddling up with a cat to watch Midsomer Murders, but I’m always out on tour. We can’t even have a fish. Can’t even have those little sea monkey things that people had in the 90s.”

Wait…are they alive?

“I read an article about how kids were really cruel to them. They were alive and kids never fed them. They kind of just looked like little floating worms, I never thought about it. We were kids, we didn’t know! I asked my mum for some at the time, but she got me a Tamagotchi instead. When they got banned at school, my mum used to look after mine and my brother’s Tamagotchis all day. Recently she was like ‘I cannot describe to you how much I hated it. I knew you would be distraught if I let them die, but they were constantly beeping and bleating and screaming at me.’”

Ah, the weight of parenthood.

“It was a labour of love, bless her.”

Emily Swingle

Full-time freelancer, part-time music festival gremlin, Emily first cut her journalistic teeth when she co-founded Bittersweet Press in 2019. After asserting herself as a home-grown, emo-loving, nu-metal apologist, Clash Magazine would eventually invite Emily to join their Editorial team in 2022. In the following year, she would pen her first piece for Metal Hammer - unfortunately for the team, Emily has since become a regular fixture. When she’s not blasting metal for Hammer, she also scribbles for Rock Sound, Why Now and Guitar and more.

With contributions from