By: Shayla Lee
If you listen to rock music, you will be able to agree with me that the genre has changed a lot in the last 50 years. Rock music just doesn’t sound the same as it used to. However, I am still committed to finding new music and am constantly on the hunt for good rock and I found an absolute gem when I discovered cleopatrick.
It only took one listen to ‘hometown’ to get me hooked on cleopatrick. Having grown up in a small town it felt as if the lyrics were written to describe my entire life. “My hometown only makes me feel alone.” So. Relatable. I’ve never heard anything quite like it. You can hear Highly Suspect and Catfish and the Bottlemen influences in their music but their sound feels new.
As soon as I heard their music, I immediately reached out to the band for an interview. I’m so glad I did because cleopatrick is growing fast. Now on the cover of Spotify’s most coveted rock playlist ‘Rock This’ which has over 4 million followers, it’s clear that people are listening and loving their music just like me. cleopatrick is going to change rock. Mark. My. Words. We had the chance to interview Luke Gruntz (who is one half of the band) and talk about their new single ‘bernard trigger,’ how growing up in a small town influenced their sound, and how the band is going to change rock music.
FEMME RIOT: Can you tell us a bit about yourselves? What inspired you to become musicians?
Luke Gruntz: Ian and I have been best friends since we were 4 years old — our first day of junior kindergarten to be exact. Both of us have parents that really love music, and just being in that kind of musical home-environment during our formative years was a definite catalyst. We both inspire each other I think too. Since we were like 6 we would be showing each other different songs or bands. We were like 8 years old when we used to sit together in my basement and replay in quarter note count in + first E chord of AC/DC’s “Back in Black” together for hours — just admiring how hard it hit.
How would you describe your music to someone who has never heard it before?
Where do you draw inspiration for your music? Do you have any musical influences?
Ian and I both listen to a lot of random stuff. For me, my biggest influence is actually Hip Hop. It’s like one of the only genres of music right now where people aren’t scared to say the shit that their feeling in their own words. I really admire that transparency and honesty — it’s what made rock and roll so amazing when it first came out. But everything is so distorted and produced now, you hardly ever hear a girl or guy a rock band say anything truthful.
When you emailed us about this interview, you actually mentioned you heard similarities between us and Highly Suspect / Catfish & The Bottlemen. That was a huge trip for us, because those are two of the only rock bands that we really really admire in todays industry. We actually wouldn’t be a band without Highly Suspect.
“My hometown only makes me feel alone.” Those were the words that got me hooked on ‘hometown’ and ultimately led me to the rest of your music. The lyrics are so relatable to us. We too grew up in a super small town with about 10,000 people. We always knew that we were destined for bigger and better things and all we wanted to do when we were younger was get out. What was it like growing up in your hometown?
Our hometown is a pretty crushing place in all honesty. We are currently one of three young bands that call Cobourg home. There are no venues for kids to play in, and no programs to promote creative minds within the town. It has been a really tough place to grow up in as an aspiring musician, because without any likeminded people or role models around; we’ve really had no idea what we are doing. That’s actually exactly what hometown is about, the insecurities I face every day and the feeling that my voice would never be heard. So it’s ironic that that song has done what it has for us.
When I first hear ‘Chromeo’ I pictured thousands of people at a music festival belting out every single word (similar to when Catfish and the Bottlemen perform 7 live). It’s so catchy! Can you tell us more about this song?
Chromeo is actually the second song we wrote as cleopatrick. It’s a tune about all the cool guys and girls that I have looked up to in my life. Due to my own insecurities and nature, I have always found myself infatuated with certain popular individuals, and Chromeo is a song where I kind of make fun of myself for that.
You just released your new single ‘Bernard Trigger’. We are loving it! What was the creation process for this song like?
Bernard is a song we have been performing live for quite some time now. It grew from that initial DUN DUN DUN DUHHHHH riff after Ian and I were jamming last summer. It used to be a completely different song, but over the months of performing it I slowly became more and more comfortable with myself, and rewrote parts in order to take a few more chances and express myself further. I’m super super happy with the way the recording turned out, and the reception so far has been astounding!
Your Spotify bio is “fuck whatever you think rock is. it’s different now”. How would you describe rock in today’s music industry?
50 years in the past, the term “Rock” was synonymous with youthful, cliché defying musicians that shared their voices in whatever way they felt in a given moment. It was a frenzied, varying, and passionate kind of music that carried honest messages to its audiences, by whatever means necessary — “Rock” was for people that had something to say.
In 2018, it’s really obvious that somewhere along the line, the term “rock” really lost its meaning. Every time someone refers to cleopatrick as a “Rock” band, it sounds immediately nostalgic, unsurprising, and passé.
That really pisses me off. There’s nothing more discouraging than being put in a box before you’ve played your first note; all because you’re holding a les paul and someone said you play “rock”. Thats why I admire hip hop so deeply. Because in so many ways it truly is the new rock. It’s constantly evolving, it’s raw, aggressive, and pure. It’s everything rock used to be.
So in our juvenile frustration, we bluntly say: fuck whatever you think rock is, because we’re about to work our asses off to change it all. Us and anyone who wants to come along, that is.
Fuck whatever you think rock is, because we’re about to work our asses off to change it all.
Have you faced any challenges thus far as musicians? If so, how did you overcome these challenges?
Being from Cobourg was probably our biggest challenge, because we seriously had NO idea how to “be a band”. I guess we’ve technically overcome that, and although I don’t know what exactly to attribute it to, I can say with certainty that we wouldn’t be here without our friends. We have an incredibly supportive and inspiring team of people around us.
What can we expect from you this year? Hopefully we will see you in Vancouver soon!
We have a lot of really really awesome things in the works that we unfortunately can’t disclose much detail on. We just released our western Ontario tour dates and we will be releasing a lot of awesome new music.
What three songs are you currently listening to?
“Dead Roads” — Ready the Prince (best band in toronto)
“HEAT” — BROCKHAMPTON
“Homesick” — Catfish and the Bottlemen
Anything we haven’t asked that you want to add?
No but I just want to thank you for giving us such AWESOME questions. This interview was sick.
I feel so lucky to have been able to interview Luke and Ian at this stage in their career. They are growing every single day and the boys are going to be HUGE. I look forward to seeing the changes they make to rock. To all of the lucky people that live in Ontario, cleopatrick just released tour dates for this spring.
The cover photo for this article was provided by the band and shot by Adam Brooking.