Toms River, NJ-based indie rock act Creeptones can trace its origins back to 2009 when Carmine Stoppiello’s friend Nico Lucido started sharing lyrics that Lucido had written with Stoppiello. Stoppiello would put Lucido’s lyrics to music with Luicdo creating the visual art to compliment the subsequent releases. The band’s lineup was solidified by the following year: Lucido had left the band — remaining to collaborate on the band’s visuals while Will Hernandez joined the band as a bassist and songwriting partner.
Needing a drummer for gigs, Stoppiello started grooming his younger brother on the music the band had written up to that point with Stoppiello having his brother play the band’s first gig in 2010. Stoppiello recruited Johnny Vines, who played with him in a previous band, as Creeptones’ lead guitarist — and from his desire to learn from Vines’ experience in professional recording. Between 2012 and 2017, the Toms River-based act played hundreds of shows in the New York/New Jersey metropolitan area — mostly in their hometown and in Asbury Park. During that period, they wrote and recorded full-length debut, 2012’s The Creep is Born, which landed on several end-of-year lists.
The band took part in Hard Rock’s Global Battle of the Bands, finishing ninth out of more than 10,00 entrants. They went on to write and record their sophomore album, Hell + Ice, which received praise from ObscureSound.com and PopMatters, hitting #2 on Submithub‘s charts. The album amassed over 50,000 streams and 1,000 Spotify playlist adds.
Feeling like a shake-up was necessary, the members of the Toms River-based band took a break from live shows in 2016 and while working on Hell + Ice, the band began exploring a permanent live-stream setup through Twitch. After generating an income and a following through the streaming site, the band improved their recording/streaming set up to include a drum and keyboard-trigged light show, augmented reality visuals, moving cameras and viewer-trigged effects — all of which were employed to keep the viewer be as engaged as humanly possible. With live-streaming being a made a thing as a result of the pandemic, the band’s move to Twitch seems remarkably prescient.
The Toms River-based act’s latest single “Vacant Winds” is a slickly produced, lushly layered and anthemic track, centered around shimmering synths, muscular drumming, propulsive bass lines, a chip tune-like guitar solo and arena rock friendly hooks. And while being a decidedly pop leaning track, the song lyrically comes from a deeply lived-in place. “‘Vacant Winds’ was written after longtime Creeptones collaborator and friend Nico Lucido sent me lyrics out of the blue when the pressures of today’s society were really wearing on me,” Creeptones’ Carmine Stoppiello explains. “‘Let go the pain that imprisons you…you know you can drift into present mind,’ a simple phrase that’s easier said than done, but to the willing, it’s a wake-up. Stoppiello goes on to say that the song also touches upon how relationships change as one gets older — often with people growing apart, as life changes them. And although it had been years sine the duo had written a song together, they both felt it was “a chance to share a positive message during a time where most of us could probably use a pick me up.”
Stoppiello adds that the song gave the band an opportunity to use some recently acquired gear — and to push their sound in a new direction. “The drums and vocals in particular were elements of our recordings that we wanted to improve (what band doesn’t) and we’re really satisfied in how quickly some of these new gear/techniques allowed us to finish this track. “The intro on this track uses samples from SNES classics Earthbound and Sim City. There’s a synth lead that the song was initially built around that has a really nice quality to it. The crowd noises from Sim City are fun too, I wonder if anyone will point that out without knowing about it first, some of the elements are lower in the mix, but they add to the texture of the song.”