INTERVIEW with luke gruntz of cleopatrick: the young canadian rock band you'll love to love
cleopatrick's music is unlike anything I've heard in a very long time. To say that I love their music would simply be an understatement. Their music makes me feel like someone has been taking a look in my brain for the past couple of years and turned what they found into music.
cleopatrick is a rock band made up of the duo Luke Gruntz on vocals and guitar, & Ian Fraser on drums, both age 22. They're from a small town called Cobourg in Ontario, Canada. They first released their 14 EP in February 2016, and have since released the boys in June 2018, a EP of all their singles since 2017 and earlier that same year. With over 31 million streams on Spotify, "Hometown" is their biggest track to date.
They're very talented, kind, genuine musicians; it shows in their music and in them, as you can read in the interview below. Nothing about them is fake or exaggerated, they're just two young boys who love making music together. One track I'm particularly fond of is "Friends", off the 14 EP released in February 2016. It's a song about friendship, obviously, but it's also about feeling lost and being young and scared. One line goes "...true friends are hard to find, but in the wrong place at the right time, Lord knows I found mine." It sticks out to me so much because it reminds me of how I met my best friend, of all my friends really, but of her specifically because without her, I wouldn’t have found cleopatrick, I wouldn’t have loved them as much as I do without. I love cleopatrick like I love my best friend.
It feels almost silly, how one line of a song from a band that you just like so much can hold so much meaning for you, but this line and so many others of theirs have that for me. It's like how in my teen years, Lorde, a dark-pop singer, was able to put how I felt during those times into music so amazingly, and now I feel that way about cleopatrick, in my early 20's. It's extremely comforting and makes me feel all kinds of indescribable emotions. I love it, I love cleopatrick, and hopefully, if you give them a listen, you'll feel this way about them too.
Their songs are about being young, feeling pressure and emptiness, feeling lost and scared about the world and other people, being in love, friendship, & more. Their songs are so real, and so unrelentingly them, but you can also see yourself in these songs like I did. Their music can be there for you when you feel alone, it can feel like you have a friend with you.
Listen to cleopatrick, catch a show sometime; I can't write about what makes them special any better than they can play it. cleopatrick is something you just have to feel.
Where does your inspiration come from, sonically and lyrically?
sonically we take inspiration from a bunch of stuff. our friends all have sick bands so there’s a healthy sonic competition for coolest moments in that sense. also we listen to a lot of different music that informs our sound. lots of modern hip hop and contemporary songwriters. lyrically im not sure what inspires me. usually just words that feel really pretty together, or a single line that hits hard and develops into a full song. i love alex turner, julia jacklin, and father john misty for their lyrical styles. i like stuff that’s unique, conversational, equal parts comedic and tragic. im really proud of my lyrics, i feel like after all these years of rock music - words, ideas, and point of view are some of the only remaining ways you can really set yourself apart from what’s been done before.
How did the band come to be?
the story goes: ian and luke meet as four year olds on the first day of junior kindergarten and become best friends. ian and luke grow up loving music together. ian and luke graduate high school and feel empty. ian and luke start a band and find purpose.
What are your top four comfort albums (albums you put on repeat during hard times)?
DEAN MARTIN - GREATEST HITS
JULIA JACKLIN - DONT LET THE KIDS WIN
THE PARTY - ANDY SHAUF
ELECTRIC LADY LAND - JIMI HENDRIX
So far, what has been your favorite place to perform and your favorite memory on stage?
this might be impossible to answer confidently because theres been so many amazing moments in the last year. but right now im just gonna go ahead and say it was our first ever time playing in London. we didn’t realize anyone over there cared about us. but we got on stage and everyone in the room was singing along to every word, and i remember looking at ian and thinking holy fuck we are really doing this. this is real.
You've said you're releasing an album later this year. Can you tell us a bit about what to expect from that?
this album is the most meaningful and calculated thing that we have ever created in our lives. our mantra while writing this has been “pretend this is the only time we will ever get to release an album”
New Rock Mafia. What is that, how did that come to be? What does it mean to you, and what do you want it to mean to people?
new rock mafia is a collective of guitar bands that aren’t fucking phonies. we want to create a culture of honesty in guitar music - because thats very absent right now. we want to build a scene where kids can really trust what they’re hearing from artists. its about being real and setting ourselves apart from the people that aren’t - not because we think we are better than everyone else; but because we know we are on a different mission.
Top three things you love the most about touring, top three things you dislike the most about touring?
seeing the world
meeting awesome people
feeling like im real
long drive mushy brain vibes
leaving my cat at home
What do you enjoy doing together, besides creating music?
watching that one youtube video where a german guy yells a bunch of unintelligible stuff then jumps onto a frozen pool.
Do you have any pre show rituals?
i say “have a good set ian” and he says “have a good set luke” and then we high five jake and go on stage.
To someone just getting into your band, what song would you recommend them to listen to first, and what is one thing you would most importantly want them to know about you?
listen to hometown and then id want them to know its not about a girl / getting fucked up
The response to your music has been enormous; your track “Hometown,” released in 2017, has over 30 million streams, and your Instagram account, @cleopatrickband, has 17k followers.You have fans all across the world, reaching all the way even to Germany! How do you feel about it, and how has it changed you and your life? Did you ever expect this kind of response to your music?
i think its always going to be surreal. i don’t know if we can ever convey to people just how uncalculated this whole thing was. the boys EP was meant for like 30 of our friends to hear (specially the 30 kids you can see in the house party shots at the end of the hometown video)
so we are forever grateful that its ended up with 1 million times more people than that.
Cleopatrick have just wrapped up a UK tour opening for Frank Carter & the Rattlesnakes. They'll also be playing The Pit stage at this year's Reading and Leeds Festival. Like Luke said - they've got more music coming this year that you won't want to miss. Cleopatrick can be found on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.