Featured Artist Interview with Naomi Hurley of Brothers Creeper

JR Rhine, Devin Reynolds, and Naomi Hurley make up southern Maryland horror-rock 3 piece, Brother’s Creeper. Playing house shows in Baltimore to performing at cafés, Brother’s Creeper is a part of the growing music scene in southern Maryland. Girls Behind the Rock Show had a chance to sit down with bassist, Naomi Hurley, to talk music, veganism and cruelty-free, and the local scene. Make sure to check her out on Instagram and Brother’s Creeper on Bandcamp

Please introduce yourself!

I am Naomi Hurley! I play bass in Brother’s Creeper. I was born in Baltimore, raised in St. Mary’s County [Maryland]. I do a couple of side projects as well; I play bass for my friend, George Adamson and his band, I have a side project with my brother, and we do video game and superhero themed music.

 

What does being a woman in your local scene mean for you?

So thankfully, the scene that I’m in is just very accepting and I mean from what I’ve seen. I am one of the only girls you know? There’s another band called, Flying Jacob, and they’re a female-fronted band and Jordana Nye is a singer-songwriter from Huntingtown [Maryland] and Normal State is fronted by a non-binary human and I love them so much.  But as far as this immediate scene, I’m one of the only females you know and I mean, a lot of times I’m playing the show and I’m conscious of the fact that I look around at the bands playing and I’m like “Yeah, I’m the only girl”. But thankfully I mean despite being [in] such a conservative area, the scene that I’m a part of is very open and accepting and I have no issues with it. I hope to inspire other girls and other femmes in general to come forward and be open with playing their music. I’m very conscious of the fact that I’m the only girl most of the time but, one of the best parts of playing a show and walking off stage is when I get all these girls come up to me and they’re like “you’re my hero” “this is awesome! I can’t believe you’re up there rocking out!” And some people are even like “wow I didn’t realize you were in a band”, they see me walking around the show and say “I didn’t know you were in a band”, they don’t really expect to see a girl I guess.

 

How did you get into playing bass?

So I actually come from a very musical family. My dad has played guitar and played in bands and my mom played piano. I actually started playing violin and then I played saxophone played alto and baritone saxophone and I actually got inspired by Cowboy Bebop because of the character that played saxophone.

I was into Pink Floyd growing up because my mom loved Pink Floyd. The whole “Dark Side of the Moon” album has that crazy saxophone on it and I played sax forever. My dad played guitar and my little brother picked up drums and they would jam all the time and said “ I want to jam with them too” and I was like “Wow, what’s missing? A bass!”. So, I got a bass Christmas and I would just jam with my dad and little brother and we would learn some of Led Zeppelin and Beatles covers but then, I met James [drummer, Brother’s Creeper] who’s now my husband and he played drums in the jazz band in high school and we became friends. But then I was like I’m going to play bass at school in the jazz band so I can hang out with my friends in the rhythm section. When I moved away to Arizona, I kind of fell into this kind of bad cycle with substance abuse and I put down music for a long time.

When I moved back to Maryland, Brother’s Creeper was already a band that was just James and our friend Devin. They were like “hey do you want to play bass for us?” because they remembered me playing bass in high school so, I was like “Sure!” I kind of picked it [bass] up for the first time in several years.

At what moment did you say “That’s it. I want to go cruelty-free.”?

I was really becoming more aware of what that [cruelty-free] means what animal testing is. I really didn’t even think about it being a thing. I really didn’t get into makeup on the extent I am now until maybe three or four years ago. I just went out and bought makeup I didn’t really understand animals or anything like that. It might have honestly been Kat Von D’s brand that made me aware of it. She finally made me more aware of it with her advertising like “veganism is cruelty-free” and I was like “what does that mean?”. I looked it up and I watched videos and I was like “What they’re doing to animals is not what makeup is worth. This is supposed to be a fun thing and I don’t need to be supporting any brands or companies that lock bunnies, monkeys, and beagles in cages. It’s not worth their lives or even just hurting them in any kind of way. You think they want to live like that? So then I donated all my Mac Cosmetics and everything.  I was like “I don’t want to do any of that. I don’t want to support that anymore” because my main thing was if I’m walking down the street and someone says “I like that lipstick! What is it?” I don’t want to say the brand because they’re gonna go buy it. From there on out, I was all cruelty-free. All the way.

 

What do you think artists can do to help women and the LGBTQ+ community?

I think they need to be more accepting and open and take a look at the bill they’re putting together and if they notice all the bands are all consisting of white males or gender straight guys like “Hey! Maybe we should ask this band who we know has a girl or this band that we know has somebody of color.” You know what I mean, just make it more inclusive and really look at the shows you’re putting together and you’re thinking “what kind of crowd is this going to draw in if these are all just the same type of people that we’re all used to seeing?”. If you just make it more inclusive and more open, then more people are going to come to the shows and be inspired and say “Hey! Maybe I can play outside of my bedroom” It’s all about using your voice and be inclusive and making sure that you’re creating a safe space for all people of all colors and genders. Recently, we had to drop a show we were playing at this bar because of some things that came up regarding not only a sign they had up in the bar but also regarding how the owners were handling the situation and how the bartenders handling situation. So, when I first heard about it I was angry. I was like “I’m going to go there I’m going to make a scene onstage” but then I realize you know that’s not going to help anything because people that are at that bar are not going to change their opinion based on that. We’re gonna drop the show and we’re just going to make a statement about it. It shows people whether they listen to us or whether they’re scrolling through social media and they see what happened and know this is what we stand for. We’re not going to tolerate that kind of behavior and we’re not going to support a venue or people that do have that kind of behavior. If we found out a band had those kind of views we wouldn’t play with them. That’s just how we are and we want to make sure everybody feels safe and accepted.

 

So besides cruelty-free, what other things are you an activist for?

I’m a big animal rights activist. It kind of goes hand in hand with cruelty-free makeup I guess but I’m an animal rights activist and ally in regards to LGBT and Black Lives Matter and just everybody in general. I am an advocate for gun safety legislation and the progressive movement in general, changing more governors in the state and again veganism, I’m very passionate about veganism. Also, just everybody being kind to one another and treating each other like human beings.

 

Any advice for anyone wanting to be in the industry?

Don’t be afraid to be yourself. This is even something I’m more recently learning because I mean even just until our last few shows I was still a little self-conscious onstage or just you know even if it’s playing house shows,  I really didn’t feel comfortable until more recently even. And I’ve been playing in this band now for over a year but just don’t be afraid to be yourself and I mean there might be people that don’t like you or don’t agree with you but at the end of the day, you just have to recognize that you are awesome and you are deserving of love and understanding and respect and it doesn’t matter what people say about you. You can go out there and you can kill it and just don’t be afraid.

 

Are there any bands you want to shout out?

So there is a lot of local bands like I said earlier like, I love Normal State, Jordana and Moll Dyer ,we play a lot of shows with them.  Deadbeat Holiday, they’re really cool. But as far as in general bands I want to shout I love Priests, they’re from DC. War on Women, Shawna Potter from War on Women is a huge influence and they’re based out of Baltimore. Snail Mail is based out of Baltimore. I really like them a lot. There’s just a lot of really good bands that have women in them and it’s not like there’s more of them than there ever were but they have more of a platform than they ever did before. I mean this year alone, all of these different women that have come forward with albums and I’m like”This is such a good year for music”. War on Women released a  new album, Anna Burch and Molly Burch, The Internet, No-Name, and Ariana Grande of course. But you know we just had so many good albums dropped by women. Gouge Away another really good one, they’re a hardcore band. Yeah it just makes me really happy to see women out there. I am totally conscious when I’m at a show or playing a show if there are women or people of color in the bands and if there are I’m immediately more interested and it’s not to say that you know a band made of all white guys can’t have good music because I do listen to plenty of bands of all white guys. When I see that inclusion, I’m just more interested and I’m like “Ok, they have a different story to tell and they can add something new to this”.