We Go Inside The Mystery Of Creeper’s Room 309
Room 309 lies at the centre of Creeper’s James Scythe mystery. It is an enigma, wrapped in a Gordian knot, inside a Rubik’s cube that’s been down the back of a sofa for two decades. And with the confirmation of their new book, The Last Days of James Scythe, set for release on November 30, it would seem the mystery is set to continue.
It is the room from which paranormal detective James Scythe disappears at the Dolphin Hotel in Southampton. The song of the same name kicks off the second half of the band’s debut, Eternity, In Your Arms. Yet they have never played it live despite numerous requests on Warped Tour. So what are Creeper hiding?
Many have speculated the origins of Room 309. Is it drawn from room 309 in cult comedy Four Rooms, where two children cause pandemonium and stab Tim Roth’s babysitting bellhop? Perhaps it’s a tribute to Creeper’s secret love of Turkish sitcom, No: 309? Or, is it a sideways reference to room 239 in The Shining? Could there be some parallel between Danny Torrance riding his tricycle through the hallways of the Overlook Hotel and James Scythe stalking the streets of Southampton in his midlife crisis mobile?
The truth, as ever with Creeper, is stranger still.
“It’s actually a reference to something very real that happened to us,” frontman Will Gould told us recently.
It is Tuesday 19th April 2016. The band have just played Beckett University in Leeds, nearing the end of their support tour with Neck Deep. Most of the band head on to Huddersfield while frontman Will Gould, guitarist Ian Miles, and tour photographer Jay Wennington are set to share a room at an Ibis hotel in town. Jay arrives first to the hotel and checks into a room. Room 309.
He relays the room number to Will and Ian, who arrive some time later. When they ask for the keycard to Room 309 booked under Will, the receptionist informs them that there are two rooms booked under that name. Pleasantly surprised, the pair drop off their bags in the other room and head out to a bar, leaving Jay undisturbed in Room 309.
And then things get weird.
In a series of mysterious messages (since deleted from Will’s Twitter account, but preserved on Upset), Will tweeted in the early hours of the next morning:
“When we return we talk about going to Jay’s room, room 309 and sneaking in to scare him. We have the key remember. We get in the lift in our underwear & sneak to room 309, slip the card in & sneak in only to find room 309 completely empty and the bed made.
“We call and wake Jay. ‘Where are you!?’
“‘Room 309 mate.’
“There is no way he can be because we are in that room. We freak out for some time. After some deliberation we realise Jay is in another hotel. The hotel he is in is run by the same chain we are in too. He has a 3 bed room. We realise that somehow Ian and I are in the wrong hotel, have been in 2 of someone else’s rooms by accident and that one is room 309. What are the odds of us both of us sat in room 309 of two separate Chain of the same hotels? Now we all have double rooms and boggled brains.”
As Ian tells us today, the fun didn’t stop when he woke up in Room 309: “I remember thinking, ‘Oh well, I’ll just sleep in here anyway!’ And then I got a knock on the door at six in the morning. Who goes into a hotel room that late? I was sitting there in my underwear, and they were asking ‘Errrm, what are you doing in my room?’”
“The odds of it happening were so slim and I couldn’t fathom how it could work!” says Will. “And both [hotels] gave us keycards when we said, ‘Oh, there’s a keycard for room 309 for Will.’ It was absolutely crazy!”
Coming from a band who have since gone to such lengths as disappearing for months on end to provoke our conspiracy theory itch, it’s hard to know how sizeable a pinch of salt one should swallow this story with. But Ian insists it was 100% true.
“There was honestly no fabrication,” he says. “When it happened we didn’t know what was going on! I thought we were both in some weird dreamland or we we were both suffering from psychosis at the same time!”
“The incident came first, and then the song,” confirms Will. “What I really like about this story is a good deal of what we do with Creeper is taking things from reality and trying to make them more fanciful. That instance is SO fantastical and crazy — That happened in the real world! And when we had this story of James Scythe going missing in a hotel room, it seemed really fitting to put this real life mystery inside of our fictional mystery.”
The pair also agree that the appeal of incorporating the infamous room into Eternity, In Your Arms also lay in their shared love of Disney Park history. As you enter most Disney Parks around the world, the windows and doors lining Main Street feature the names of imagineers and hidden references to events that happened during the park’s construction.
“They’re like the credits of the park as you walk down,” explains Will. “So the 309 thing is a little signature in there. It’s the hidden credits to the makings of the record.”
And now you know. Have a Scooby Snack.
Words: James Mackinnon
‘The Last Days of James Scythe’ will be published on 30 November by 404 Ink.
Don’t forget to catch Creeper live at the following:
3: Glasgow O2 ABC
4: Birmingham O2 Institute
5: Bristol Trinity
7: London O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire
9: Manchester Albert Hall
10: Southampton O2 Guildhall
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