Interview: cleopatrick Vocalist, Guitarist Luke Gruntz, Drummer Ian Fraser Talk Debut LP

Cobourg, Ontario is not known for its music scene, but cleopatrick took advantage of their relative isolation to put together a sound that’s all their own. The duo— singer, guitarist and songwriter Luke Gruntz, and songwriter and drummer Ian Fraser— combined elements of all the music they loved, with an emphasis on hard rock and hip-hop. They’re now ready to make an impact internationally with their debut album, Bummer, out June 4 on their own label, Nowhere Special, via Thirty Tigers. 

“Cobourg is a beach town, not an ideal place to grow up as an aspiring musician,” Fraser says. “We found our community in places like Toronto, Oshawa, and Peterborough. We traveled in a big triangle to those cities and realized we wanted to do this thing forever. We don’t think of ourselves as genre bending, we’re just putting together the sounds we like, in our own way. 

“We’re a rock band, but there’s a lot of history behind that term. If you look at what we do objectively, it does use rock elements, heavy drums, and guitars, but we give it a flavor that feels cool and comfortable to us.” 

Fraser’s assertive drumming combines with Gruntz’s piercing guitar and brutally honest lyrics to push their rock meets rap sound into a place most bands never dream of visiting. 

“It feels right, to me, to be as real as possible,” Gruntz says. “From the start, the lyrics were always honest and therapeutic, and resonated with people. There are a lot of songs about nothing but getting drunk and having sex. Ours are about the little mundane events in life. We blow them up to write things that may make you feel uncomfortable, but you can still have fun to.”  

Gruntz’s singing is a perfect vehicle for conveying those uncomfortable truths. He inhabits a space between singing, talking, and rapping that’s hard to define.  

“I don’t put too much thought into my vocals,” he says. “The songs have a lot of lyrics in them, so they come out fast. I try and catch the moment and echo it. The lyrics come out with more emotion than they would have with a perfect delivery, or maybe extra emotion is the perfect delivery.”  

That passionate honesty is one of the hallmarks of “Hometown,” a song the band released in 2017. It got more than a million and a half hits on YouTube and helped make them a Canadian phenomenon. It’s a penetrating look at the boredom of small town life that can literally drive you to drink.  

“We gave a friend 250 dollars to film us running around Cobourg for a day, just to have some content,” Gruntz says. “I was a bit embarrassed at first. It’s a bad movie of kids fucking around, but it’s an important part of the story of this band. You get to see how small this thing was when it started. When it blew up, there were some haters in the comments section, but no negative feedback from peers. They were all excited and supportive of what we were trying to do.” 

Watch the video for “VICTORIA PARK” below:

For more from cleopatrick, find them on Facebook, Instagram, and their official website.

Photo courtesy of cleopatrick and Tanner Pare.

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