Boston Manor is a British pop-punk band making waves across the pond all the way here in America. Their album "Be Nothing" comes out in just a few short hours and we got the latest from guitarist, Mike Cunniff.
"Be Nothing" is out Sept. 30th and you've given fans a taste of what's to come with Laika, is the whole album going to be a similar vibe to Laika or will there be a range of emotions?
There is definitely a variety of themes and emotions that run through the record. Laika is definitely one of the more upbeat and lighter tracks. There are some moments on the record that get much heavier and times where it all just simmers down almost completely. The songs range from melancholy, despair, guilt and anguish to upbeat, confidence, anger and frustration. When we wrote the record we wanted people to be able to listen to it from start to finish as a whole and it tell a story. When i listen to the record back i realise that it is almost a scrap book or photo album of Boston Manor over the past 3 years. The record definitely reflects all 5 of us as individuals.
You have a pretty solid team working on the record including Neil Kennedy and Kyle Black, how has it been working with them?
We worked with Neil on our previous release Saudade so we were already firm friends. He's produced some great records and we felt a lot more comfortable working with him. He seemed to understand exactly where we were coming from and he's not afraid to shake things up a bit. We wanted a polished album that was a little rough around the edges and sometimes a little raw and live sounding. It was cool to bounce ideas back and forth in the demo process and you can tell that he is so passionate about what he does. He's also the pedal king! Also big shout out to Daly George who also helped engineer the record.
Kyle Black also helped produce and mix the record. We had a couple of Skypes with Kyle during the demo process and we could tell straight away from his enthusiasm that he was our guy. He absolutely bent over backwards for us sending us ideas and making the tiniest tweaks on the record despite the time difference. We have a lot of time for that guy. The record was mastered and sequenced by our good friend Grant Berry at Futureworks in Manchester. We've worked with him since Driftwood and he always kills it.
You're jumping across the pond on your upcoming tour, how are you feeling about it? What do you hope to do/see on tour?
We're all really excited. Some of us haven't been over to the US before so to all go over there as a band and as friends is crazy. We probably wouldn't have had these opportunities otherwise. We're mainly touring Canada and the east coast this time around. We're looking forward to immersing ourselves and just soaking in the culture and atmosphere. Its going to be weird for us to play these shows. We're from such a small town in Blackpool and this kind of opportunity still completely blows our minds. We'll be trying to see as much as possible.
The emotion behind Laika is different from your debut EP "Here/Now," you've developed from a melancholic sound, to one of ire and fighting back - was this a personal or professional development within the band?
Its been over 3 years since we wrote Here/Now. At that point there was only 3 of us in the band. Henry, my brother; Dan and myself. We knew Ash and Jordan from our local scene who joined soon after. Our EPs Driftwood and Saudade saw all 5 of us contributing to songs, experimenting and trying to hone our own personal sound. We feel that "Be Nothing" is the culmination of those 3 years of writing, getting to know each other and growing as musicians and friends. We fully believe in progression as a band. We never want to release the same record twice and we love to step outside our comfort zones.
What is your process for writing music? Is it based on when inspiration strikes or do you need to have a structured environment to create? Do you prefer silence or music when writing, if music, then who do you listen to?
Each of us all have personal approaches to writing songs. I always find that an idea will come into my head whilst im doing something super mundane and usually when there's no guitar around. I just hum the guitar part or melody into my phone and hope nobody's looking at me.
We'll usually start by taking a guitar idea to the bedroom and record it in. Jordan will put drums in and sometimes this changes the song almost completely. We tend to build songs by adding and chipping away at them. Broken Glass was written and based around a vocal melody that Henry brought to the demo room. It was strange because the guitars seemed to write themselves and the entire song was pretty much fleshed out in less than an hour.
I think i speak for everyone in the band when i say that music is our biggest inspiration. We all have our own personal tastes that gives Boston Manor its own unique sound. We get a lot of ideas from 90s and early 00s punk/emo and rock music. We have quite an eclectic taste in music but some of the main influences for this record are bands like Taking Back Sunday, Nirvana, The Smiths, Bloc Party, Brand New, Radiohead, This Will Destroy You and Daughter.
What's the most unusual song you have on your playlist?
Jeff Wayne's "The War of The Worlds" from the 1970s. Its a concept album that tells the story of The War Of The Worlds by H.G Wells. Its super psychedelic and trippy to listen to. Sometimes it comes on in the van on a night drive and creeps us all out.