Henry Cox of Boston Manor Discusses Apathy, Change and New Sounds on "Welcome to the Neighbourhood": "I Just Want People to Feel Something"
Welcome To The Neighbourhood marks a new chapter for Blackpool, England based rock band, Boston Manor. Sonically, the band's upcoming album, due out September 7th via Pure Noise Records, takes a step away from their 2016 release, Be Nothing and finds them diving deep into and embracing their 90's influences. Lyrically, Welcome To The Neighbourhood is just as emotionally-charged as ever for the band, but this time around, they're spurred onward by the apathy of their peers and their desire to ignite a change or at the very least, inspire someone to truly feel something.
With Welcome To The Neighbourhood out soon, Boston Manor already have plans to hit the road in the UK. It goes without saying that they have a few tricks up their sleeves before the year comes to an end as well. Until then, read more about the album and listen to the band's recently released single, "Halo" below.
Interview by Dom Vigil
You guys just recently announced your new album, Welcome To The Neighbourhood! First and foremost, what are you the most excited for fans to hear on it?
Henry Cox [vocals]: I think just the leaps we’ve taken sonically, as artists. It’s a change of direction that we’re really excited about & i’m keen to hear what people think for better or for worse. We put so much into the fine details of the record as well; so I’m keen to see if to see if people pick up on certain things, sonically & thematically.
Sonically, Welcome To The Neighbourhood marks a change in sound for Boston Manor. Was there anything you wanted to try or experiment with on this release that you didn’t have the chance to do in the past?
I mean we sort of did a total overhaul of our band really. We’d spent a portion of our career trying to please both ourselves and everyone else. We got tired of that and just decided to do what we wanted to do. We’re huge fans of 90’s alternative music, some of the American industrial sounds of the late nineties; bands like Nine Inch Nails. We wanted to experiment with some of the electronic sounds they use to add to the abrasiveness of the music whilst still giving it melody. Also as nineties kids we grew up big fans of all things nu metal; so you can definitely hear bits of Deftones & Korn throughout the record.
We’re also fans of hip hop, I wanted to explore different styles of singing; & we wanted to make sure the songs were catchy & had flow to them, so we spent a while experimenting with how we could implement a vibe of this into what we already had. See the first track on the album ‘Welcome To The Neighbourhood’.
I wouldn’t call the lyrical content of the album too heavy by any means, but is definitely very real. Lyrically, did you have any goals in mind when you were working on the album? What did you want to say with this release?
Lyrically I had a lot to say; the record isn’t necessarily focused on me; but rather mine & the bands views on the world around us. A lot of it is a frustration of the apathy of our peers & our generation. The music I just talked about, that influenced the sound of the record, that was created in response to cultural and economic oppression. Kids felt underrepresented & under appreciated. They were angry & so they picked up guitars, started wearing crazy clothing & it went mainstream. I think in a lot of ways things have come full circle & this generation has found themselves in a similar position, but nobody cares. People are distracted & generally speaking people are getting more stupid & more boring. So I think a lot of the lyrics represent a frustration at that.
There’s also a reoccurring theme of past & present. Our parents had it pretty good, and in a lot of ways we don’t. We used our hometown Blackpool as a sort of backdrop & metaphor for the record. In the 50’s 60’s & 70’s it was the jewel of the north, the Number 1 holiday spot in Britain. Then when flights to Spain became cheap, people stopped coming & it’s kind of been left to rot ever since. It’s & weird & wonderful place; but both visually & metaphorically we thought it fit the theme pretty well.
What would you like listeners to take away from Welcome To The Neighbourhood?
I just want people to feel something man; this record kinda lit a fire under our arse & if it does the same to someone else then I’ll be over the moon.
You also recently released “Halo” from the album. Can you tell us a little bit about the song?
It’s a song about addiction. On the surface it’s about heroin, something that’s plagued Blackpool for the last decade or so. But really it’s about addiction as a whole, serving something you hate, feeling trapped etc. The song itself actually almost didn’t make the record. It was way slower & the vocals were super clunky. We scrapped half of the record initially & that almost went with it, but luckily we picked it up again and started messing with it. I think it turned out pretty good.
Did you come across any challenges when working on the album?
Absolutely; well we did pre production with Mike Sapone back in October of last year. When we got home we listened to the ten songs we’d written & realised it just wasn’t quite capturing that groove that we wanted. To be honest some of the songs were just outright not good enough. So we only ended up keeping about 4 or 5 songs from those sessions. We went home & over Christmas & in the weeks leading up to the studio we ended up writing a whole other album of material. When we write we pretty much write solidly, 12 hours a day & live together. So we did that for a month and then at the end we picked the best songs from those sessions and sort of pieced the album together from there. Having that stamina was definitely a challenge; but we knew what we wanted & we weren’t going to settle for anything less.
The next challenge comes when you’ve put all that work in for however many months, you’ve got the songs to exactly where you want them; you get into the studio & then your producer starts messing with them. You’ve heard that intro that length for 6 months and you love it, and then the producer cuts it in half; tells you to re write the bridge & make the whole song faster. Sometimes that’s hard to hear, but the producer has the advantage of being non bias & has the experience to make your songs better.
On the flip side, what was the most exciting or rewarding thing about the writing and recording process?
Just all of it; we all felt so inspired writing this album. We haven’t stopped since we recorded it really, I’m still on tour driving to a show as I write this. But it’s put us in such a cool creative space, as soon as we get home next week we’re gonna start working on new music.
You also have some tour dates coming up in support of the album! What can fans expect from these upcoming shows? What are you looking forward to?
It’s a huge step up for the band & we’re going to ensure that the live experience matches that. These shows are going to be really visceral, we’re currently working on lots of cool little bits to make it as intense as possible.
Do you have any other big plans for the rest of 2018?
A bunch of stuff, but nothing that’s been announced at the time of writing.
Thanks for taking the time to chat with us! Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Thank you for the questions; we hope you enjoy the album. F-Y-1 baby.