- by Tom Dumarey
Blackpool’s Boston Manor are about to release their new album this Friday via Pure Noise Records. ‘Welcome To The Neighbourhood’ finds them embracing a new sound that channels some sweet 90’s influences while exploring the apathy of many of their peers in the lyrics. It's definitely a change, but one for the better that should go a long way of getting this band to the next level. Read on to see what vocalist Henry Cox had to tell us about the new album.
PRT: Congrats on the new album! ‘Welcome To The Neighbourhood’ comes with a change in sound that stems from deciding that you would only do what you wanted to instead of trying to please everyone. Did it feel like a fresh breath of air for the band once you had made that decision?
Henry: Thanks! And yeah, 100%. I just wish we’d done it years ago. I think that’s a process every artist goes through though. I think only few creators come out of the gate with their own completed vision and are truly fearless about it. We’re still finding out feet but this feels really good right now.
PRT: By allowing yourself to try out new sounds instead of staying with one thing, you gain a lot of freedom. Did having that freedom come with its own problems as well or was it nothing but a blessing?
Henry: Well, you’re not following a set formula so you’re off the beaten track a little bit. In that sense yeah, but once we’d sort of gotten over the hump and figured out what kind of record we wanted to make, it just sort of flowed out after that. We had a lot of fun making the record and we’ve been itching to get back into the studio ever since.
PRT: You scratched a bunch of the songs you had already recorded because they didn’t feel right and then wrote and recorded more in the weeks before you had to hit the studio. Did having that studio deadline help move things along or did it cause stress?
Henry: We create our best work when we’re under pressure. I’m not sure why but we just lock in and do the work. As long as we’re not creatively barren then it just allows us to focus.
PRT: You recorded the album with Mike Sapone. What is it like to have someone from outside the band step in and say that you need to change this or that in a song that you wrote and are attached to?
Henry: At first it’s a little hard. We went in to do pre-production a few months earlier and some of those songs we’d had written for 6 months and had been jamming them a lot. So you get very familiar with the song and its make up. So when someone comes in and turns it on its head, it can be tough to let go. But once you realize that this guy is making your songs better, then you relinquish. There’ll be a part you love but if it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work; I think they call it ‘Killing your darlings’. We trust Sapone with everything now; we can’t wait to get back into the studio with him.
PRT: You are from Blackpool. In which way did your hometown help shape the new album?
Henry: Well, we wrote it here; so we were immersed in its underbelly when we were creating the record. It sort of became a backdrop. Then once we’d got back from tour and been discussing all these concepts and themes; we realized that they’d been here all along and served as a pretty stellar metaphor for what we’d been trying to explain.
PRT: Throughout the album, you paint a pretty bleak picture of your generation. What do you think needs to happen to turn the tide around?
Henry: I dunno man, I don’t have the answers. I don’t think anyone does. Work hard, don’t expect anything & find something you’re passionate about.
PRT: You have this whole black/red color scheme going on in your videos, photos, artwork and so on. How much attention do you pay to the aesthetics?
Henry: A lot. We design all our own merch (almost all of it, shoutout Ross Rickers) shoot our own videos, do all our design and look books. We knew we wanted a certain red theme. I was looking at this flickering red neon sign one night in Blackpool and really liked it, so I tried to exaggerate that with the aesthetic.
PRT: You have already toured the US a couple of times and are going back in October. How daunting is it for a band from the UK to try and get some momentum going in such a massive market?
Henry: We’ve done 4 full US tours now and 2 East coast/Midwest tours. It was a little daunting at first but we love playing there so much. Honestly the US is huge supporters of our band, nothing but love.
PRT: You have already achieved a lot in the five years that you have been around. What is one thing that is still high up on your bucket list?
Henry: I just want more people at the shows, more people listening to our music every year. That’s all you can really ask for.