Please list all of your band members and their roles in the band.
Brad Bennett - Drums / Percussion
Adrian De La Cruz - Bass Guitar
Austin Harris - Keyboard / Saxophone / Melodica / Accordion
Chelsey Harris - Saxophone / Vocals
Montana Smith - Vocals / Electric Guitar
Jordan Zabriskie - Vocals / Acoustic Guitar
For starters, what bands were you guys a part of prior to Cinders? How long has the band been around?
The majority of us have played in other bands prior to Cinders. From jazz to metal and indie to ska, we pretty much played every kind of music that we knew existed. We even have some early recordings of acoustic hardcore based songs and love songs about comparing someone to a slide. Just from this explanation it probably doesn’t come to a surprise that none of these projects ever took off. But what they did do for us is teach us how to have fun, write songs, and work together as a team. Our team motto is “Safety first, then teamwork.” These other bands we were in definitely taught us teamwork. Cinders has recently had its 2nd birthday. We were born in October of 2015, the months prior to that were just pregnancy.
What’s the origin of that name and have you changed the band’s name before?
The name of the band comes from the first song that Montana and Jordan had written together in high school. It was a cool name for a terrible song. We really felt like that name deserved a second chance and with this band being the first time we had all written songs together, we felt it was pretty fitting. We did call ourselves The Grand Belarus for about 5 minutes… We even played a show under that name and signed the venue’s wall after the gig. Thankfully that venue closed down due to lack of business about a month later. So all evidence of that band (and business) have been buried. Cinders was not our first choice, but it really felt like the right choice once we said it out loud.
Who writes your songs? What are the main themes or topics for most of your songs and do you think these topics will change over time?
All Cinders songs are written by Cinders. Meaning each member plays a valuable part of writing process. Though some may show up to the studio with a song half written, it is not one of our songs until each member has put a part of them into it. Each song is like a pie. Each member is a flavor of pie. Put each flavor together and you get a really weird pie that you can’t help but taste.
The first record we wrote songs that were either hopeful in nature and relatable in a way, saying “life can be tough sometimes, but we will make it through” or about how we suck at talking to girls. With our newest Single Tree House you can hear more personal lyrics and a deeper meaning than some of our previous tracks. We have really been putting our whole heart into our new album and want to share more of our feelings with our listeners. The theme of Tree House is longing for a past that is presently unavailable. Along with thinking back to the good old days and wishing that we knew we were in them, while they were happening. That is painted through a picture of lost love, fond memories, and an unseen future, that ultimately has you stuck in the past replaying regret in your mind.
What bands are currently inspiring the music that you’re making?
There isn’t really one band that we all agree on. But we all pull inspiration from different artists and bands that have helped form the sound that we have. Artists like Grouplove, Motion City Soundtrack, The Front Bottoms, and Coldplay have been huge influences. We love how unique each of them are and how true they are to their own sound. That helped inspire us to craft a sound that we could call ours. After our first album was released, a write up in a music based magazine dubbed our genre “Rowdy Acoustic Pop.” We felt that they had summed it up better than we knew how to describe it, and from then on we have claimed it. We wouldn’t have the sound that we have now without first loving the styles other bands have created.
Was there a particular band/artist or concert that inspired you to start a band?
For the majority of us it was actually family that got us into playing music. We have some awesome parents who encouraged us to find what we love doing and stick with it. Being huge fans of bands and live music definitely helped solidify our dreams, goals and aspirations. But it was our families that first suggested we try out a musical instrument, and it was our families that didn’t let us give up even if we felt like we would never be good enough.
What do you do to prepare for a show? Any flexing, exercises, etc …
We hate to say it but we all get the nervous pees. Even if we aren’t nervous at all! For some reason about 30 minutes before we go on stage we all have to pee at least 3 times. If you are ever wondering “Man I wonder what they are doing back there? It must be so cool and they are just hanging out and having fun!” Wrong… We are taking turns using the one toilet that the venue has. And for some reason there are never paper towels to dry your hands.
What has been the biggest highlight of the band’s career so far?
Seeing a room full of people of all ages, backgrounds, and personalities jump and sing together to songs that you create! There is no greater feeling in the world than singing your favorite songs together with your best friends every night in different citites. But to hear the crowd singing them back… That is just amazing. It has been one highlight after another. We actually just woke up to an email from Spotify this morning that had told us in 2017 Cinders had gained enough fans to fill Wembley Stadium 3 nights in a row. It was extremely humbling to see those numbers and we cannot thank our friends and fans enough for their love and support. None of this would be possible without them.
If you could tour with any bands, past or present, who would they be and why?
We would probably go with the same bands you asked about earlier! Grouplove, Motion City Soundtrack, The Front Bottoms, or Coldplay. They all put on incredible shows and seem like the greatest guys to hang out with. Plus we are curious to know if they have the same pre show nervous pees that we have..
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Thank you so much for having us! We can’t wait to share our new song Tree House with you in January 2018! Make sure to follow us on Spotify so that you don’t miss out on all the new tracks soon to be released.