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A Dirty Dozen with CINDERS – March 2024

| 23 March 2024 | Reply

Photo credit: Sarah Fender

According to a recent press release: “Alternative, indie, pop band CINDERS has released their new single “Gold Pearl” and announced their new Going Nowhere EP will be out on Friday, March 29th. The upbeat “Gold Pearl” hinges on a slick acoustic bass and head-nodding drums beneath a mesmerizing vocal turn from front man Montana Smith. “Gold Pearl” is the latest offering from the Salt Lake City-based independent trio’s forthcoming 4-song EP, which also includes the title track and recent single “Going Nowhere.” We get the band to discuss new music, influences, and more.

1. Tell us a little about your latest release.  What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through?  Are there any hidden nuggets you put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

Diehard fans know that the song “Don’t Wait Up” was originally called “Old Fashioned Donuts Go Nuts” because Brad (drummer) brought in some donuts the day we started writing the song, so we temporarily titled it that just to give it a name. We called it that many times when we’d play it at shows, so we thought we’d try to pick a title that looked close, since you can still write the word “donut” with the new title.

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

Brad: I wasn’t raised in a musical home. My brother encouraged me to sign up for percussion in the 7th grade so I did. He ended up getting a drum set for Christmas and my natural talent led me to claiming the drum set and into lessons. I quickly got into pop punk and rock and it was a huge part of my after school life. I never wanted to stop.

Montana: It was when I saw my brother perform at his wedding with an acoustic guitar. The idea of performing and playing guitar/singing got burnt into my brain so I immediately started taking guitar lessons and obsessing over writing/performing, etc.

Adrian: Since I was a child I have been drawn to music. I believe it all started when my older sister would play CDs of local southern California punk bands. I heard the records and knew I needed to do what they were doing.

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

Brad: Motion City Soundtrack. Their EP that isn’t out anymore called Back to the Beat and also their song “Back to the Future.”

Montana: Seeing The Head and the Heart back in 2011 definitely cemented that style of music into our process. The way Dave Matthews Band can take their songs so much further live than they do on album. How Grouplove can have so much fun on stage and how that permeates through their music. Many different influences have had their stamp on us.

Adrian: Throughout my upbringing, I had lots of different artists, songs. and genres that inspired me. Things like classic rock, Motown, hardcore punk, traditional Mexican music, etc. Ultimately what really drew me to playing was middle school. I heard the album Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge by My Chemical Romance. The first single I heard was “I’m Not Okay (I promise).”

4. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

Definitely Andy Hull of Manchester Orchestra. We can’t describe our love for his songwriting. His imagery within his lyric writing and unique arrangements within every song always amazes us.

5. What is your favorite activity when out of the studio and/or not on tour?  What do you like to do to unwind?

We’re all very outdoorsy people, enjoying nature here in Utah, but we’re also very into video games. Skiing, golfing, skateboarding, spikeball, rock climbing, followed up by some Overwatch, Rocket League, Pokemon, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2… Sounds like a great day for unwinding.

6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

Lately we’ve been saying it’s a mix between Grouplove, Twenty-One Pilots, The Front Bottoms, and Manchester Orchestra, with a splash of Green Day. Someone told us we sounded like Green Day after a show and at first we were like meh no way, but now we kinda see it now and we embrace it.

7. When your band is hanging out together, who cooks, who gets the drinks in, and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

We are still kids at heart, so a good pizza and soda is easy to go around like we are still 8 years old throwing a birthday party. And then we will play some games together. But we also really enjoy going out to get a burger at In N Out or The Habit.

8. When was the last time you were starstruck and who was it?

We saw Jeff Goldblum at Sundance film festival like 20 feet away from us, and that was pretty cool. Of course he was surrounded by bodyguards so we couldn’t say hi.

9. What is the best part of being a musician? If you could no longer be a musician for whatever reason, what would be your dream job?

Montana: Best parts all happen on stage. When we hear new lyrics being sung back to us, when a part we were worried about ends up landing perfectly for the crowd, those moments always make everything else worth it. BUT if we couldn’t be musicians, I think we’d all have different answers. For me, I’d say anything in movies. I love every aspect of movies and how they get made, so anything behind the scenes would be amazing.

Brad: The individuals that share with us how our music positively impacted their lives. That really makes me feel like it’s all worth it. Besides that, everyone would agree performing is definitely the most fun part. If I wasn’t a musician, I feel like I’d end up being a rich salesman, but not a scamming or scummy one 😉

Adrian: The best part of being a musician is the connections that you make with other people. This can be with other artists you meet on the road or people who watch you live and/or listen to your music. Music being a universal language is such an amazing thing. The fact that you can relate with something or someone that you might not even speak the same language as is really incredible. But if I could no longer be a musician, I would love to be a psychiatrist.

10. What is one question you have always wanted an interviewer to ask – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

We wish interviewers would ask questions like “what’s your favorite part in the song?” Or “tell us funny tour stories” or “do you guys have a band motto?” We are sick of questions like “how did you meet?” and “what’s the story behind the band name?”

11. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over,” even if it didn’t change your current situation?

Not necessarily. Every wrong person we’ve worked with, every show we shouldn’t have booked, every time we’ve wasted money in the wrong direction…they’ve all been learning experiences that we’ve grown from. Very proud to be who we are and to have bettered ourselves from those missteps or mistakes. While there are things we think about that bother us in how we responded (or didn’t respond to) in the past, there is not something in our musical career that we would want a “do over” with. We are believers that everything that has happened got us here for a reason. Even if that reason is for everything to feel so crappy that it makes us appreciate where we are at.

12. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

Adrian: Without a doubt, I’d want to witness A Love Supreme by John Coltrane. That album is a masterpiece from the first hits on Part I to the last notes on Part IV (This record is so perfect that it even created a religion). In my other life outside of CINDERS, I am a jazz musician. This album is such an important part of the canon and shaped all music after.





Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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