“I’ve never been this happy, and I’ll never be this happy again!” Cinders’ vocalists Jordan Zabriskie and Montana Smith exclaim in harmony on their debut, self titled album. Bursting onto the Salt Lake City music scene in 2015, Cinders is a six-piece indie-pop/alternative-rock band best described by fans as “Rowdy acoustic pop”. With their perfect mix of catchy melodies and high energy performances, they won’t leave you standing still and are sure to put a smile on your face.
Since their formation, Cinders has put in their whole heart to create a fun and relatable sound, that fans of any genre can enjoy. The band independently wrote and recorded a twelve song debut album. Before the release, they showcased two singles and a music video which accumulated over a half a million streams on playlists and videos worldwide. With great anticipation Cinders released their album to a sold out hometown crowd. After their local release, they hit the road completing a west coast tour and ended with a packed Salt Lake show.
With quick success, their album accumulated over 1,000,000 streams on Spotify. They have shared the stage with bands such as Cold War Kids, Jr. Jr., and Milo Greene, as well as being a part of the same festivals as Young The Giant, Purity Ring, and Barcelona.
With the release of 2 new powerful singles, they work on finishing their second full length record, Looking Forward to Looking Back comes out everywhere September 29th!
1.) I first wanted to take the time and thank you for doing this interview with me today. For our readers who haven’t heard of you yet, can you tell us about yourself and anything about the band you’d want us to know? Who have been your major influences in your writing style?
Thanks for having us! We are excited to be here talking about our brand new record Looking Forward to Looking Back. We are called Cinders and we are an indie pop rock band best described by fans as rowdy-acoustic-pop. Though some of us come from different parts of the country, Salt Lake City, Utah will always be our home.
Since there are 6 members in the band, that is a big question to answer! Our influences range from some of today’s most well known artists to jazz guitar players from the 50’s. We all come from different musical backgrounds so we each bring in a piece to make this pie that we call Cinders.
2.) Let’s talk about what you currently have going on. Any new music or new tours in the works? If you were to say one song of your own perfectly sums up what you are all about which song
would that be?
We are stoked to share our brand new album with everyone on September 29th! It is called Looking Forward to Looking Back and it is our second full length record. Following the release of the new record we will be touring the Western United States. You can check out our website for more tour details!
Right now we would all agree that Tree House sums up the approach and direction that our music is taking. It is heavier both musically and lyrically. The new record compiles a lot of emotion into hope driven melodies and punchy synth leads. The driving element in these songs are our own feelings and memories. Our biggest hope is that other will be able to create their own memories and experiences with these songs, that they will be able to look back on later in life.
3.) When you write any new music, can you tell us what the process is like? Describe to us what happens in a typical writing session.
Most of our songs will start off with just a vocal melody and an acoustic guitar. Then each member will sit down with the song and add their flavor to create a full song. A lot of the new songs on this record though were actually written all together as a full band in one room. We would setup all of our gear and start jamming until we found something we all loved and then we would move forward with that. More often than that though we would end up jamming songs from the 90’s or playing metal break downs.
4.) With the music industry always changing and evolving, what are the things you like and don’t like about it? What aspects of the industry do you feel have hurt or helped your career? If you could change anything about it, what would it be?
We really like how with modern media, equipment and technology, any musician can record and release their own music in their bedroom. They can market and book shows and grow a following and a fan base. You don’t need to be signed by a major record label in order to be someone and get your music out there.
What I don’t like about our current music industry isn’t much the industry’s fault, but consumers are so hungry for new music. With easy streaming at their fingertips they don’t really become a fan of a band or artist or even listening to the rest of their music. For example, a lot of my friends just like random songs from random bands that they know nothing about. I feel like that ruins the connection that bands are trying to make with their listeners, I feel as though there is a big gap between a listener and a fan. Bands need fans, they need support, they need friends. I don’t know of a way to stop this from happening, but there may be something that streaming services can do to encourage listeners to learn about the bands they listen to a little more and encourage them to listen to their albums and get excited to attend their concerts.
5.) Do you or any of your band members have any side projects? If so, what are they?
We each put a lot into Cinders and are working full time at it to make this the biggest thing we can. Once we do have time for a side project, you will be the first to know! We would also be really interested in hearing what anyone of us would do without the others. That would be crazy to hear one element of the band by itself.
6.) When you’re preforming how do you handle any mistakes on stage if they ever happen? Do you have any stories that stand out to you that you had to make a memorable recovery?
We try to stay as professional as possible. If the crowd doesn’t notice, then we have done our job right. Though, there have been those moments where we mess up and the entire band looks at one member on stage. At that point you laugh and keep going. Then you go home and practice all night that one line you messed up so that no one in the band will make fun of you ever again.
7.) How do you decide which songs go into a set when you perform live? Do you change up the sets or stick to a regular set list? Do you have any covers?
This is a huge part of Cinders! We always want to make sure that our sets have a great flow. We don’t want to play too many high energy songs in a row, we also don’t want too many slower songs in the mix. We picture ourselves in the crowd and think about what they would want to see and hear and we try to create the best set and experience we can for them.
The sets will change up depending on the event. For our album release tour this Fall, we are playing much longer sets with a lot of new material. So those will be different from some of our opening sets on tour with other bands where we only play for 30 minutes. We also love playing acoustic shows for fans in their homes. Those sets will usually be more calm and focused on vocals rather than a full band sound.
We don’t play any covers on the road. We have performed one cover together in the past and it was In Between Days by The Cure. If we ever do another cover, I’m sure it will be by The Cure.
8.) If you had a choice to go on any bands tour, which tour would you pick and why?
There are so many awesome bands out there that we know and love. It is so hard to choose! We would love to tour with Weezer. They just seem like before an after gigs they skype their families and read books. That just sounds like a relaxing family trip so of course we would want that. Touring with Twenty One Pilots would be awesome. I feel like they would be down to stay up most nights playing Halo. The Head and The Heart would be incredible. They are the group of people that become friends everyone in a hot tub and then invite them to join in the barbecue they are having. All great bands. We have tour with some exceptional artists as it is and are extremely grateful to them!
9.) Do you have any advice for any upcoming artists? What’s the best piece of advice someone gave you when you realized you wanted to be a musician?
Don’t give up!! The biggest thing we learned is that no matter where we are in our career there will always be someone who says yes. For all the hundreds of no’s that you get, there will always be a yes. Keep pushing and keep playing. You will only go as far as you are willing to work.
The greatest piece of advice we were given was to treat this as a full time job even before it is. If we are working at it like it is our career then it will become one. It really works!
10.) Any last words?
Looking Forward to Looking Back comes out everywhere September 29th! Make sure to follow on Spotify and social media so you can hear it first!