More New York than New Islington: Meet Glossop band shunning Manchester sound

A Glossop funk band will be looking to build on a year of highs after supporting soul legend Alexander O’Neal on tour.

Cruel Kingdom, consisting of 18-year-old Henry Beach and 17-year-olds Jack Kennedy and Sam Capper recently released their EP Have You Heard…?

Despite its four tracks, the band’s EP is a short but great showcase of what the band are about – rich blends of varying genres over solid lyrics.

And that style has been very much inspired by the time they spent with O’Neal.

The Criticize singer took the trio on tour across the country, playing gigs in Salford, Birmingham, London and Edinburgh.

“The whole experience was incredible,” drummer Jack told MM.

“Our manager Steve, who manages Alex, saw us play at Blackthorn Festival last year and managed to get us on tour with him.

“We were only supposed to be on it for the one day, to play the local one at the Lowry but literally about two months before the first date they said that Alex loved us and that we were coming on the full tour.”

Laughing, vocalist and keyboardist Sam added: “I remember when me and Henry went back to college the next day we walked in and got bollocked for not handing in our coursework!”

The band formed while its members were pupils at Longdendale High School, with Jack and the band’s other vocalist and bassist Henry initially meeting in music class.

The band draw from a rich tapestry of music for inspiration, with Metallica and Miles Davis joined by the likes of Snarky Puppy and Twenty One Pilots in terms of the band’s influences.

“At first we just did funk stuff as were just a drummer and a bassist,” explained Henry.

“Funk music is what we loved so we started off with the Red Hot Chili Peppers and stuff like that – the first song we did together was Snow – and it just grew from there.

“What we’ve always tried to do is take little bits from everything we can.

“We said from the start that we don’t want to limit ourselves to a genre because then you’re cutting out so much you can’t do.”

Sam added: “Whenever we’ve tried to write to a genre it’s never worked. We just expect ourselves to just let it flow and all sorts of stuff comes out.”

Like most young bands out in the wilderness Cruel Kingdom will be itching to carve their own niche and build a fanbase.

That’s a challenging feat for any band – but do Cruel Kingdom believe that their unique sound could work against them in securing listeners?

Jack said: “We don’t want to be like anyone else. We want people to say ‘that’s Cruel Kingdom’ when they hear us.

“We focus just on making ourselves happy with the music and what we’re playing before making anyone else happy.

“It can work as a massive positive that we’re not just another indie band but it can also be a negative in a city like Manchester where if someone doesn’t see a guitarist then they don’t care.”

In fact, the band are actively seeking to rid themselves of the label ‘Manchester band’ from the get-go, claiming that their producer believes their sound is more in tune with New York than New Islington.

“Manchester music hasn’t influenced us the way others have,” admitted Henry.

“We’ve all listened to the Manchester bands everyone loves but we’ve got such an open-minded view on music that literally everything we listen to influences us.”

So what does the near future hold for the Glossop outfit?

“We’re just leaving it open really,” said Sam.

“With the influences we’ve got we’re not expecting to be massive so we’re just happy as long as we’re playing we’re happy.”

Henry agreed, saying: “We’re just trying to gig as much as we can over the summer and build a fanbase hopefully.

“We’ve got the EP now, we’re allowed to say that we’re playing Blackthorn again now but we can’t say any others.

“Blackthorn was really the place where we really started in terms of gigging so it’ll be good to go back.”

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