Louder with Ash Wilson of Boston Manor at 2000 Trees Festival
Photo Credit: Ben Morse
Working your way up from humble beginnings in a seaside town to touring the world playing rock shows is the dream of countless young bands, yet for Blackpool’s Boston Manor, that dream is their reality. The band are preparing to release their second full length record ‘Welcome to the Neighbourhood’, which follows on from their 2016 standout debut ‘Be Nothing’, and have also scored a spot on the line-up at Cheltenham’s 2000 Trees festival. We caught up with guitarist Ash Wilson before their set at the festival to discuss the new record, touring, and scaring the locals of their hometown:
You’ve recently released your new single ‘Halo’ from your upcoming record ‘Welcome to the Neighbourhood’- how have you found the response to that single so far?
The response has honestly been mind-blowing, we never expected that many people to connect with it in the way that they did. I’m excited because that’s definitely the most commercial song on the record, so I’m glad people vibed with that as much as they do our old stuff, because the rest of the album is going to be an interesting one…
‘Halo’ is such a multifaceted track with so many layers and levels- was that the plan from the outset or did that develop organically through the writing and recording process?
People can connect with it on multiple different levels and if you want to connect with it in your own way you can make it about anything you want- ultimately it does have a running storyline but you can sort of do whatever you want with it which is why it’s a special song and why it worked so well as the first single.
Were you conscious of wanting to build on and develop the sound of ‘Be Nothing’ with this new record and how did the creative process differ this time around?
We wrote ‘Be Nothing’ quite a few years ago now so our tastes have all changed, and we listen to such a span of different records so we’ve created a melting pot of all our favourite bands and thought ‘we’ll just put all this together and see how it goes!’ We worked with (New Jersey-based producer) Mike Sapone on the record as well and he really helped open it up. Everyone says it, but I feel like this is definitely our best record so far, even though we’ve only released one full length and an EP, and I’m just excited to see what everyone thinks of it!
You’ve been put together by many people into this saturated market of new-age ‘pop-punk’ bands- does that make it harder to make yourselves heard, or does having a community of bands around you push you to develop creatively?
It’s an interesting question- we’ve never seen ourselves as a ‘pop punk’ band but once you get put into that pocket of bands you’re only ever really associated with those bands, but we’re about much more than that and it has been a hard climb. Not that we’re trying actively to distance ourselves from that at all, we just want the option of playing multiple different genres across multiple different scenes, not just the same scene that we’ve been playing in since we started out as a band- which I guess is also partly down to us for always touring with pop punk bands.
You guys are Blackpool-based- what was the grassroots music scene like for you out there, and do you feel it shaped you as a band in your early career?
When we grew up there, there wasn’t really much of a scene- everyone we knew just sort of got together and we had this weird mish-mash of bands who all played the same bar, so there’d be an indie band, a hardcore band, a metal band and a pop punk band, and somehow they’d all fit. Nobody was really there to listen to the music though, everyone was just there to have fun- until it got shut down due to underage drinking, that is… The only thing that has really kept going in Blackpool is Rebellion Festival, which is the most punk festival in the world! It’s really funny seeing all the OG punks with their tartan pants and coloured mohawks in Blackpool, and all the old people are walking past them looking confused and terrified!
Looking out wider, you guys have toured in a variety of places, including on the Vans Warped Tour- do you have a favourite place to play, and if so why?
We love playing Manchester, and I think every band loves playing London because it’s such a big place for bands to play! We’ve played in America quite a lot, and Chicago has always been cool for us- after the Knuckle Puck tour we did two weeks of our own headline run- it was just a case of ‘okay, let’s see how this goes’ and then the Chicago show ended up selling out! There were 450 kids there and we were shocked because we’ve never played to that many people at home, nevermind overseas! So Chicago and also Philadelphia are also two of our favourite places to play!
When it comes to festivals, does your planning for the show and your choice of setlist change at all? Is playing festivals a different experience to playing your own headline shows?
It does kind of change- for our own headline shows we tend to play more of the ‘deep cuts’ and songs that people haven’t heard live often, but for festival like 2000 Trees we’re trying to put something special in for this one too that hopefully people will like just as much!
Any chance we could get a sneak preview of some more new songs during your set? Will any of those be seeing the light as singles any time soon?
No comment! If you’re going to watch the set you’ll find out…
Most mysterious! And those who were lucky enough to catch Boston Manor’s set inside a packed-out Cave Stage tent were indeed treated to the premiere of an unnamed new track from the album which illustrated the incredible fire that fuels this new record! This is a young band hungry to show the world what they’re made of- definitely keep an eye on this lot, because ‘Welcome to the Neighbourhood’ is all set to demonstrate what rising stars of British rock Boston Manor really are!
The band’s new album ‘Welcome to the Neighbourhood’ is set for release via Pure Noise Records on September 7th. The first single ‘Halo’ is available to download and stream now on all platforms, and you can watch the official video below:
Connect with Boston Manor on their website: www.bostonmanorband.com
Connect with Boston Manor on Twitter: @BSTNMNR