Manchester based grunge metal band Cages For Preachers are set for a big 2024. Before they get too busy we got them to answer some of our questions to find out a little bit more about your favourite band of 2024.
Give us a potted history of you / the band
We are a grunge metal hybrid 4-piece originally from Nottingham, UK, but now based in Manchester. Frank and I started what would eventually go onto become Cages For Preachers way back when we were in high school, when we were just kids with instruments and nothing else to do.
We spent all our free time together practising, writing and gigging, often at the detriment of our studies if we’re being completely honest. I actually remember Frank being late to an exam because we’d spent our whole lunch practising our set. We met Josh at a local festival we were playing 5 or 6 years ago and we instantly just clicked, so we stole him from the band he was in and never looked back.
We got to work on really perfecting our craft and it seemed like with Josh, the missing pieces creatively had been filled but there was still something that wasn’t quite right and when we found James right before heading out on our first tour a few years back, we knew we’d finally got the line-up we’d been searching for.
Since then, we’ve gigged relentlessly, doing over 60 shows in the space of two and a half years, playing anywhere that would have us. We were even lucky enough to do our first ever dates abroad in 2022, when we toured in the Netherlands with our label mates in Rockford. But yeah, there’s been lots of exciting things happening and we’re excited to see where 2024 takes us.
Who inspired you to start making music
That’s a really good question and I know that each of us would have such vastly different answers, but fundamentally I guess it was just a desire to do something, to do anything. We come from a really boring place in the middle of the countryside in North Nottinghamshire where there just wasn’t much to do and being in a band cured us of our boredom.
But that’s just the surface of it, we had so many valuable people who influenced us when we were younger and actively helped us pursue this, and not all of those were the hugely successful bands we loved, but those closer to us. I remember 2 music teachers that Frank and I had back in school, for example, Mr Bysouth and Mrs Mahony. They challenged us to become better musicians every day and taught us the virtue of patience and of persistence, which we obviously took for granted at the time, but looking back at it, they really played a huge part in our journey.
We’re also so lucky that we all have such supportive parents who’d drive us to the gigs when we were kids, who’d buy us the instruments for Christmas, who’d let us play deafeningly loud music all day long. There are so many bands and people who paved the way and inspired us to start, it’s difficult to pinpoint the people that pushed the first domino.
And the one or maybe two records that inspired you artistically and why
There are so many albums that inspire us collectively every day, that we always refer back to whenever we’re doing anything. But for me, as a vocalist, there has been no album that has moved me in the way that ‘Grace’ by Jeff Buckley has. I attribute my whole approach to singing and to writing vocals to that album. I distinctly remember hearing it for the first time when I was 14 and just losing my shit. It blew me away. Hearing the high note in the title track for the first time is solely what inspired me to start thinking about learning to sing properly (until this point I was singing because I drew the short straw). It made me want to sing and it sparked a real love for vocalisation, technique and theory.
I deep dived his whole discography and tried my best to learn as much as I could from him. I have an eternal love for that record, man. But as a band there are so many albums that inspire us, Badmotorfinger by Soundgarden, Blackbird by Alter Bridge, Kin by Whitechapel, Physical Graffiti by Led Zeppelin, Innervisions by Stevie Wonder, the list is genuinely endless. We try to take influence from as many sources as we can and wear them on our sleeve.
If you’re trying to explain who you sound like to someone that’s never heard you, what do you say
This is so fun, we’ve been trying to work out how to do this for so long. We describe it differently to everyone we meet. The problem we’ve always had is that we’re too heavy for rock fans and too soft for metal fans, so we’ve found that the best description we have is, as told to us by a fan – it’s like Soundgarden but with heavy as f*ck breakdowns. That’s the best we’ve got for now.
Tell us about your new track
Our most recent release, Slipping Away, is a step away from our usual sound. It’s a bittersweet ballad about love and loss, that I wrote a few years back going through a difficult breakup. It was really easy to write once Josh had the chord progression laid out, as it was purely emotional, not much thought went into the creative choices made other than knowing the song would really suit a floaty, pretty, Jeff Buckley inspired melody. The whole thing came together in about 20 minutes on my end and I did a really rough demo that night in my living room, sent it to the label AND there was a unanimous feeling of excitement about the track.
We recorded the track in late 2021 at Electric Bear Studios, with our long time engineer, producer and all around legend Simon Hopkinson. It took a day to get everything tracked, the only difficulty being a few little tweaks to time signatures in the verses to allow room for the vocals to breathe. It was good fun to f*ck around in 5/4 though. It’s certainly one of my favourite tracks we’ve written, despite it being a completely different angle for us.
Where can we get hold of it
It’s available everywhere you’d expect to find music – Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer, YouTube and all the rest!
Tell us how you write
Our writing process has changed a lot over the last few years. It used to be all Josh and myself, him putting the bones of the instrumental together, everything from guitar to scratch bass to scratch drums for the boys to adapt later, and me writing the lyrics and vocal melodies. But over time, it’s become much more collaborative. We trust in each-other’s judgement and having been friends for so long, we don’t hold anything back, we are very transparent with ourselves about ideas we like and ideas we don’t.
But, the process varies from song to song. Ideas can come from any of us, sometimes a title will come up and we’ll write around that. Sometimes, like on our song ‘Bury The Hatchet’, the drum pattern leads the writing, sometimes its vocals. Our method really is just to see every idea through and filter out the sh*t ones later.
Tell us about your live show, what would be your dream gig
Playing live is our bread and butter. If you like our songs recorded, you’d love them live. We put on a really high intensity show and I feel as though we’re much heavier live. We worked tirelessly on the setlist and making it feel like you were watching an arena band in a small venue. That’s always been the goal for us, to make every live show an experience and not just a gig. Though there’s still a way to go, it definitely feels as though we’re getting there.
There’s so many venues we dream of playing in, but for us being a group of lads from Nottingham, it’s gotta be Rock City, surely? It’s THE place to be in Notts. I’ve watched so many shows there and we promised ourselves that one day we’d headline that room.
What can we expect from you in the near future
2024 is gonna be huge for us. We’re excited to announce that we’ll be releasing two new singles to support the release of our debut album that will be coming later in the year. There’ll be a HUGE release show in Nottingham too! And maybe a tour, who knows? I can’t say much more at this point but I guess you’ll have to wait and see.
Tell us your favourite records that are rocking your headphones/tour bus/stereo
We listen to a lot of hardcore in the van, it just always gets us hyped up for the shows. Lots of Knocked Loose, Kublai Khan, Malevolence, Guilt Trip, Negative Frame etc. The heavier and angrier, the better.
Check out the bands track Slipping Away, below:
Find out more via the bands Facebook