PLAYLIST: Boston Manor’s Songs That Inspired “GLUE”

Radiohead, Nine Inch Nails, and Deftones are among the groups that influenced BM’s latest record.

If the first three singles hadn’t made it clear enough, Boston Manor are trying new things on GLUE, the UK punks’ third record together since forming in 2013. Opener “Everything Is Ordinary” in particular is a new look for them, incorporating elements of industrial metal and digital hardcore into their tried-and-true pop-punk sound.

While this punk energy is surely still there (the single “Liquid” even features guest vocals from Trophy Eyes’ John Floreani), their professed interest for experimental and genre-bending artists like Nine Inch Nails, Deftones, Marilyn Manson, and Radiohead shines through across the records’ thirteen tracks, which all sound like the music of Pure Noise Records’ early years reconfigured for a post-gecs era.

Before GLUE drops this Friday, you can listen along to a handful of the tracks that inspired the record below, with commentary from vocalist Henry Cox. You can pre-order the record here.

Nine Inch Nails, “March of the Pigs”

This whole record has been one of our major influences over the last couple of albums we’ve made—an all-time classic. I became obsessed with this record in university, along with Pretty Hate. Honestly I don’t really know how I missed them growing up; I think they were a little before my time. I always just associated them with my friend’s older goth sisters. 

The more I dove into this band and what they did and how uncompromising they were, it really inspired me. The way they use synth and guitars to make aggressive music is exactly what we wanted to take on with our last record. I also love that they can be heavy without being fast. Although this song—and our song  “Everything Is Ordinary” that it inspired—are very fast, to be fair. 

This song, I think, changed the most from the demo we had. We just couldn’t seem to pull it together initially. I remember it just sounded like a bad impression of a Linkin Park song for a while. Then in the studio we referenced this track and just decided to make it much faster, and have this constant drum beat running throughout. The song isn’t as heavy as “March of the Pigs,” but we wanted to give it this scuzzy industrial sound, so we distorted the shit out of the drums, which were just recorded with a room mic, I think; used super DI’d guitar sounds and then put all this tuning and overdrive on the vocals to make it sound like a machine. 

Not a patch on this song, though. The weird piano thing at the end of the chorus is so cool.   

Deftones, “Smile”

This is another band that inspired us a lot growing up and is still a big influence on us. When I was fourteen I basically just listened to only heavy music, and I remember hearing Deftones on the radio one day. I loved how he used melodies to make such heavy music sound so pretty. I think they’re such an inspiring band, and they’ve also been super uncompromising since they started. They also have such a consistent back catalogue; like so many great records. 

I remember when we were writing the album we were all basically living at Dan and Mike’s house, working out of separate rooms; we’d get up early and get coffee and then start playing music. Each morning before we started we’d all sit down in this sunny part of the house and listen to this song. It’s maybe my favorite Deftones track. It was supposedly one of the songs off of the unreleased album Eros; Chino uploaded it without the label’s permission and it got taken down, but you can still find it on YouTube. 

I hope they release that record one day. I don’t know if this song really influenced any one track on the record, but if you listen to our back catalogue you’ll see we rip them off all the time. 

Radiohead, “Videotape”

I love how haunting this track is; we got pretty obsessed with it after we watched those videos on its “secret rhythm.” I don’t think I’m musically capable of making a track this technical; definitely not playing one, anyway. But it definitely inspired us to get more creative with stuff like polyrhythms and time signatures. Stuff like the rolling vocals in “On a High Ledge” and the bridge in “Playing God” definitely came out of all that stuff. I feel like Radiohead are one of those bands that can really change your perspective on music and what a song can be. They brought a great calm to my life when I first discovered them during a difficult period of my life, and ever since I feel like they’ve been in the back of my head jingling away.

James Blake, “Retrograde”

The Prophet synth sounds James Blake uses on all his records is a big love of ours; once we started working with our producer Mike Sapone he started bringing all this analogue synth stuff into the studio and we got hooked. He’s a bit of an evil genius when it comes to electronic stuff, but he’s been teaching us a few things. The synth in this track is ridiculous; it just sweeps you up into this tidal wave. We’ve wanted to do something similar on the song “Terrible Love.” Instead of using synths, though, we recorded loads of layers of me singing this slow gliding falsetto line in different registers and harmonies. 

With a bit of compression and distortion it creates this really cool digital sound. Honestly, I’d love to explore more of this sound in the future. Being known as a heavier/energetic band can feel like we’re not encouraged to make music like that sometimes. But I feel like we’ve been trying a lot of different stuff, and some of it’s been great. I love trying to incorporate stuff like this that isn’t usually associated with bands like us and seeing if it works. 

My Bloody Valentine, “Only Shallow”

With “Plasticine Dreams” we initially wanted it to sound more like this song; guitars thick and driving, but the vocals more ’gazey and held back. It ended up going to the other side of the Creation Records roster and going more Britpop. I don’t think that was intentional, initially, but when it started going there we just kinda leaned into it. That was the music on the radio when we were kids, so it’s sort of ingrained in us being a band from the north. There was a real resurrection of shoegaze a few years back; there were a bunch of cool bands like Simmer and Leatherneck playing with that sound in the UK; I don’t hear as much of that these days, and that’s a shame.  

Foals, “What Went Down”

How good is this song for opening a record? I love that drum groove that just rides throughout the song. I wish we did a lot more riding with sections for longer; sometimes our songs can feel a bit like a race. We took a lot of influence from the structure and the groove of this track for “You, Me & The Class War.” It’s got such a desert rock vibe about it; I love it. When this record came out I would take long drives at, like, 1 a.m. and listen to it; there’s a real timeless quality to it. We wrote that song with a view to create a big moment at a festival; I can imagine playing it at about 6:00 p.m. as the sun’s setting; everyone’s a little drunk or just coming up and getting excited.  

Tears for Fears, “Shout”

Sort of a precurser to industrial and trip-hop, this song always used to make my antenna ping when I was a kid. It just doesn’t really sound like anything that was on the radio. At the surface it sounds like a pop song, and it had the ’80s drum machines and synths from that era, but there was such a darkness to it and the drums smack so hard. 

I hear so much of NIN’s “Pretty Hate Machine” in this song; I wish they’d done more music like it. The chord progression is what we took and made “Plasticine Dreams” with. I always get a kick out of that: when you start a song that’s drawing from something like this and when you’re finished with it it sounds unrecognisable. 

Marilyn Manson, “Great Big White World”

I feel like even before we released Welcome to the Neighbourhood we were ripping off elements of the Mechanical Animals record. It’s generally such a good rock record—all of the guitars, I know, influenced Ash and Mike greatly; but I think it’s another example of music that we grew up with just always being there. 

“Funeral Party” off our last album is very Manson-inspired, as is a big portion of our new album. I’ve always seen his songs as basically just pop songs; if you made the music softer and had a female vocalist it would sound like an early Christina Aguilera song. They’re heavy and intoxicating but still have a lot of soul and melody; you don’t always have to be playing fast to convey that. I also like that he doesn’t write a lot of lyrics to convey his message; he keeps it to the point. Also another great driving record if you haven’t listened to it. 

The Neighbourhood, “Afraid”

I think the first time I actually listened to The Neighbourhood we were driving around LA—which is probably the perfect visual setting for their music. I guess I liked the fact that they played such soulful pop but were still a band playing guitars. The drum grooves are so tight, and I just fell in love with those lazy guitar leads. It kind of went hand-in-hand with a lot of the slower music we were starting to make. It definitely made me explore my range and play with melody more than I had been doing. 

I thought it was really interesting when they put that mixtape out a few years back; I’ve not really seen many bands do that. Initially, before we wrote GLUE, we were going to do something similar—although we wanted it to be totally genre-less and feature lots of collaborations with our friends and artists from other worlds. I still really want to make that project happen one day. I love albums and I think they’re important for guitar music, but I think stepping away from that construct allows for so many creative possibilities. 

Barkmarket, “Visible Cow”

Our producer put us on to this band a few years back. They have this whole psychedelic take on grunge going on. I can also really hear a lot of early QotSA taking influence from them. The guitars in this chorus acted as a reference track for a lot of the guitars across our last two albums—particularly the riff in the chorus. It’s so fat; I have no idea how many guitars there are layered on top of one another but it sounds great. The singer, Dave Sardy, went on to produce records for everyone from Oasis to Manson to Catfish and the Bottlemen (he also scored Zombieland 2). But yeah, if you have a decent speaker set up, crank this and sit a couple feet back; it’ll set your hair on fire.

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