Crying Beauty Queens are an atmospheric alternative rock band based in Manchester. Taking influence from Fugazi's melodies mixed with The Pixies' dynamics and a Cranberries kind of mood, they provide something unique to the Manchester Music Scene.
How have you found being a musician during lockdown?
We’ve had a lot of time to work on material which we are really excited to share with each other and jam with.
Being away from the conventional gigging and rehearsing schedule we have, we’ve been able to focus solely on our writing, and making the best music possible. The boredom of lockdown does get to you after a while though, and we have found it frustrating not being able to play together in so long, but we’re excited to get back to it!
What have you been doing musically during the lock down, how has it affected you?
Alex has been writing a lot more music that he hasn’t previously tried to write like New Order influenced 80’s synth-pop and UK garage like The Streets and Burial. He’s found it interesting to see how different types of music have been put together and is looking forward to bringing some of that into our more rock influenced music when we get together again.
Paddy has been doing a lot of demos for the band as well as a fair bit of side material that doesn’t really fit into what we are currently writing. Hopefully, both sets of music will see the light of day soon. At first, Paddy found lockdown to be really liberating and he had the time to execute a lot of his ideas. With time though, the cabin fever has set in and he’s found himself being less productive, but it’s to be expected.
Jordan has been writing a lot of original music and listening to more different types of music that she doesn’t normally explore, like Surf Curse and Keaton Henson. She’s also been focussing on the business aspect of the band and has been taking a lot of time to try and build a community in which fans can engage more with us.
What first got you into music and when was it?
Paddy’s dad mostly got him into music. He used to play all sorts of music when they were in the car together. Everything from classic rock, blues and punk, through to soul, funk and Motown. He found his own music taste when he was about 10 years old hearing bands like Arctic Monkeys, Green Day and all those other groups you find when you first start looking for music with a guitar in it. After hearing those bands though, it was very clear in his mind what he wanted to do when he grew up. It kick-started his obsession with music and it hasn’t stopped since.
Jordan got into music from listening to her grandma play music around the house when she was little. From bands like Pink Floyd, Def Leppard, Queen, etc. she decided to take up playing electric guitar from when she was around 9 years old after hearing a CD she received for Christmas of Orianthi. This was her main inspiration from when she was younger, and she has since developed a broad range of influences and learnt to take influence from different styles of music.
Back when Alex was in year 1 at school, teachers could choose what topics they wanted to cover in class, as long as they taught them everything they needed to know. But his teacher chose ‘The Beatles’ as their topic for the term, and they completed Beatles related work during their topics session. He remembers the first time the teacher called them to sit down in front of the whiteboard to tell them what their topic was; she wrote ‘The Beatles’ on the whiteboard, and played ‘love me do’. He remembers feeling an overwhelming feeling of joy when the harmonica came in and he heard John and Pauls harmonies for the first time. And since that moment, he’s been telling anyone who asked, (or would listen!) that he was going to be a ‘Rockstar’.
Who inspired you to make music?
As mentioned in the previous question, classic rock bands and solo performers like Orianthi influenced Jordan from a very early age. Then from around age 14, Jordan was inspired by more acoustic and folk music and took influence from Tom Walker, Tom Petty and Biffy Clyro, before being part of Crying Beauty Queens, where she was exposed to a massive amount of music and styles. As of now, she is currently listening to Kendrick Lamar and Post Malone, The 1975 and Harry Styles.
There was a period in Alex’s life around the age of 10 where he wasn’t really that interested in music anymore, probably because he had been hearing the same music that his parents listened to (Black Sabbath, ABBA, The Carpenters and so on) for years, and he hadn’t found his own music taste yet. One of his friends started to play drums, and because Alex is very competitive, he also started drum lessons, as he didn’t want him to be better than him at anything! That’s when my drum teacher influenced him with Linkin Park and Blink-182, and those two bands where crucial in his development as a teenager. These days, he listens to all sorts of music from metal to pop, and his favourite bands are The Beatles, The 1975, Elton John, Kanye West and New Order.
We are influenced by everyone! We traditionally come from quite different musical backgrounds. Paddy’s being a little more left of centre, but when paired with Jordan’s folk sensibilities and Alex’s classic pop influences, these are combined to make who we are. As a band though, we love the Pixies, we love Joy Division and New Order, Bon Iver, T. rex. We could mention many more but I’m sure that would become tedious rather quickly. But check out our Spotify if you’d like to know more. We have playlists!!!
How would you describe the music that you typically create?
When Paddy and Jordan first started the band, they had it in their mind that we were going to be a stripped back folk rock band. Jordan had a very delicate and quiet voice that in no way was going to get above a full, raging rock band. However, with time, and with Alex joining on bass, our songs quickly became louder, faster, darker and overall just more hungry. This brings us now where I guess we play our type of atmospheric, dynamic alt rock?
We would say we create a very punchy, rhythmically sound take on what the
Pixies were doing in the late 80’s. We love the loud/quiet dynamic, and we are very good at being honest with ourselves about the music we are creating. If it’s not good enough or its too similar to stuff we’ve written before, it’s not going out. we will end up changing again. It’s a given at this point.
What is your creative process like?
It’s definitely changed over time! Alex was a late addition to the band, and as he came into the group just over a year ago, Jordan wrote the songs, and her and Paddy moulded them from acoustic songs written in Jordan’s bedroom into big songs meant for playing on big stages. Jordan has a great way of bottling up something she feels and putting it eloquently into a 3- or 4-minute song. Paddy has such an eye for making a few little changes that make a huge difference to the sound of the song and how it flows. Alex is great at changing rhythms and bringing new ideas to the song-writing process in order to create more interesting dynamics, rhythms etc. Our process now is quite inclusive. Most of the time Jordan will just come into rehearsal with a half song (a verse, a chorus) that she’s written on her own. Then Paddy and Alex’s job is to make those into a whole song. This consists most of the time of speeding it up, adding electric instruments and fine tuning any other elements. There are exceptions to this but that’s how it goes for the most part.
Who would you like to collaborate with?
We are very open to collaboration. However, because we are such a tight knit group, I’m unsure how it would turn out. I guess there’s only one way to find out. We would love to collaborate with Peter Hook. We love Manchester, and we feel very privileged to represent the city when we play live, and in our opinion, no one represents the Manchester spirit more than Peter Hook. Being in not only one, but two of the best Manchester bands is a pretty big feat, and since he is one of the guys that Alex modelled his own personal bass style on, we would love to work with him on a track and get his opinion on our work.
If you could support one band/artist who would it be and why?
There are too many!!! Paddy would have to say a band like Neutral Milk Hotel because their music is so close to his heart. Seeing them live would be a miracle of sorts let alone opening for them. He’d probably just cry all the way through it. From today though, Arcade Fire would probably be his dream because they are his favourite band who are currently around. Plus, he thinks they are the best live band in the world.
For Alex, it would have to be the 1975. They get a lot of stick from music fans and the media, but they have been a huge influence in Alex’s life and his music since he discovered them in 2015. He thinks their willingness to just do whatever they want as a mainstream pop band – regardless of whether or not people think their music is disjointed or pretentious – is pretty admirable. He thinks they have made some of the greatest pop music of the millennial so far. Plus, their fans are very loyal and we would love the challenge of impressing their fanbase!
Jordan would love to either support Sam Fender or Delta Sleep. They’re two very dissimilar bands/artists, but it would be an amazing experience to share the stage with either of the acts as she has been a big fan of their music recently and it would be an amazing opportunity for anyone!
What is the one message you would give your audience and what message would you give the MU readers?
Support your favourite artists especially smaller ones. They need your help more than ever right now to keep going at the moment. So, if you have the money, buy a t shirt, a vinyl, a cassette etc. because every little bit of revenue is greatly needed in order to keep art going through these trying times. But if you can’t spare the money, just keep listening because that is equally appreciated and treasured by bands - ourselves included! Also, go come see us play when gigs start up again, *shameless*.
What is the most useless talent you have?
There’s no such thing. Everything here is going on for a reason. Having said that, Paddy is double jointed in his left shoulder blade.
Jordan can fit 4 yorkshire puddings in her mouth at once. All her friends say she laughs like Bart Simpson as well. She’s not sure how she feels about that…!
Alex can remember specific dates for almost anything you tell him.
What would you be doing right now if it wasn’t for music?
Alex would be acting! He has enjoyed performing in pantomimes and musical theatre productions since he was young. But since music has fully taken over, he’s not had the time to commit to such shows. Maybe you’ll see him in a theatre production one day – who knows?
Jordan has an eye for business, specifically marketing. She would probably be running her own marketing agency or working with bands and other musicians to help them with promoting their music. She loves that side of the business and would take great pleasure in helping other bands achieve the same level of success!
Paddy loves writing so maybe something related to journalism. He loves writing about music as well as playing it so maybe something to do with music criticism. Or maybe pursuing something in theatre? He really loves acting, specifically in plays. He’d love to be part of theatre performances at the Loury, or Home Theatre.
Where have you performed?
We’ve performed all over the North of England. Manchester (our base), Leeds, Liverpool, Sheffield, Stoke. We love playing at Stoke because we always get quite a big turnout, but our favourite venue to play at would probably be Night and Day Café in Manchester. Great stage, great sound and great people. We’ve had several great gigs there. We’ve had our fair share of bad and weird gigs too though. There have definitely been times where we’ve come off stage disappointed in the sound or our performance, or we’ve had technical difficulties so probably those gigs. We consider ourselves to very much be a live band and consider our strengths to lie in our performances, and you always hope to put on a great performance for people so it’s frustrating when it’s just not your night.
We’re not 100% sure when our next gig will be given the circumstances at the moment. We are supposed to be supporting Wendy James on 11th September which is scheduled to be our next gig that is predicted to be going ahead, however, it’s difficult to say at the moment due to COVID-19!
How do you feel the internet has impacted the music industry and you specifically?
The internet has changed the way everything works, good and bad. We never would have met if it wasn’t for the internet as we found the advertisement for the summer school we originally all attended via a website. That said, it’s been more difficult to keep the band going financially because more people stream music these days, and it’s more difficult to make any money at all, never mind a profit, so most of the money we use to promote the band and create recordings etc. comes from our own pockets. It swings in roundabouts, it’s probably harder to become a household name band, but it’s made it easier to just start a band with a few friends, get some songs together, and go out and gig, which is exactly what we want to do. We love spending time with each other and we’re just a couple of friends making music we love.
What is your favourite song to perform?
Jordan and Alex’s favourite song to perform live is our newest song ‘Darling’. That song was written during a writing retreat at Paddy’s house last summer, and after a few hours of trying to write a song together, Paddy created some chords and it all just seemed to come together very quickly after that. It feels amazing when a song is tied to a good memory, and we’re really proud that it came out the way that it did. It’s fast, heartfelt, rhythmic and powerful and we think that song really took us to the next level in terms of our song-writing abilities.
Paddy’s favourite song to play is our closing song ‘Destination Untold’. It’s a song that starts fairly stripped back but just gets bigger and bigger to the point where it just explodes in the second half. It’s really fun to play for that reason because it gives us the chance to just go wild.
What is the most trouble you have gotten into?
Our first ever gig when it was just Jordan and Paddy in the band. We turned up to the venue and Paddy wasn’t 18 at the time. We thought that because we were playing at the venue and we weren’t going to be drinking alcohol (something we never do at shows as we like to play the best we can), it would be fine. How wrong we were. We were sat outside for around an hour and a half trying to convince the bouncers that we weren’t going to cause any trouble and we were both really worried because it was our first gig and because Paddy had travelled an hour to get there! We were allowed to play the gig in the end, but we definitely learnt our lesson!
If you could only listen to one album from now on what would it be?
Oh Lord. That is impossible to answer. For some reason, every time I answer this question I worry that it’s going to actually happen. With a gun a to my head though I have to say ‘In The Aeroplane of the Sea’ by Neutral Milk Hotel. It’s a perfect album and the only reason I was hesitant about it is because I’ve already played it to absolute death. It is flawless to me and is the album that I have the greatest emotional attachment to. It ends up influencing everything I do.
This is so hard! It would probably be ‘A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships’ by the 1975 or ‘Abbey Road’ by the Beatles. A brief inquiry has a little bit of everything: a ballad, a pop song, a jazz song, a rock song and plenty more to cover whatever potential vibe I wanted to go for, as the genre bending of the 1975 allows for. But Abbey Road is such a complete album to me, from the beautiful ‘Something’ to the dirty and rough ‘I want you (she’s so heavy)’. It’s the Beatles’ final goodbye to a career full of brilliant songs. I’d hate to pick one, but it’d be one of those.
If I had to pick one, it would probably be ‘beerbongs and bentleys’ by Post Malone. I’ve played that album to death and have such good memories attached to it. It’s not too much of a serious album and it’s catchy. I’ve been listening to a lot of rap singer/songwriter music as of lately, and I think this album has some great songs.
What is the best advice you have been given?
‘Bleed who you are, all the time‘ from Grian Chattan of Fontaines D.C. He said it in their recent documentary and it has stuck with me ever since. Just be yourself and be proud of it.
If you could change anything what would it be?
We would make it illegal to not be a good person. In an ideal world, that would solve every problem our world currently faces.
Which bands do you think are currently under-rated or that people should look out for?
Loads! Great Grandpa and Delta Sleep are the first two that come to mind first though. They are very different from each other but both under appreciated. From Manchester though, I really like the band Katz. They are really cool garage rock band who we think are starting to turn heads at the moment. Their songs are short and to the point and manage to be both energetic and sort of sad at the same time.
Also, Honey from Stoke are a bunch of really cool people, they always put on a show. We’ve played with Honey before, and they’re all lovely! Another band we have worked with and love is Saints Among Us. Jordan is very close with the band and they are all great people to work with. They write amazing music and their live shows are so energetic and exciting!
What is next for you?
I think we can all agree that 2020 has been a bit of a write off but none the less, you can expect more new music before the end of the year... hopefully. And when venues open again you can expect to see us there playing as much as we can just like old times. 2021 is sure to be an exciting one for us unless another global pandemic wants to rear its head!
Exclusive video of Crying Beauty Queens performing an acoustic song in Music Underground Members
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