Exposure: The Cinnamons
- Ross Barber
- 17 November 2009
The Cinnamons - Armed Robbery (radio edit)
Winning over local music lovers from the Glasgow area, and reaching a wider fanbase via the Internet and social networking, The Cinnamons is now far more than the small bedroom project it started out as. Combining a varied set of influences from various decades past, they have created a niche sound; synth-tastic without sacrificing lyrical or musical substance. Debut single 'Dead Man's Shoes' is released on November 12th. To find out more about the band and this upcoming release, The List spoke with Lori Duncan.
Who are The Cinnamons and how did you get together?
The Cinnamons are Chris Marshall (guitar, keys, sequencing, drum loop editing, production), Gerry Crosbie (vocals, lyrics, keys, guitar, harmonica, Kaoss pad, production), Lori Duncan (vocals, synth, keys, percussion), Dave Bass (backing vocals, bass guitar) and Gav Hunter (human drum machine).
The Cinnamons began a few years ago in [Chris] Marshall’s bedroom as a lo-fi recording project and there was never any intention of playing live. He was studying music tech at college, where he met Gerry, a neighbour from the same area of Castlemilk. Even though they had lived minutes from each other all their lives it wasn't until Marshall sound engineered at one of Gerry's live shows in the college that they began talking. They started hanging out a lot and exchanging records. They both had very different tastes in music. Around this time Marshall had been working on a couple of songs on his home computer and after hearing Gerry’s voice he asked him if he would mind singing on some of the arrangements he had recorded. Being fans of bands like The New Pornographers and The Delgados the guys asked if I would sing on a couple of the tracks too.
Over time, our recordings grew into an EP, which we posted on MySpace and other places online. This gathered attention from friends and other like-minded people in the Glasgow area. Soon, people started to ask what was happening and when we would be playing live. The three of us jumped at the idea of gigging, but lacked the rhythm section we needed to bring The Cinnamons to life. Dave had already played bass on half of the recordings, and was also playing with Marshall in another band, so it was only natural that he joined the live outfit. We then recruited Gav, the most talented drummer we knew, to complete the line up. We ran off 100 copies of the home recordings to sell at the show, and after playing to a full house at Nice'N'Sleazy, we realised we had shifted every CD we had pressed. Months later the songs wouldn’t go away and people kept asking when the next show was. Collectively, we realised we needed to reassemble, but this time a real band. We are now in full swing and very excited to be releasing our first single, 'Dead Man's Shoes' later this month.
Have you played in other bands previously? Do you think your previous experience has had an impact on the music you are currently writing?
In the beginning The Cinnamons was just a fun side-project, but now the band has become a creative platform to explore other areas and other styles of music outwith the scope of our previous projects. We are an eclectic bunch, with very different musical tastes and technical backgrounds and when we bring all our individual musical experience together it creates an interesting mesh of styles that work.
We have all learned from our past endeavours, particularly those of us who were previously in bands striving to get record deals. We still have that ambition now, but it in no way controls our songwriting or style of music. The songs we write now are written from our hearts and for ourselves. Our music reflects who we are and the songs are genuine honest tracks. The main thing we all learned from previous bands is that, at the end of the day and above everything else, it has to be all about the music.
Is there a main songwriter in the band, or is it more of a collaborative effort?
The songs are mainly a collaboration between Marshall and Gerry. Either Marshall arranges the song and Gerry writes the lyrics, or Gerry writes a song and Marshall arranges it. When we rehearse as a full band, ideas are in full flow and we’re excited to see how that side of the song writing process also progresses as we develop as a band.
Our new single 'Dead Man’s Shoes' is Marshall and Gerry’s most collaborative song writing effort yet. This time, our friend Robin Sutherland kindly lent a hand to record some live drum and bass tracks for the song and the track was then reassembled in Marshall’s bedroom using his home recording system. Later this month we will be releasing the song as our debut single digitally worldwide, and a limited run of 1000 copies on CD will also be available at shows.
You have an interesting sound, combining indie with electronic synth sounds. How would you describe your music to someone who hasn't heard The Cinnamons before?
We have so many influences and such a diverse musical background, we often find it hard to answer this question. Marshall describes it as 'The Cars, if they were brought up on Britpop in a council flat.' Others have described us as 'An upbeat Joy Division.' Our influences range from classics like the Kinks and Pink Floyd, through to new wave bands of the 80's like Devo and the guitar pop of 90's britpop and lo-fi.
So many bands are using the internet to gain exposure and make themselves heard. In your experience, how important has the internet been in regards to expanding your audience and getting your name out there?
We started off as a bedroom recording project, with no intention of taking it any further, but when the songs went up on sites such as MySpace and Last.fm, the feedback was overwhelming and unexpected. Everyone was asking for a live show, so we expanded the line up. Internet networking sites are a great tool for any artist to showcase their work to a wider audience. It’s also a great way to find new music and even collaborate on new projects, in the vein of production projects such as The Postal Service, Dntel and Styrofoam.
How do you feel about your single launch on 12th November? How can we get involved?
We’re excited to be finally putting our music out there by releasing our first single 'Dead Man’s Shoes'. The feedback has been great and we’re looking forward to taking The Cinnamons to the next level. On the 12th of November, the single and B-side 'Armed Robbery' will be available as a limited run at our shows. The digital single will also be available from iTunes, Emusic and other good online stores.
To get involved come along to our single launch at Nice'N'Sleazy on Thursday the 12th of November. We’re also supporting California surf-rockers, Wavves on the 22nd of November at the Captain’s Rest. Also, send us a message on MySpace, Facebook, Last.fm or follow us on Twitter.
What else do you have in the pipeline?
We are currently filming our first music video for 'Late Nights', which our friends have very kindly helped us make. It’s a song that we felt we needed an outlet for, so some very talented film makers have come on board to make the video happen. We’ll be releasing that on online portals early in the new year. We also have almost three albums worth of material ready to go and we’ll be releasing our first album next year, followed by a tour of the UK. Keep up to date online at http://www.myspace.com/thecinnamons and http://www.twitter.com/the_cinnamons