Introducing Cultures and New Single Ghost

Bridging the gap between alt-rock and indie pop, Greater Manchester’s Cultures have been plying their trade across the region for the last four years, and their intelligent and idiosyncratic brand of indie has been turning heads and picking up traction ever since.

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With an equal focus on both head and heart within their lyricism, the band have succeeded in elevating themselves head and shoulders above their contemporaries, something that has afforded the band high profile support slots across some of Manchester’s most iconic venues, including Germany’s Giant Rooks at Night & Day Café, and Marsicans at The Deaf Institute – a venue the band have since gone on to headline in front of a rapturous audience, cementing themselves as one of Manchester’s most promising new bands.

The band’s latest single ‘Ghost’ succeeds in merging both the band’s aesthetics; a combination of brooding indie rock buoyed by rousing synth-pop. “For us in the band, the song has come to represent a huge number of different feelings and concepts as it’s developed” explains frontman Josh Spivey. “The lyrics “you never needed someone to take you home” refer to coming to realise that you are more capable of being independent than you knew and in “she never saw you as skin and bones” I try to tackle the idea of how people’s perceptions of each other can be completely different from our own ideas of ourselves. I think we have a habit of assuming that people think the worst of us when people are actually really good when given the chance.”

And in that, Spivey seems to get right to the heart of not just the track, but the band themselves – always looking for the silver lining, ever aware of the clouds it outlines.

We caught up with the band following the tracks release:

Hey guys, thanks for taking the time to answer our questions, can you tell us a bit about yourselves?

We are cultures, a three-piece band from Manchester. Josh sings and plays guitar, Tom is the bassist and backing vocalist, and James plays drums.

The past 12 months have been pretty weird for everyone. What’s it been like for Cultures personally? Any lockdown coping mechanisms you wanna share?

The last 12 months have been quite hard for us as a band however one of our coping mechanisms has been recording new tracks and ideas on our laptops and sending it to each other. On a personal level we’ve all found it important to get outside as much as possible.

You’ve been a band for a few years now, can you talk us through your creative process?

The lyrics to songs come fairly spontaneously to me (Josh) and the process of turning this into fully formed tracks usually starts with me finding the guitar chords to match the vocals, then playing it to James and Tom to see what they think. If they like it, we then play around with tones and start building layers of guitar, synth and bass on top. Since the pandemic started, this process has been tweaked slightly to me writing the chords and vocals and sending a demo through to the lads to play around with on our laptops. We’ve been having phone and Zoom calls to discuss layers and structure which is so much harder than being in a room together throwing ideas out together. Thankfully we have had a couple of little windows between lockdowns where we’ve been able to get into the studio to write and record as much as possible!

Creatively you seem to have been on something of a roll despite restrictions, with a handful of tracks and accompanying videos being release over the last 9 months. What issues have you come across that wouldn’t have been a problem under normal circumstances?

Over the last nine months we have managed to record and shoot videos for all our singles, which has been a great creative outlet. However, one of the things that we have really missed is being in a practise room together. It’s been something we’ve all missed and maybe that’s affected aspects of our writing process but having time to reflect on each parts of a song on then feedback to each other in a more long-distance process, so the writing does take a lot longer.

You’ve just released your latest single Ghost, can you talk us through that and the video?

Our new single, Ghost, is one of our favourites. The song has existed in some form or other for a few years now but has changed quite dramatically for this most recent version. The video was shot by a guy called Nick who we’ve been working with on our last couple music videos and it really shows off his interpretation of the song. It’s a cool experience sending a demo of a track to someone outside the band and seeing what they come up with creatively, and we think Nick has absolutely nailed it with Ghost.

How is it been trying to promote new music currently? Any hurdles you’ve had to get over?

The biggest hurdle we’ve found in the last nine months nine months to a year has been not being able to follow up or later singles with gigs. Live shows are the bedrock of what we do as a band and it’s a great way for our music to reach new listeners. It’s a tough time for the whole live music industry.

Having been in the industry a while now, do you think there’s any positives to be found in the lockdowns and various setbacks faced by bands recently?

Recently we’ve noticed that one of the positives from lockdown is the fact that we’ve been able to do live sessions through Facebook and Instagram and we’ve got more people watching from different parts of the world that we wouldn’t have reached before and this is just given us an opportunity to expand as a band in countries say Brazil, Canada, USA whereas normally we should be focused on the UK, so it’s really given a chance to express ourselves to a wider audience.

Everyone knows the importance of publicity. Any bands you’ve been listening to lately you think we should be checking out?

A band you should definitely check out are Glass Caves. Some people have heard of them and some people won’t have yet, but I think they’re one of the best up and coming bands around at the moment. Another band that we love are Giant Rooks. They aren’t that big in the UK but they’re massive in Germany where they come from, and we were fortunate enough to support them at the Night & Day Cafe and they were the best live band I’ve probably ever seen. – Tom the Bassist

What’s a piece of advice regarding the industry that you wish you’d been given earlier?

The biggest thing I feel I’ve learned about the industry in the last eight years or so I’ve been in bands is that recording is a specific art and it’s something that takes time to understand as you find your sound. I feel with Cultures in the last year we’ve really found kind of the best sound for us and also the ways and techniques that we can make our sound how we want it to be. We have worked with a number of producers over the years that have made our music sound great but we’re working with someone who can kind of portray our music exactly how we’ve always wanted it 

Finally, as the year progresses and restrictions hopefully ease, what can we expect from Cultures over the rest of 2021? 

We are hoping to play a few live shows up and down the UK. Other than that, you can expect a few more singles coming out and hopefully some more cool videos. We’re obviously relying on a few restrictions being lifted for that though!


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