Getting Eclectic with Henry Cox of Boston Manor

Interview by Danielle Chelosky
Photo by Bethan Miller

You’ve probably heard of Boston Manor. After touring with Moose Blood and Trophy Eyes in early 2017, the band made a name for themselves and successfully cultivated the hype for their 2016 debut album Be Nothing. Now, they play shows with Knuckle Puck and perform to crowds that know all the words and aren’t afraid to mosh.

“It was just for fun,” said Henry Cox, the lead vocalist of the band, about playing in bands since the age of fifteen. “I wanted to be an actor.”

But Boston Manor was conceived in his first year of university and as soon as the writing and the performances felt right, it all started to make sense to him. He had been pursuing an art degree by studying filmmaking, though he wasn’t sure where to go with that and “didn’t want to go down that rabbit hole.” He still dabbles in the craft, and one of his inspirations is the band Defeater.

“Every album is like a story,” he explained to me. “I always thought [the story] would make a great movie, so I wrote a shitty screenplay about it.” Along with screenplays and songs, he has some experience in poetry as well. However, his hobbies lie mainly in the realm of music, and it’s been that way since he was eleven years old. “I remember listening to bands like Linkin Park and Slipknot… and I listened to hip hop before then, but the lights kind of came on when I was in my last year of primary school.” He reminisces on saving up allowance money for CDs and receiving music recommendations from cousins, building up his “obsession” which would soon transform into his career.

Be Nothing. emerged into the scene with unknown intentions. The record couldn’t be confined to one genre—saturated with pop punk elements of catchy choruses and irresistible beat drops, while also imbued with emo lyrics and instrumentals. Thus, fans of all sorts were attracted to this magnetic new sound that created some diversion in the scene. “We definitely don’t listen to just one genre,” said Henry, accounting for the band’s eclecticism. Although the upcoming record’s biggest influences are rock bands like Nine Inch Nails, Radiohead, and Deftones, he claims there’s a wide range of artists that have contributed to the band’s inspiration. The band collectively put together a tour playlist and spent a year exploring the depths of Spotify. “There’s different things with different things, you know? Like there’s records where we would listen and be like ‘I love the production of this’ or ‘I love the guitars in this’…there’s influences from all over the place.”

With this comes a magnified eclectic nature in their sound. Henry divulges about electronic and industrial aspects incorporated into the upcoming record, making it an entirely separate experience than Be Nothing. “The band’s kind of changing; it’s not a 180, but it’s different.” After nearly two years since their first record, evolution is inevitable for the band. Henry emphasizes the new heavy and pop vibes, which I suspected as a paradoxical combination. “You just have to listen,” he teased. Over all, he and the rest of the band are content with it. “The music we’ve written for this record… I love it, and I’m so happy with it. We all are really, really pleased with it.”

As far as the lyricism goes, it should be nothing short of angry. “I’m pissed off,” said Henry regarding our current generation and culture. “Hopefully people who are as frustrated as me can connect with that idea… because there’s a lot to be pissed off about… there’s definitely a lot of shit going on in our world.” He hopes this record will only unite people in the midst of an overpowering divide—almost like a call for some counterculture action. He expects young people to listen and feel it the most, especially since they’re a vital part of the future. Still, he wants them to interpret it as they please. “Throw your own paint at the wall,” he encourages.

Boston Manor’s already come a long way, but there’s a lot of time to accomplish more. “I’m pretty fulfilled right now in terms of me personally—what I want,” said Henry, but goals to grow and play larger venues still remain, and will probably be met soon. Ultimately, the main objective is to “just keep moving forward.” This upcoming record will be a great leap in the right direction. | Be Nothing