'Complete s*** show' - Cruush talk Co-op Live, their new EP and how Manchester's music scene has changed

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The comments from one ex-Co-op Live boss have not gone unnoticed.

Talk Manchester music at the moment and Co-op Live immediately comes up in conversation. It’s no different when Manchester World catches up with “slightly dreamy, alternative, fuzzy rock” band Cruush. 

EP number two ‘Nice Things Now, All The Time’ was released a couple of weeks before our chat and will be launched at a big headline show at Gullivers on June 1. A DJ set at Night and Day follows. 

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Given the comments about small venues that lost Gary Roden his top job at Co-op Live, and the continued issues at the £365million venue, a band like Cruush has a natural interest in what is happening next door to the Etihad Stadium. 

Amber Warren (guitar & vocals), Arthur Boyd (guitar), Will Milton (bass), Fotis Kalantzis (drums)
Amber Warren (guitar & vocals), Arthur Boyd (guitar), Will Milton (bass), Fotis Kalantzis (drums)
Amber Warren (guitar & vocals), Arthur Boyd (guitar), Will Milton (bass), Fotis Kalantzis (drums)

“I feel like ‘do we really need another arena opening’ but they’ve obviously got the acts to fill it,” said guitarist Arthur Boyd. “They’ve been smug about the organisation of small venues and shooting down the importance of smaller bands being found in smaller venues on their way up to big venues like Co-op Live. 

“Then they’ve had a complete s*** show in their first week. I’m not hating on arenas, there’s obviously a place for them. I want to go and see Smashing Pumpkins, and they aren’t going to play in a smaller venue.”

While the big brash arena makes all the headlines, underneath it is a music scene which is thriving and working together, which wasn’t always the case according to Arthur. 

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“At the moment it feels really good,” he said. “When we first got started in Manchester, it was actually pretty dead. We came in 2017, we’re all from smaller towns, and we came to Manchester thinking it was going to be great with all these different bands spilling out of bars, but it was pretty dead. It’s like there was one, dead indie genre that was dominating everything.  

“At the moment it feels much more diverse, and there are a lot more promoters who are putting on interesting shows. There is like a kindred spirit between bands now. Everyone knows each other too, which is what you want from the scene. It didn’t seem like that a few years ago, but now everyone supports each other.” 

Arthur and guitarist and singer Amber Warren went to Manchester’s music university BIMM. They were joined by Will Milton, bass, and Fotis Kalantzis, drums, and set about making the kind of music they wanted to hear. 

The band are described on their own social media as alt-indie and shoegaze - characterised by obscured vocals and guitar distortion and effects. 

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“Slightly dreamy, alternative, fuzzy rock,” was Amber’s swift summary of Cruush’s sound before she concedes, “I think we say something different every time someone asks us that. I think it depends on what sort of mood we’re in.” 

The new second EP carries special significance and has been a change of pace from their other work. 

Cruush released their second EP last monthCruush released their second EP last month
Cruush released their second EP last month

“It’s been completely different to putting music out before, because this has gone out physically on vinyl,” said Arthur. “Usually people are like ‘oh I heard you on Spotify,’ which is great too, but when someone has gone to the trouble of buying your music on a physical copy and they’ve said things like ‘we love the artwork’ - this one has a little leaflet inside that Amber designed and people are loving that - and you see them holding it, it’s an extra level. It’s been special. 

“Our music attracts a lot of Radio 6 dads who love vinyl, and I think they love the personal aspect of it. Everyone still listens to music on platforms such as Spotify, but it’s a nice merch piece to have.”

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The Gullivers show allows them to play in one of their favourite venues - “where you’re on a raised stage and you feel like a proper rock star” - with the headline show on June 1 marking the mid-point of a fruitful year. 

“We want more shows and more songs. Hopefully a single later in the year,” Amber says simply of the next few months for Cruush. “I feel like you can get tied up in thinking ‘you’ve got to make EP’s and albums and write x amount of songs to fill everything up’, but it’s nice just doing singles. 

“We’ve got lots of songs floating around that are like 90% finished, even 95% finished so it would be nice to go and demo for a few days and do some proper recording.”

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