Grungy with a pop core, is how they describe themselves. Gutter speaks to singer and guitarist Chris Bull from Manchester’s latest up and comers City Reign.

You met at a Ryan Adams gig and took your name from one of his tracks, do you worry what would have happened if maybe you’d met at a Girls Aloud concert?

Ha ha! I’m struggling to imagine what we might sound like! No, I don’t worry because I don’t think either of us would be at a Girls Aloud concert in the first place!

What inspired the writing/recording of your debut EP? Did you have a clear idea in mind of how you wanted it to sound?

We were, and always have been inspired by the music we grew up listening to. Bands like Idlewild, Oasis, Doves, Ryan Adams, The National… basically bands that do what they want to do and don’t compromise for anything. Bands that have an emphasis on great songwriting, and great lyrics, those are the things we wanted to emulate.

You are in the middle of a UK Tour, what do City Reign bring to a live setting?

I think we bring an energy to the live set that really works. The songs sound that bit more exciting when we play them live.

In the competitive and ruthless culture of today’s mainstream music, how do you stand out? Who, for you, is currently where you’d eventually like to get to?

It’s pretty hard to stand out, to be honest, with everyone so desperate to stand out. I guess we just try to aim ourselves [at] people that we think will like us, rather than just shouting the loudest at everyone. Our plan is to stay true to what we’re doing and why we’re doing it, and hopefully there are enough people out there that like us for it to be worthwhile. There’s no real masterplan, but bands like The National are a bit of an inspiration, as they released a lot of stuff themselves in the early days and just kept at it, developing their sound and creativity.

How would you describe your sound to an alien or an out-of-towner?

We have a grungy garage sound (would an alien know what that means?) that has also got a bit of a pop core. It’s guitar driven rock, with an emphasis on interesting melodies, rhythms and lyrics.

With the domination of reality TV determining a lot of the current UK music scene, were you ever tempted to go down that route?

Never. You often get friends and family saying, ‘you should go on that, you’d be great!’. I can’t think of anything worse than asking people like Gary Barlow for his opinion every week. I couldn’t care less about their opinion to be honest.

What do you hope your EP will achieve for you?

Hopefully it will raise our profile. We’ve got plans to record a full length album next year and maybe release a live EP in the meantime while we record it. We want to grow with each release, hopefully we’ll get more people recommending us to their friends each time we offer something up.

Numbers For Street Names EP is out now on Car Boot Records. 

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