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Editor's note: KSL.com does a weekly feature on local musicians/bands in the community. If you have an up-and-coming band/musician in mind, feel free to email your submission to email@example.com. Please include a contact email for the artist, if available. SALT LAKE CITY — The world is filled with sad songs, angry songs and heartbreak songs. So Salt Lake City six-piece band Cinders decided to tap into another emotion on their debut album: joy.
“Sad songs are great and perfect for certain occasions,” said Austin Harris, who plays saxophone, accordion, keys and melodica in the band. “But some of my favorite songs have positive emotions that bring out happiness, motivation, inspiration and courage in me.”
He hopes that Cinders’ tunes have the same effect on their listeners — helping them not only to feel better but to be better.
That endless optimism permeates the band’s entire catalog and is summed up perfectly in a line from their song, "Last Year’s Winter" when the band sings, “I’ve never been this happy and I’ll never be this happy again.”
That’s not to say that the lyrics are all sunshine and rainbows. Beneath their bouncy exteriors, tunes like "Locked Up" and "Hope You Do" wrestle with feelings of insecurity and unrequited love.
“We've all got emotions, everyone is kinda emo in their own way,” Harris said, with a smile.
'Rowdy acoustic pop'
Not only is the band “kinda emo,” it’s also a little bit punk rock. After seeing Cinders’ raucous live show, one writer labeled the band “rowdy acoustic pop.”
Harris thinks it’s a fitting description.
Cinders prides itself in the intricacies of its recordings and their self-titled debut has a little bit of everything — melodica, saxophone, trombone, accordion, trumpet, strings and synthesizers. But the group is most proud of what they do on the stage.
“If you have listened to our records but haven’t seen us live, you might think we were just some laid-back, chill band,” Harris said. “But we like to treat our shows with (the) same energy you would see at a punk show — a lot of moving, jumping, crowd participation and, most importantly, people having fun.”
Not only is Cinders making its mark on Utah, the band is also building a following throughout the Western U.S. Though they’ve played sold-out shows and shared stages with Cold War Kids and The Stone Foxes, their most memorable performance was an acoustic show on Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco.
“It was only for a handful of people, but with the Pacific Ocean, the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz and downtown San Francisco in the background, it was unreal,” Harris said. “It was something that I will always remember. It may not have done much for us career wise, but it was a very intimate show that I think helped me realize what it is that makes me love playing music so much. Music creates moments in people's lives that live on longer than things.”
What’s next for Cinders?
Cinders is playing its next Salt Lake City show at the Beehive Social Club on Aug. 18. That performance will be followed by the Givestock festival in Ogden on Sept. 9 with Dr. Dog, The National Parks and Fictionist.
The band is also working on its sophomore album, which should be complete later this year. To check out the album’s progress or to support its release, check out the band’s Patreon page.