The Cry Room
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The Cry Room

Band Rock Alternative


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This band has not uploaded any videos


The best kept secret in music


"The Cry Room and the orchestration of rock"

The Cry Room is not emo, they are not indie rock, they are much more of a conglomeration of experimentation with cross genres than anything else. Media Credit: Sean Johnson

The Cry Room is composed of Chris Gillis, John Sparks, Brian Manifold, Aaron Esche and Carl Hofstrom.

This five-person band formed a year and a half ago. Aaron Esche (guitar, samples; vocals), Chris Gillis (lead vocals, guitar), Carl Hofstrom (bass, vocals), Brian Manifold (drums, percussion) and John Sparks (keyboards, theremin, vocals) define their music (for now at least) as "progressive orchestrated art-rock."

A cry room was a room found in older theaters, churches and other "sound sensitive" places where a parent could go to take a crying child away from patronizing audiences. The sounds from the movie or dialogue from the pastor were piped into the room so that you didn't miss out on anything simply because the child was in tears.

That's the technical definition. Keyboard player Sparks had a much closer attachment to the room and its effects on the music of the band.

"I guess for me, the cry room may have been where the most realistic sound was coming from, and they tried to push that away from the other sounds that were being made," Sparks said. "The cry room has the connotation of the real sound and sometimes the real sound doesn't want to be heard by the masses, but that's still the real sound.

It seemed important to each member of The Cry Room to note that much of what creates their sound is the distinction between each of their songs - a unique quality to each, layered by a common thread.

"We all have a common direction of where we want to go (musically)," Sparks said. "When we are at our best is when we are feeding off each other. Because regardless of how hard a band tries, it doesn't completely snap together all the time. We're still five individual musicians."

The guys listed off an array of musical bands and genres they have been related to and bands they lift their sound from.

They listed off names like Radiohead, U2, Sigur Ros and Duran Duran. But as far as influences go, the guys thrive off of each other more than any of these influences. There is a genuine display among them to know where the other one is coming from - and to know the importance and integrity of each member.

"I always tell people to picture music not sucking," Esche said.

Though this statement is bold, it is a cohesive way of molding together how one actually defines music for themselves. Each and every person has a different way that they stylistically enjoy the representation of music.

Thus, the reason, I personally think, that so many people have latched onto this band is because they appeal to audiences of all ages.

"A lot of our songs are not similar," lead vocalist Gillis said. "There's really a wide array of styles. It's kind of hard to clump it all together in one word."

Sparks agreed.

"There's too much of a trend in today's music to clump into a genre," Sparks said.

"I think most people may want that because that's what they're used to. Record labels don't want an album that has 20 different genres. It's all chicken, but it's been marinated in different sauces."Those "different sauces" are what make The Cry Room unique in a city where a new band emerges almost daily. This city, however, is part of what The Cry Room acknowledges and looks to for inspiration.

"Murfreesboro and Nashville are amazing towns that always are just a step away from being the next big musical scene," Sparks said.

"It's really cool to be a band in this area because other bands are so respectful to each other. That's an inspiration in itself-being able to really, honestly want to play a show with these people because you respect what they do."

The Cry Room is scheduled to perform tonight at The Boro Bar and Grill.

- Sidelines

"The Cry Room"

"...all the ingredients are here. A sophisticated and highly accessible melodic sensibility, a solid band with an expressive vocal approach, and because it does matter, a bunch of young, good looking guys. ...seriously impressive...destined for greatness...catchy, but in a sophisticated manner that recalls Bacharach and Ben Folds." - TAXI Review

"The Cry Room"

By: Jane E. Powell

The Cry Room make a special blend of Art-Rock music that draws from various elements of Musique Concrete, Electronica, Emo and Psychedelic Rock.

Gillis’ vocals are clear and bright, filled with emotion...the lyrics glide easily and smoothly. The use of the Theremin, an electronic based instrument often used to create special effects such as those found in science fiction movies, adds an airy, new age sound...original and fresh.

My favorite song on the album is “Plane,” with lyrics that most individuals can relate to. Samples are used on several songs, and “The Runs” with its 1950's film dialog adds a touch of nostalgia, which compliments the lyrics very well.

The Cry Room’s music is meant for listening and reflection...a musical poetry that feeds the soul. - Murfreesboro Rock

"The Cry Room Rocks Music Row"

The Cry Room drew an SRO crowd for a night of music that left all in attendance feeling witness to something truly special.

Introduced by Nashville Singer / Songwriter, Stacy Sharp, the band delivered a 90 minute program, which included the musique concrete inspired "The Clock Ticking," the poignant "A to D," and the crowd favorite "Plane." The band was also joined on stage by Trumpeter, Dave Moorman to perform new composition, "A Long Road."

The band closed the night with three incredible encores, introducing new compositions, "Chapter Three" and "Kennedy In '64," and the crowd lingered well after the show to meet the band and to buy copies of the new CD. - MusE News


The Cry Room, "self titled" 2005


Feeling a bit camera shy


Formed in the winter 2002, The Cry Room offers a progressive, orchestrated art-rock sound that draws from a wellspring of influences including Radiohead, U2, Sigur Rós, Duran Duran and Pink Floyd. The band’s sound blends elements of Musique Concrete, Electronica, Emo and Psychedelic Rock for performances and recordings that are on par with the greatest Arena-Rock bands of all time…angst-ridden, wistful, theatrical and truly epic.

Seeking to make their livelihoods as musicians, Free Will Puppet drummer, Brian Manifold, and guitarist, Aaron Esche, left Anderson, Indiana to pursue educations in the Recording Industry at Middle Tennessee State University. A magnet for Recording Industry hopefuls, MTSU, with its state of the art recording studios and electronic music labs, also attracted Limbo vocalist/guitarist Chris Gillis from Memphis, and classically schooled violinist and Coleman bassist Carl Hofstrom from Williamsport, Pennsylvania. John Sparks arrived from Paducah, Kentucky playing keyboard and Theremin, first studying Music Business at Belmont University in Nashville, and later continuing his education at MTSU.

Friends from an early age, Gillis followed Sparks to MTSU so that they could continue jamming and writing songs together. Gillis invited Hofstrom, whose violin could be heard throughout the dorm, to jam with him and Sparks, and Hofstrom began playing bass with them soon after. Sparks also worked as a technical assistant in the electronic music lab, and it was there that he met Manifold and Esche. All became good friends, and benefiting from the creative environment and professional studios available to them, the music of The Cry Room, at first experimental, matured quickly.

In time, the band began performing at clubs near campus, and eventually they ventured into nearby Nashville, where they developed a loyal following, and benefited from alliances among music industry professionals. Journalists favored the band also, and although media-labels such as Indie Rock and Emo largely misrepresented them, they nonetheless became wildly popular at clubs in and around Nashville, playing to enthusiastic, standing room only crowds.

However, The Cry Room delivers a sound that is far more diverse, intelligent and compelling than media-labels can contain, and the band’s depth and passion are clearly evidenced in its influences, which include Aaron Copeland, Tori Amos, Moby, Radiohead, U2, Victor Wooten, Bela Fleck, Vinnie Colaiuta, Steve Gadd, Nirvana, Smashing Pumkins and others. Additionally, prolonged feedback, heavenly drones, and the compulsion for outer space typified by the band HUM (and first emulated by Chris’s band Limbo), are still evident in the music of The Cry Room.

Combining elements of musique concrete, electronica, Emo and psychedelic rock (not unlike the aforementioned Smashing Pumkins), the band delivers a carnival of well-orchestrated sight and sound on a par with Pink Floyd and Yes, but which is fresh and wildly intriguing. Further defined by Chris’s guttural to sweet vocalizations and sympathetic vocal harmonies, the band brings ‘70s album-oriented-rock to the forefront once again, creating a signature sound that is (at once) familiar and unique, and unmistakably, “The Cry Room.”