Cinderella Story: A fairytale beginning for a Salt Lake-based band

written by: Christie Marcy

photos and video by: Natalie Simpson

(Featured Photo: Cinders band members, from left, Montana Smith, Brad Bennett, Adrian De La Cruz, Austin Harris and Jordan Zabriskie)

Most of my interviews don’t end with anyone chanting anything—let alone five people chanting “Spikeball! Spikeball! Spikeball!” Then again, most of my interviews aren’t with five twenty-something men in a successful band.

When I met the members of Cinders to film the next Small Lake City concert, all I knew about them was that they’re Utah-based and that they rose to fame with the help of YouTuber Alex Rainbird, who put them on one of his popular indie-music playlists. The playlist resulted in the successful funding of a Kickstarter fundraiser for the production of their first album and, subsequently, to a million streams of that album on the online music site Spotify.

“How’d you guys get together?” I asked them. “Tinder,” jokingly replied the drummer, Brad Bennett, “We met and everything was just magical.” The band’s boyish enthusiasm is infectious, and their interactions with each other seem genuine and jovial. It’s an attitude that carries through to their music. It would be easy to dismiss them as as a boy band—except they’re really good.

Bass player Adrian De La Cruz says that because of the band members’ varied musical experiences—including hardcore punk and jazz—and influences, “It’s a good mix of heavy, fast, fun, light music.” Austin Harris, who played melodica the day we met, but could best be described as a musical utility player—he also plays sax, accordion and keyboards in the band—added, “Our favorite description of our music is rowdy-acoustic-pop. When people come to our shows they say it looks more like a punk show because we have a lot of energy on the stage.”

The group is as young as its members. “Our band officially started in October 2015,” says guitarist and one of two vocalists, Jordan Zabriskie. “Everything before that was just pregnancy.” And it’s true, Cinders is a band still in its infancy. But they released their first album seven months after they started and an acoustic album five months after that.

After the albums came a tour. “In the spring, we played a two-week tour on the West Coast— we were in Arizona, California and Oregon—and we’re headed back out this summer,” says the other vocalist and guitarist, Montana Smith.

De La Cruz says part of the band’s success is their connection with their fans. “Honestly, a lot of this is social media and being cool with everyone you meet. We want to meet everyone and have fun with everyone, not just at shows. If someone wants to go get pizza with us, we’ll go get pizza.”

“We just want to have more friends,” said Bennett, “And we really like Spikeball.” And that’s when the chanting started.

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Christie Marcy
Christie Marcy
Christie Marcy is a former managing editor at Salt Lake magazine. Though she writes about everything, she has a particular interest in arts and culture in Utah. In the summer months, you will find her at any given outdoor concert on any given night. In the winter, you will find her wishing for summer. Follow her on social media at @whynotboth.

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