Man Can’t Fly: An Interview

Formed in October 2012, Man Can’t Fly are a Bradford based Alternative/Acoustic-Rock band who gained recognition when their EP ‘Don’t Waste My Time’ was played on BBC Radio 1 in early June. Since then, they’ve won acclaim from the likes of Sara Cox and Huw Stephens. Post Radio 1 airplay, the band have secured slots at Bingley Music Live 2013 and this year’s BBC Introducing Stage at Reading & Leeds.

How did Man Can’t Fly begin?

The idea was sparked after myself (Ben, lead vocals) and Olly (drums) went to see school-friends of ours ‘Scars On 45’ (Atlantic records) play a homecoming gig in Bradford in August last year. Inspired, we went hunting for other band mates and long time friend and fellow songwriter – James, stepped up to play guitar with the latest addition being Sam on bass in early December.

How big a moment was it to have your debut single ‘Don’t Waste My Time? played on Radio 1?

It was an  incredible moment for us, something we didn’t quite believe at first – so we had to get Radio 1 to ring us just to confirm the email wasn’t a fake!! I don’t think any of us had ever felt so proud.

How important is story-telling in your music?

Exceptionally. This, I guess, has been proven with our debut single ‘Don’t Waste My Time’. So few lyrics yet they seemed to strike a chord with the listeners. We all have shared similar experiences, yet the song will probably mean different things to different people. That’s the ironic beauty of story-telling music.

 If a crowd could describe you with just one word after one of your gigs, what would you like that word to be?


Who do you cite as your major influences?

We all bring a little something different to the table – from story telling bands such as Counting Crows and Del Amitri, modern folksters The Lumineers and Mumford & Sons, to heavier influences such as time signature connoisseurs Biffy Clyro and Twin Atlantic…with the epicness of Elbow.

Which do you find more nerve-racking playing to friends and family or playing at one of the biggest festivals in the UK?

Well, friends and family or any small audience. But when something means a lot to you, you put yourself under pressure which increases the nerves. I think the right amount of nervous energy can be a good thing, though.

There are so many brilliant bands playing at Reading/Leeds. Who are you most excited about playing alongside?

Biffy Clyro, NIN, Lucy Rose, System Of A Down, The Lumineers but to name a few…there are tonnes!!

Why should people come and see Man Can?t Fly at the festival?

We’re really into what we do musically, and I think that shows and has got us to where we are in such a short space of time. We live to play live music and share something special with our audience…it’s never the same twice!

What does the future hold for Man Can’t Fly?

We plan to release another self-released EP, and try and get around to our newly found fan base around the country. The ultimate aim, is just to keep writing and keep getting music to those that enjoy what we do. It’s been a dream ride so far, long may it continue.


Man Can’t Fly will be playing on the BBC Introducing Stage on Friday at Reading and Saturday at Leeds. Have a look at their Facebook page:, tweet them @mancantfly or have a look at their Youtube channel: mancantflymusictv.

Author: Greg Wilkinson

Greg has a passion for all of the dramatic arts. He is a keen theatregoer and enjoys unique, quirky shows and venues.