Family Ranks is a 7-piece soul, hip-hop, electronica and reggae collective creating lush expansive arrangements, deep grooves and euphoric festival anthems.
To form Family Ranks in 2014, Manchester’s leading songwriters Ruby-Ann Patterson and James Gill joined session musicians in House of Lords, previously the house band for award winning live event All About Good Music, which showcases the UK’s upcoming urban talent.
Through frequent live video releases and stage performances, Family Ranks has become established on the Manchester scene and is attracting the attention of promoters for major live events and venues.
The Family Ranks line-up is Ruby-Ann Patterson and James Gill providing vocals with Tom Barber-Redmore on vocals and acoustic guitar, Liam Morson playing keyboard and synth, Jake Stentiford on electric guitar, Ben Whitfield on bass and Laurie Agnew on Drums.
On how the band met at All About Good Music events, guitarist Jake Stentiford says: “The aim of the night was to provide a platform for soul, R&B and hip hop artists to perform a selection of their music with a live band. It ran for several years and featured a few artists who have since gone on to big things such as Daley and Shakka. Through this night we first met and played with James Gill and also saw Ruby-Ann play for the first time”.
Creating a name for the new band had its fraught moments. Jake says, “I think a couple of members actually left the meeting in exasperation before we finally decided on Family Ranks. We liked the idea of it having family in the name as there’s such a lot of us but we didn’t want to be an orchestra or collective”.
The songwriting takes place, Ruby Ann Patterson says, “collectively in the comfort of someone’s living room, often Ben and Tom’s because we like his cat. I tend to bring stuff I’ve been working on, poetry and verses. Sometimes we will just write completely fresh.”
Family Ranks have played live at many events including Band on The Wall, Oxjam, The Ruby Lounge and at Manchester Art Gallery for Sofar Sounds, organisers of secret gigs and intimate concerts. Influences include Fat Freddy’s Drop, Submotion Orchestra, Hiatus Kaiyote, The Internet, De La Soul, Erykah Badu, Disraeli and The Small Gods.
Family Ranks have performed support for Charles Bradley, Candi Staton, Gregory Porter, Foxes, Kano and at the MOBO awards. They have composed and played with The Hallé Youth Orchestra and worked with Robert Harvey, who has toured with The Streets and currently in The Six, working with Clean Bandit and Gorgon City.
Vocalist James Gill says the single Hard to See Her Soul is about a previous girlfriend who was scarred after her night with a celebrity ended up in the papers. Gill says, “She was emotionally scarred from the experience and had confidence issues which she…tried to cover up with make up and clothes. I wanted to help her be free from it all but I was battling my own demons as well at the time”.
Family Ranks announce the EP Speak Up featuring the single Hard to See Her Soul, produced by Mark Lewis at Giant Wafer Studios in Wales. Speak Up will be released worldwide on Matchbox Recordings with distribution from Universal Music Operations on 11 April 2016.