Music

INTERVIEW: Cucamaras Go Post-Punk With Death Of The Social

Today you are in for something special as Cucamaras release their first ever Post Punk track called Death Of A Social. The band who are from Nottingham have only been around since 2019 but they are making quie an impact already on the music scene. I spoke to Josh to find out all about the latest track and to find out what the band has planned for the rest of 2021.

Hello Cucamaras nice to meet you, tell me a bit about your band! 

We’re four fellas who make music from Nottingham and Derby;  Josh, Olly, Dan and Joe.

How did you get into music? 

Olly introduced me to The Libertines whilst we were in school  and took me to see them at Hyde Park in London. I fell in love  with guitar music at that gig, I bought a guitar the next day and  haven’t looked back since.  

What was the inspiration for the band name? 

There is a shot bar in Nottingham called Cucamara, it was a place  that we used to frequent a lot when we first put the band together,  we asked the owner if we could nab the name, he said he couldn’t  care less. 

Tell us all about your new single Death Of The Social? 

DOTS is a racket. It’s very gritty, and probably our most simple  song to date, but the overall craziness of the track lets us get off  with that. It was the first track that we wrote in a post-punk-y vein  so I guess it’s a sign of things to come.

 

How long did it take to write the song? 

Olly did all of this one, you’d have to ask him but I believe it was  a pretty quick one, which makes sense with the simple nature of  the song. He added new lyrics just a month or so ago and my  vocals didn’t exist in the track until we decided to throw them in  in the studio. 

The track has this great sound to it and i bet it is going to be a really  fun track to play live? 

Yeah definitely, we only had the chance to play this one live once  before all of this cracked off but everyone jumped around to it and it  was a lot of fun. I think it will be a highlight of the set when we get  back playing shows, for sure. 

Where did the inspiration for the track come from? 

It came from a hungover debate me and Olly were having on the bus  home from a show in Paris. We were having some meaningful debate  about society and Joe was running up and down the bus to be sick  every two minutes.  

Although the lyrics seem simple and may be taken by many at  face value, they’re our attempt to touch on Jean Baudrillard’s  sceptical post-modernist works about technology and a growing  divide in society. And yes, we are that pretentious.  

We’re actually kinda worried that people will take the title “Death  of the Social” as a COVID/ Lockdown related theme, so we want  to keep reassuring everyone that it’s not! Haha. 

How was the track constructed? Did the lyrics come first or the  music composition? 

Well that’s an interesting one because we knew we wanted a song on  the subject, and Olly matched the melody to suit that theme. So  although we had an idea of what the lyrics might look like before the  melody, we refined those ideas to match the melody after!  

Tell us about how you have been making music in lockdown?

For the bulk of our lockdown tunes, I’ve been writing the bones of  the track and sending that over to Olly who chucks some lyrics  over the top. Then, when we can, we take the demos to the  practice room and bring them to life. Sometimes, one of us just  does the whole track ourselves, but we often find that a tune  benefits from both of our DNA being in it. 

Has it effected the way you produce or record a track or record? 

Definitely, before COVID, we were awful at recording demos and  stuff like that, but it’s given us the chance to get a bit better at that. I  think focusing on nailing demos and thinking less about our live set  has enabled our music to expand a bit, we’ve started playing round  with sample pads, synths and all sorts. 

What is the most challenging thing when it comes to producing a  record? 

Ah there are so many challenges when nailing a record, we  actually went into our old studio to record an EP but ended up  scrapping it all, Death of the Social was the only track that  survived that session. Getting all your ideas down to a single  record that can never be changed is something that I guess we find  kinda daunting. 

I don’t think we’ll ever be 100% happy with anything we have on  record; our producer Steve says it’s impossible to ‘finish’ mixing a  track, you can only ditch it as close to perfection as possible;  which kinda sums up what I’m trying to say. 

How do you warm up for a show?

Practice the set the day before, a few beers the hour before, listen  to Black-Eyed Peas – I Got A Feeling five minutes before. That’s  the usual formula. 

Also let’s talk tour – will there be live shows or or online shows this  year? 

We hate online shows so a no to that, but there are plenty of live  shows lined up. We’ve got exciting festival news for this Summer  which is under wraps at the moment and then our biggest headline  shows coming in Autumn. The only one announced at the moment  is our show at Bodega in Nottingham which we’re really excited  for.  

What is one of your favourite songs to perform live? 

Out of the older tracks we have ‘Window Seat’ is brilliant to play  live, it’s got sing-a-long moments within it that we love. Looking  forward, we’ve got a new one called ‘Winners Chapel’ which we  all agree is by far the best track we’ve written, it’s humungous and  we can’t wait to play it live. Suppose I should say ‘Death of the  Social’ since I’m meant to be pushing that, that’s one of our  favourites too! Haha  

What is the toughest songs to perform live and why? 

We’ve got another new one called Same Glue which is basically  one big crescendo, it’s hard to pull of because if one of us drops  out of sync with the others, then it throws the whole thing off.  We’ll get it nailed for the live shows though, don’t worry. 

How have you been keeping creative during lockdown?

Absolutely, as a songwriter, it’s the most creative I’ve been. I’ve  had loads of time to delve into making music, with no time limit,  so I’ve found myself getting really lost in recording. I made a  fifteen minute track at one point, it was awful. 

Has it lead to lots more songs? 

Yeah loads of tracks, we’ve never been sat on so many tracks,  we’re sorted for singles for over a year. 

Our site also is about improv – in a music sense, what have been  some of your favourite improvised melodies that you have created  and been able to use in songs and why? 

Erm, we often change tunes when we play them live, it’s often just  little tricks we learn to fit into our tunes. We used to really worry  about making our tracks sound the same live as on record, but I  started delving into Care Seat Headrest’s live sets over lockdown  and found that they change their old tunes and sometimes play  them with a completely different vibe live, and I absolutely love  the idea of it. So nowadays we’re open to changing our tunes to  play live, I think that’s what playing live is all about. Every time  you play a song it’s unique and it will never be the same again,  and there’s something special about that.  

What are your plans for the rest of 2021?  

We’re working really hard to sort our live calendar, and it’s looking  like a really exciting year ahead in that regard. As far as music goes,  like I say, we’re sat on loads of tunes and four of them are already  recorded and ready to release, we’ll try and get as many of them out  this year as we can. 

And finally why should people check out your music? 

I think people used to put us in the bracket of ‘lad-indie’ because of  our early singles, but I think our upcoming tunes show that we’ve got  a lot more about us than that. If you like a grittier, post-punk kinda  sound, I think you’ll like what’s coming. 

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