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.