A few days ago I got to talk to The Cuckoos, a psych/funk-rock band from Austin, Texas. The Cuckoos are currently made up of Kenneth Frost, Dave North, Eric Ross, and Cole Koenning. In 2017, they released a self-titled EP and in February their first single of 2018, "Heartbreak Paradise", was released as the current four-piece that they are. They recently played eight shows at SXSW and they have toured places including Mexico and the United Kingdom. For those of you that have not heard The Cuckoos, their music is very reminiscent of the 60's however, they have had a recent transition to more "modern" sounds, which is a mix of modern music and music from the 80's and 90's. Their recent single, "Heartbreak Paradise", reminds me of a mix of David Bowie, Scissor Sisters, and a touch of modern pop-rock. It truly is great!
In a recent call with The Cuckoos, I asked the band how they started. Kenneth responded by saying that the band originally started in 2014 between a drummer and himself and that Dave was at the second show they ever played and that they "stole him". Kenneth added that Dave and him have stuck the longest and that later on Dave brought Eric and Cole on board. "All the guys are very talented. It helps that all of us have different tastes in music as well." I then asked the band why they chose to play this kind of music and their reasoning behind it. Psych/funk is an interesting genre in itself and it makes for a great combination. Kenneth said, "when I started the band, I was very influenced by the 60's. That was the music I was obsessed with at the time. However, I got sick of that. I didn't just want to be a psych/funk band, I wanted to do more rock. There are some more 90's sounds now to our music. I feel like with our new material it is more representative of us, especially in our live shows where we now play whatever we want." Kenneth also mentioned that all band members have different tastes in music, which explains their recent transition and change in music. "We recently play things we have learned over the years." They added that they have been listening to a lot of jazz and The Mars Volta lately, which is all part of their evolution in genre, taste and sound.
As we talked more and transitioned to a different subject, I asked the band about their latest single "Heartbreak Paradise" and what inspired them considering that the name itself is an oxymoron. It is unusual to see the word heartbreak next to paradise and that is when Kenneth explained that he wrote that song after getting out of a four-year relationship. "I got a lot of good songs out of it." He added that part of the inspiration of the song came from the fact that a lot of people want to fall in love, but don't want to go through the heartbreak. I think the song does a great way of conveying that. It has a great beat and it is very catchy as well!
After digressing a bit more and towards the end of the interview, I asked the guys about their experience and thoughts on SXSW since they are a band from Austin and they said " it's like another day, but with more traffic. Being from Austin makes it more fun for us. It's a 20 minute drive!" They did add that that there is a common misconception to what SXSW is. "It's more of the industry people and there are a lot of private shows. It's not that much of a festival and it's better to play unofficial showcases especially for those bands that are not from Austin." Following that statement, the guys talked about the places they have toured and want to tour in the near future. They plan to work on new material this year so they can go on tour some time in the near future. Stay tuned!
I want to thank The Cuckoos for their time. To follow up with what they are doing and have going on, follow them on Instagram: @thecuckoos
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Interviews and playlists of local bands and international artists.