THERE is something sickeningly envy-provoking about a thirty-something…
journalist interviewing a hot band whose eldest member is twenty-one! Not that I am jealous or anything but, putting aside the stress ball, I have been talking with The Cuckoos’, Kenneth Frost. He talks to me about the coming-together of the band and how their home, Austin, is championing their music.
The band’s eponymous E.P. was released in April so I ask whether there will be singles released; the artists/sounds that helped influence their sound and the gigs they have coming up.
Hi. How are you? How has your week been?
We’ve just been working on lots of new tunes.
For those new to your work, can you introduce yourself, please?
I'm Kenneth Frost of The Cuckoos.
Tell me how you guys got together and the inspiration behind the name, ‘The Cuckoos’. It sounds like you share a common viewpoint when it comes to music.
We met through various mutual friends and musicians around Austin - and we share lots of love for a lot of the same artists.
The name came from me (just) watching One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest one day. I thought it had a good ring to it.
Classic Rock christened your music as “spectacular”. Is getting that kind of kudos encouraging?
It's always nice to be complimented on our work.
Your eponymous E.P. was released in April. What kind of themes and experiences did you channel for the E.P.’s songs?
The songs were inspired by love, growing up; heartbreak…all the usual Rock and Roll stuff.
Are you planning any future single releases from the E.P.?
We've got tons of music we're working on and hopefully we'll drop a new single real soon!
What has the reaction been like so far? Has it gone down pretty well with people?
People seem to dig it from what I gather.
The response at shows has been really encouraging. We’ll see what happens from here.
Austin is your base. What is the scene like in the Texan city? What are the best venues for a band like yours to play?
There's lots of cool venues for Rock and Roll groups - and Psychedelic bands - to play. The Electric Church is really groovy because they've got a killer light show. I like Hotel Vegas and Swan Dive a lot, too.
Looking at you – and hearing the music – one gets the impression of the 1960s and the classic artists of that time. What kind of music were you all brought up on?
We all listen to, and grew up with, tons of music from all over the spectrum.
At the time of the recording, I think we were very much on a late-'60s kick, for sure. But, I mean, we listen to everything from the Pixies, Kate Bush and Miles Davis to Joy Division, Chic and Pink Floyd.
We just love groovy music.
It seems you mix new artists like Tame Impala with the energy and prowess of The Doors – but have your own personality and sound. Was it quite hard getting that mix right?
I think, when we play, we really (just) try to have fun and just express ourselves. The music we like listening to definitely shows in that - and we're proud of our influences.
It's not really a mix we had to get right: we're just doing our thing because we love it and we like the way it sounds.
How was your first-ever SXSW experience - it sounds like that is the Mecca for any U.S. artist!
Well, we live in Austin so SXSW is always in our lives to some degree each year – but this year was great. We had a ton of fun, played some groovy shows; did a lot of interviews and stuff.
It was really cool.
What kind of gigs do you have coming up? Any plans on coming to the U.K. this year?
We just got back from England and then had a show in New York just a little while ago.
Other than that, we've just got some gigs planned locally in Austin - but I'm sure we'll head back over to England in the not-too-distant future.
Are there any new acts you recommend we check out?
We just played a show with The Halfways and Sherry at The Electric Church - and those are a couple of groups with a lot of potential.
IN THIS PHOTO: The Millbrook Estates
There's also a band called The Millbrook Estates - formerly known as Roaring Sun - that is making some killer music…so check 'em out!
If you each had to select the one album that means most to you; which would it be and why?
I can't choose one.
I'd say it's a three-way-tie between Joy Division's Unknown Pleasures; Strange Days by The Doors and 1999 by Prince.
The first time I listened to each of those they blew my mind. The first time I heard 1999, I was visiting my mother for the holidays, and I woke up really early one morning at like five or six A.M. It was really chilly, so I put on a leather jacket and rode my bike around town as the sky went from black to a purgatory-like white; really listening to songs like Little Red Corvette and Lady Cab Driver for the first time.
It changed the way I look at music.
What advice would you give to artists coming through right now?
Work hard, do what you want; be respectful, have fun and don't be afraid to be a lil wild.
Finally, and for being a good sport, you can name a song and I’ll play it here (not one of yours as I’ll do that).
I've been digging Running Up That Hill (A Deal with God) by Kate Bush, lately
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