An interview with Cucharas

Following the release of their debut single, Black and Blue, we caught up with new Dundee band Cucharas to talk about their music.

Describe your music in three words.
Ominous, energetic and catchy

Who’s in the band, and what do you each play?
We’ve got Toyah Swan on vocals and rhythm guitar, Ben Connelly on lead guitar, Kirsty Taylor on keys, Camilo Nicolas on bass and Mark Anderson on drums.

How and when did the band form?
We all met in our music course in Perth last September and started slowly building up members by December. We’d spent a good couple of weeks just jamming trying to discover what our style was when we finally found some songs that stuck with us.

Where can we listen to your music?
Our debut single ‘Black and Blue’ just came out on the 31st of August and you can have a listen to it on all major streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple Music through this link.

Tell us a bit about your songwriting process.
So far, every song has started out with one member coming to the rest of the band with an idea. For example, ‘Black and Blue’ all stemmed from one of Camilo’s bass riffs and went on from there. While we were rehearsing in person we would all just have a jam over it and see what went well. During lockdown we’ve been sending and working on ideas in our band group chat. As soon as someone gets an idea sent in that we all like, we go to our instruments to try and figure something out. Toyah is great at writing some really meaningful lyrics that go with the feel of what we’re playing quite quickly and we find that really helps when it comes to finding a song that sticks with us.

Name three other bands / artists that you’d say have influenced your music.
This is a hard question, but we’ve been told that we sound like Mogwai (thanks to Camilo) and The Cure (thank Ben for that.) We all have our own influences going from wide genres, we like to change our style when we write new songs and see what we can do as musicians.

How did you come up with your name?
Our group chat name had been “We Need a Band Name” for about 3 months and we decided one night that we really needed a proper name down. We were all sort of messing about with ideas when Toyah mentioned a connection with us all going to Wetherspoons in Perth and Dundee so much. The connection basically went: Wetherspoons = Spoons= Cucharas. We thought the Spanish word was way cooler than the English one, so we stuck with that and got our band logo made by Kirsty MacMillan a few days later.

If things go exactly to plan with the band, what would you like to achieve?
A couple of good singles and albums in the bag, food to keep on the table and keep the band going for as long as possible. Oh, and touring would be nice.

Which bit of music gear could you not live without, and why?
Our guitarist Ben wouldn’t be able to live without his pedals and pedal board. He likes to be as experimental as possible when we practice new songs together. His favourite pedal changes daily but right now it’s his DigiTech Polara Reverberator.

Name your top three gig venues.
We haven’t had the chance to play any gigs together yet, but we’ve all played at Church in Dundee for our college Live Performance assessment and we all really enjoyed the atmosphere, especially since it was expected to be quite a small turnout. As far as other venues in Dundee go, we have also all seen bands in Beat Generator which has a load of space for a decent crowd and Conroy’s Basement has a great feel to it too. We’re hoping that someday in the near future we can play our own stuff there too.

What are your favourite Scottish recording and / or rehearsal studios?
For ‘Black and Blue’ we were lucky enough to have Shane Serrano, a sound engineering student, who recorded everything for us in one of Perth College’s Eastlake studios back in February. It’s great that as students we have such amazing music technology at our disposal. When the band was just starting out we did some rehearsals at Dundee Music Studios and the rooms had everything we needed. The staff were great at helping us out too.

If you could only listen to one artist for the rest of your life – excluding yourselves – who would you pick?
Ben would happily stick with ‘The Cure’ for the rest of his life, he pretty much is already. Camilo would go for ‘Royal Blood’, never get in the car with him when he has it blasting. Toyah would stick to ‘Foo Fighters’. Fun fact: she cried when she saw Dave Grohl. Kirsty would go ‘Beach Bunny’; her and Ben are still waiting to see them live…Mark likes his grime. Who can blame him? His would be Jay1.

How do you promote yourselves? Is there any method you’ve found that has worked particularly well?
So far we’ve been keeping our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter updated as much as we can. We’ve had a load of people sharing our song through Instagram stories, we even had Seye Adelekan the bassist of Gorillaz sharing ‘Black and Blue’! That was a particularly exciting moment for us. We’re also getting played on BBC Rapal and Bridge FM soon, which we’re all really excited about. (You can follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.)

How has lockdown been for you musically?
It wasn’t until about halfway through lockdown when we realised we probably still had enough time on our hands to finish off the single and get it out there. Ben did some more mixing to it and we’ve spent a lot of our time recently promoting ourselves as a band and writing some new stuff.

What’s next for you guys? Any gigs or releases coming up?
As of right now we have plans for an EP for 2021 and we hope we can get gigging around Dundee and Perth as soon as possible well.

Have you ever shopped at Kenny’s Music? If so, what did you buy?
Our keyboardist Kirsty has gotten her Seagull acoustic guitar as well as her Epiphone Les Paul and Focusrite Scarlett Solo Studio from Kenny’s Music in Dundee. Ben has also gotten both of his Squiers from there as well. They’re really helpful when you need any recommendations for products!