Live4ever Presents: Cucamaras



Josh Hart (vocals/guitar), Oliver Bowley (vocals/guitar), Dan McGrath (bass), Joe Newton (drums).


Three of us are from a suburb of Nottingham called Hucknall, the last tram stop – very ominous. But Dan’s from Derby, we don’t talk about that.


Over time the influences have changed. Early on it was Key Stage 2 indie foundations you know, like Arctic Monkeys and The Libertines. We still love those guys, but nowadays there’s more variety, Do Nothing and Fontaines are great – Joe’s big into skiffle too.


There’d always been whispers of a band forming, it was just a matter of when and where. It started a couple of years ago when me (Oliver) and Josh got together in his first year flat making some demos. Joe and him had been in a band previously and asked me to play guitar, but I was too busy going through some rap phase so made an excuse not to.

After forming Cucamaras, once their band had finished and playing for about a year with a different bassist, we picked Dan up. He interviewed me for a project he had, but Josh wanted to know if he could play bass for us so I basically grilled him for half-an-hour Paxman style – it paid off.


We’ve all been to university – Dan’s still doing a masters and works behind a bar. Joe’s just bagged a first in a physics degree so he’ll be the first to go when the ball ceases to roll. As for me, I work in a clothes shop in Nottingham, hopefully we can sort Josh and Joe out to end those early hours scrolling through Indeed.


In three words I’d describe our current sound as driven, urgent observations. Our lyrics come from what we’ve experienced first hand. We’re most comfortable when we’re performing together, so we wanted to capture the immediacy of a live set on Keep it Cool and Window Seat, mistakes and all.

There’s a lot of bands out there that want a pristine sound, but when you play live you throw in little intricacies that get left out on the record. That was us on our earlier tracks, trying to be pristine, but for these singles we used the takes that represented us live.


Given live music’s hibernation this year, we just want to get as many shows booked up for when it wakes up again. Before that we’re aiming to record some more songs that we penned over the last few months, and release them in the not so distant future.

Did you know?

We had drinks round mine recently, once the rules had eased of course, and there was music on in the background. This song came on that instantly me and Joe disliked, we addressed this vocally and skipped it. That song was a single by Dan’s old band. I don’t know if he’s forgiven us yet.

What’s next?

Record, release, book gigs then play gigs until it comes good.


Some things are timeless: corrupt politicians, inept referees, Chris Packham. These things will outlive us all, as will young people singing about unrequited love. Keep It Cool is crammed with clever wordplay; although ostensibly about air conditioning and its benefits over the traditional electric fan, the comparison and inferiority complex that comes in dealing with girls (and consequently rivals for their affection) is relatable (‘I don’t stand a chance, do I?’) yet unique in its metaphors. A track of two halves (and two minutes) is built on an instantly familiar, and therefore great, lick with stoic drums before upping the tempo and urgency.

To be glib, it’s like The Strokes doing their own version of Arctic Monkeys’ Bigger Boys And Stolen Sweethearts. Yes, it’s that good.


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