LA based Chicano producer Cuco is playing at The Smell on Friday, June 9.
We all have those moments when we are going through playlists and a certain song sticks out so much that you start obsessing with the artist.
Well, that’s exactly what happened when I heard “One and Only” by Cuco.
Cuco is an 18-year-old singer-songwriter and producer from Hawthorne, California who makes dreamy synthesizer-packed bilingual love and heartbreak songs. We talked to him this week, just before he plays a sold-out show in Los Angeles at The Smell on Friday, June 9.
Listen to Cuco’s current playlist as you read about him (it includes a wide spectrum of genres from Latin bolero trio Los Panchos to American rock band The Flaming Lips to rapper Ski Mask The Slump God):
Cuco for alborde:
Introduce yourself. Who is Cuco and how’d this project come alive?
My stage name is Cuco, I’m a solo artist and producer. I’ve been playing music for about 10 years and making music for about three years now. My mom used to say I was “cuckoo” ‘cause I was always goofy as a kid and my family who mostly speaks Spanish started calling me “cuco” or “el cuco”.
I had always wanted to put out music since I started playing guitar when I was eight, but I finally got to recording and getting equipment when I was 16. I never took it seriously, and even now it’s unreal to see where I’ve gotten ‘cause I just do it out of love. It’s nice to be making it out here and making a living out of it though.
About his recent material Songs4u and his recent track “Lo Que Siento”:
I was hella emotional, not gonna lie, like I was in a weird place during the time period developing all the songs in Songs4u and “Lo Que Siento”.
I had been listening to a lot of artists that are super different from each other, like Foxygen, Mndsgn, Knxwledge, MC Magic, Ski Mask The Slump God, Antonio Carlos Jobim, etc. My music can have either a very clear influence, or no trace of who influenced it. I just like knowing there’s so much out there and I can contribute and incorporate so much into sounds.
About who and what inspires his relatable and personal love/heartbreak songs:
I don’t want to give any ex that hurt me the privilege of saying I wrote a song about them, so I just take myself back to a certain time period where I was going through certain things and events and write about that.
About his favorite spots in Los Angeles:
I really love Palos Verdes and Manhattan Beach. Dino’s in Hawthorne is a really good burger joint; that’s still more South Bay than L.A. county, but South Bay has its own environment unique to the rest of LA.
Catch Cuco live and dance to his tunes at The Smell on Friday, June 9.
Connect with Cuco:
Photo courtesy of Paul Luna