Interview: Cuckoolander


A couple of weeks back we featured Holly Hardy, aka CUCKOOLANDER‘s, video for her new single ‘Mother Nature’. The Londoner’s track is fun-filled and sass-centric, as is the carefully stylised video. We’re not sure if sass-centric is actually a word, but if it was a recognised word, then it would be the perfect word to describe Cuckoolander’s single.

She managed to catch a few minutes’ break between her busy studio sessions and promo work to answer these fun-filled and sass-centric questions. Again, still not sure if it’s a real word, but her answers are sass-centric nonetheless. Introducing a one woman tour de force who harbours a penchant for mayonnaise and snails:

Hey Holly! What is a cuckoolander? I think I want one.

“Cloud Cuckoo Landers” are simultaneously fools and geniuses, at once both completely insane and utterly lucid. They can be very awesome, due to their general uniqueness and different way of thinking.

Nice. What’s your set up live? Do you do it all yourself or do you rope in help for the instrumentals?

Currently I’m keeping it very simple and doing a classic three piece band. I have roped in two of my good friends that are amazing musicians to take on guitar and drum duties, and then it’s me on bass and vocals.

You were handpicked to support The Libertines on tour, and you recently played a secret Red Bull show with sassy Big Applers’ Lionbabe and LDN queen Charli XCX. I’m sure the audience was pleased with those line ups, but what makes a good show for you?

I feel very lucky to have played some really amazing shows supporting some really amazing acts, it’s been good to jump straight into the deep end and learn fast! For me a good show just has to be raw and passionate.

You used to play bass for Charli’s band and I heard you played her your music one time after a few post-show drinks on the tour bus. Was it encouraging and how do you balance touring commitments with your own creative outlets?

Charli was one of the first people to hear my music so I was completely over the moon that she liked it. As a background musician, personally I found it hard to think I could be a solo act alongside all the talent that is already smashing it out there so yes, it is kinda the ultimate encouragement to have Charli’s support and enthusiasm.

I feel extremely lucky to be writing and releasing my own music and have a constant outlet for my creativity.

For the album you’ve been working with Rostam Batmanglij from Vampire Weekend – he’s something of a musical maverick, how was that?

Amazing experience! Rostam is really imaginative and experimental and encourages me to do things I never even thought I could do vocally. I think the tunes we have written sound beautifully retro yet refreshing at the same time, I’m really excited to put them out.

In fact earlier this year myself, Rostam, Charli XCX and Simon Le Bon co-wrote ‘Kingdom’ for the new Hunger Games soundtrack, check it out!

There’s the on-going issue of female representation in the music industry, or the difficulties women face in getting their creative voices heard and taken seriously – do you have any experience of this, or what’s your tactic for combatting these things?

I love the fact you can’t say a man or a women is better at writing songs than the other – there is no competition. Hopefully the industry will catch up.

The video for ‘Mother Nature’ is so so great with its 80s, power suit style – how involved were you with its making and where did the initial idea come from?

‘Mother Nature’ was directed and shot by Christopher Waggott from Common Works and he came up with the idea. We have worked together on all my music videos and we tend to reel out hundreds of ideas and usually end up experimenting a lot and having fun piecing things together as we go along.

We just wanted to create something fun, colourful and mesmerising which focused on animals and nature and of course my pet snails. I just find them so fascinating and I can’t believe we share the planet with these little guys that look and seem like total aliens.

The British Blue Peter influence is strong in the video – you look very learned, and I’d certainly watch your educational nature show if you were on Blue Peter. Who was your fave Blue Peter presenter? I’ll always have a soft spot for Konnie Huq.

Ha ha they were all great. I just remember really wanting a Blue Peter badge when I was younger because it could get you into special attractions like zoos and castles. However you could only get one if you appeared on the show or for a special achievement and I don’t think licking old chewing gum from under the tables during class was regarded as a special achievement unfortunately.

Tell us about the snails in the video, they are quite a good-looking pair of gastropods.

They are big stars now, there’s always paparazzi hanging outside the house disguised as lettuce, it’s pretty odd. Party Boy is an eccentric character, bit of an entrepreneur, loves extreme sports and is currently writing a novel in five different languages, one of which is a language he has invented. Mingey is doesn’t care for much but I can tell she’s plotting something sinister.

Cuckoos, snails, mother nature – which animal group do you think would most likely accept you as one of their own and why?

I should probably say snails, I don’t think it would be hard to be accepted by snails. I’m sure they accept everyone and maybe that’s what makes snails such an awesome animal group.

Three things you like:

Laughing, Mayonnaise and Horror movies

Three things you’re not so sure of:

Twins, Testicles and Tinsel

Words by Katie Rowley





British. Blonde. Beach-goer. She sounds awful, doesn’t she.