Meet: The Cradles, and listen to their track Ideal Girl

We’ve been rather taken with The Cradles fantastic recent single, Ideal Girl – which mixes up bits of the Kinks, splashes a bucket of mersey, a touch of psych and some good old fashioned indie rock over things, and makes something which must be one of the records of the year thus far. We got a chance to quiz the boys and find out a little more.

We are Joe Norman (vocals), Kieran O’Brien (guitar), Luke Haines (Bass), Toby Andrews (Guitar) and Declan Andrews (Drums).

We are from Cardiff.

We met Apart from Toby and Dec, the brothers of the band, we all met just from being in school together and crossed paths that way. It still took a while before we all got into music though or realised that we could come up with our own, let alone together. Once we realised we were all into similar stuff it made sense to try and have a go at it with our friends. It was more of a reason to hang out with each other.

We make music that sounds like Very much like The Cradles. We’ve always valued having the strongest core songs with good melodies and interesting lyrics which comes from bands such as The Kinks who we still listen to regularly. When we get into the studio to put tracks together though it really just depends on what someone has been listening to that week or the night before… You pull ideas from a bunch of places and twist them into something that is hopefully new and better.

When people ask us who or what we sound like, we say “Not that question again.” It’s tricky, we love a lot of bands who have undoubtedly influenced how we go about things but the main thing is coming out with something which sounds new and exciting and which people haven’t really heard before.

We bonded over Musically it was probably Oasis at first… We saw them at the Millennium Stadium and that sparked the idea we could actually go out and do it ourselves and hopefully end up on the same stages if we did it well enough. From that point on we were always sharing new bands with each other that we were finding and hearing for the first time.

Our name comes from Luke was listening to ‘Hand That Rocks the Cradle’ by The Smiths when we were trying to come up with band names and I think we just figured that it sounded better than the terrible stuff we had suggested up to that point… We still hadn’t decided by the time we turned up at our first gig if we were actually going to use it though. They asked us how we wanted to be introduced and I think we were tired of the band-naming fiasco so just said, ‘ah The Cradles will do’.

The bands that have influenced us most are The Kinks and The Beatles, especially from a songwriting point of view. Their songs stand up fifty years down the line and still sound exciting. To live up to that has always been the biggest aim really…

We got together, and our first rehearsal was (when, what wasOur first practice was in 2012 and half of us couldn’t play our instruments. We tried covering ‘Someday’ by The Strokes and it didn’t end well. We had a lot of songs written though which we knew had something about them so after that we were far more interested in putting those together and getting out to play them to people.

Our first gig was At The Globe in Cardiff in 2012. The girl who was running the event didn’t introduce us properly though. She got confused with the running order and called us The Hyperdelics or something rubbish like that. The gig itself was a bit of a blur, we were just excited to be on stage for the first time as a band playing songs which we thought were the best out there.

Our new record/track etc is ‘Ideal Girl’. It came out on March the 25th via Solva Records so you can get it now on pretty much every digital platform. We’ve been playing it in our set for a while and it always goes down well so we were keen to get a recording that captured the excitement of how it comes across live. It’s mainly about wallowing in self-pity and the search for companionship.

We recorded it With Rob Thomas and Iain Mahanty at Giant Wafer studios which is in the middle of Wales and couldn’t be much more secluded. We were tight for time so didn’t really get enough of a chance to properly make the most of the surroundings but I remember a heated argument one night about which animal was superior, cats or dogs.

The writing process for us is It’s just a matter of sitting down with an acoustic guitar or at a piano and working a melody and good chords out of a lyric idea. Dec and Kie do the writing, sometimes together and sometimes individually which throws up an eclectic mix of songs in itself. If you’re writing together then the chances are you’ll come up with something different to what you would have written by alone. We’ve never wanted to write the same song twice though or rely on an idea that we’ve already used so we’re always trying to push songs in new places.

We tried to make it sound like We want our recordings to sound like us playing live as much as possible really. If the songs are good then there’s no need to overdo the production, it’s just about letting the song and the parts come through. If you have to rely on a bunch of production techniques and effects to make the track sound good then the actual song just probably isn’t much to shout about.

You could say our live show is We’ve always set out to make our live shows as energetic and exciting as possible. The songs should speak for themselves so usually we fire through the set pretty quickly.

You can catch us
23rd April – Bristol, The Thunderbolt
11th May – Manchester, Night & Day Cafe

Look out for Himalayas and The Fused who are supported us at our single launch are two bands worth listening out for.

This year, we are going to try to We’re back in the studio to record in April and have a few gigs and festivals lined up so it should be a busy couple of months. We’re just keen to get new tracks out off the back of the good response to ‘Ideal Girl’ and pick up good tour dates. We want to be as busy as possible so the more people hear from us the better.

Keep in touch with us at

Previous Live Review: Nothing But Thieves / Sundara Karma / Black Foxxes at the Leadmill, Sheffield, 11.4.16
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