Since they first met as sophomores in high school deep in the San Fernando Valley, Jose Varela and Ashley Stuart were interested in playing music. Though their interest and participation in the local punk rock scene initially led them to become part of the Los Angeles Experimental Orchestra, called KILLSONIC, which played jazz and orchestral free jazz allowed the longtime friends the opportunity to collaborate. When that project reached its end, the duo were left to ponder where their next sonic journey would take. The result was an undertaking that has seen them exceed even those initial hopes and expectations.
After attending the Viva Las Vegas rockabilly festival and shooting a documentary surrounding the event, the duo were inspired by the scene and sound that encompassed the event. Mesmerized and smitten with the scene, Varela decided he wanted to take what he enjoyed from that festival and start a new band.
Now, a few years later, he goes by Cutty, who sings and plays guitar and Stuart by Bang Bangs, apropos due to her handling the drumming. Those alter egos properly fit their rockabilly-meets-prom punk sound. Inspired by vintage 1950s pop culture a la the diner scene in Pulp Fiction, the band goes by Cutty Flam, and has added a bassist, Chewy Lewy. They liked the idea of that era because "when you went the movie theatre, you had to dress up" and wanted to bring that vintage feeling to their live set. When it came time to come up with their theatrical show, changing their names to reflect this presence felt natural.
"The names were Bang Bangs' idea," Cutty says. "We wanted to create another world beyond ourselves and our normal life, and take the band in a different direction. We wanted to be more theatrical and came up with some fun names."More »