Cousteau are lead by a big Irish man called Liam McKahey, whose voice sounds like a cross between Scott Walker and a modern Frank Sinatra. Cousteau have delivered three albums of torch songs to date, 'Cousteau' (Global waming, 1999) ; 'Sirena' (Palm Pictures, 2002) and in April 'Nova Scotia' (Endeavour Records).

The band lost their main songwriter, pianist and acoustic guitarist Davey Ray Moor, at the end of 2002. Keyboardist Dan Moore and drummer Craig Vear decided to leave shortly afterwards, but McKahey and Cousteau's other two core members, electric guitarist Robin Brown and bassist Joe Peet, chose to carry on.

"Nova Scotia' shows a darker but more mature-sounding version of the band. It has a deeper jazz feel, but doesn't lose any of Cousteau's previous magic. Pennyblackmusic spoke to Liam McKahey about the new record.

PB : I believe only three members of the original band remain.

LM : That's right. It's myself, Robin and Joe.

PB : Why did Davey Ray Moor leave?

LM : I think Davey left because he wanted to do different things. His relationship with the rest of the band had not been good towards the end.

PB : Did the others leave because he had left ?

LM : No, Craig left the band because he wanted to pursue other interests. He said he no longer wanted to be a drummer. Dan felt he could make more money being a session player. The timing of their departures was atrocious, but good luck to them. We were very fortunate to find two equally talented musicians in Chloe March( piano) and Paul Wigens (drums).

PB : The first album, 'Cousteau', was issued twice. What is the difference between the two. Was the second version re-recorded or remixed ?

LM : We had a chance to polish some of the tracks when we got signed, as the first recording , as good as it was , had been done in very rushed and disjointed fashion.

PB : Who wrote the songs on 'Nova Scotia' ?

LM : We all had a hand in writing this album. Some of the songs I wrote on my own, but they were still arranged by the band. The working process has become much more democratic these days and a lot more fun too.

PB : Did the band split for a while? You almost changed the band name to Moreau for a while. What happened there? Was writing this album harder?

LM : No, we never split. We were in record company limbo for a while. Changing from one record company to another can be a long frustrating process, but we got there in the end. We were facing legal action from the Cousteau family and decided to change our name to Moreau. Endeavour urged us to revert back to Cousteau as they felt we and they had every right to remain trading under the name we have had for six years.

PB : 'Sirena' was a fine record, but it didn't get as much press as the first. Were you disappointed with sales and the public's reaction to it?

LM : Yes, 'Sirena' was a fine record although not as pleasurable to record as the first album. It is always disappointing when one record doesn't do as well as another, but the public reaction to it was great.

PB : Are you happy with 'Nova Scotia', as it's a slightly different in feel to the other two. It's slightly more jazzy in feel and on the whole a lot darker.

LM : Yes, we are very happy with the album and yes I would agree it is a lot darker. I tend to like my music a bit dark, so maybe thats why. I think 'Nova Scotia' does sound different because it has more of a varied input from the writers. We were also aware of the fact that we could not do another album like the first two.

PB : Originally 'Nova Scotia' was due a year ago. What happened
there? Is Cousteau still a full time job? Would you consider ever doing any cover and if so what songs ? Do you have any future plans?

LM : As I said earlier we were stuck in record company limbo for a long time. It is not a good place to be. Cousteau is still a full time job although it is supplemented with other things. You do what you can to survive. I would love to do a cover of 'Sarah' by Thin Lizzy. It is a top f**king song.

PB : Thank you.

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