Cuffed Up – Interview

In Studio Interview with Cuffed Up and Grant Owens


In Depth Feature by Kate Bent

The LA DIY music scene had a new addition arrive on the scene with the release of Cuffed Up’s Double A-Side “Mother/ Father” and “Small Town Kid.” The name derives from the Urban Dictionary term “cuffing season” which refers to a preponderance of new relationships beginning when the weather turns cold and is comprised of Ralph Torrefranca (guitar/ vocals), Sapphire Jewell (guitar/ vocals), Vic Ordonez (bass) and Joe Liptock (drums). The band fully came together after Torrefranca and Jewell met at a brunch and bonded over a shared love for London post-punk while Liptock and Torrefranca had previously played together in Dr. Doctor. They began writing songs together in October 2018. Cuffed Up will be playing The Bootleg Theatre on August 7th and plan on releasing two additional songs early next year.

After meeting, Torrefranca and Jewell began collaborating on lyrics, guitar parts and melodies. “That’s kind of our process; one of us will kind of start taking the reins of a song, but we’ll bounce ideas off each other cause two heads are better than one. That’s been the fun process about writing this, and all the other songs, we both creatively have all the opportunity to come up with some fun and interesting new lyrics,” Torrefranca said. Both Jewell and Torrefranca expressed gratitude for the strengths that each member brings to the table and how organic the writing and production process has been. “It’s also nice to have someone else to do lead [vocals] so we can trade off. We don’t have to… it’s like a lot of pressure to be singing every song,” Jewell said. Torrefranca described Cuffed Up’s sound as a “layering together of individual strengths.”

Cuffed Up categorizes their music as “sad punk.” “Its emotional punk music is what I would say, but I don’t want to say, ‘emo punk.’ It’s music that has substance to it…[Sad punk] is slightly over dramatic but it’s also very relevant to everyone. Cause the best songs in the world are the saddest songs but if they’re upbeat and aggressive, the nature of that, it’s almost this perfect mix,” Torrefranca said. With their work, the band hopes to tap in to more emotional resonance than one typically expects of punk. “There’s a song that’s about my depression, depression in general, and a song about anxiety but everyone likes it cause it’s super catchy. It’s like Trojan horsing the real idea of the song,” Torrefranca said. “We’re also not trying to mask what we’re saying so much. Trying to be a little more honest,” Jewell said.

Be sure to check out our review of Cuffed Up’s Double A-Side “Mother/ Father” and “Small Town Kid” up now on and their release show next Wednesday at The Bootleg Theatre at 830 pm. Tickets available through

Kate Bent
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