Finding Lost Cousins: NHS music alum is making his mark

By Jacob Hoytema – 

Drummer Cam Duffin, a Westboro native and alumnus of Nepean High School, is making an entrance onto the Canadian indie music scene with his band, Lost Cousins. The band have just finished playing at the brand new WayHome music festival outside of Barrie, Ontario, where Duffin says the reception was excellent.

The Lost Cousins (from left to right): Thomas Dashney, Lloyd McArton, Cam Duffin, Dylan Hay. Photo submitted by Cam Duffin
The Lost Cousins (from left to right): Thomas Dashney, Lloyd McArton, Cam Duffin, Dylan Hay. Photo submitted by Cam Duffin

“It was one of the greatest experiences I’ve ever had,” says Duffin. He adds that their show at WayHome, which he says drew over 1,000 spectators, was “the biggest stage we’ve ever played on.”

Duffin started the band with his friend Dylan Hay while they were freshman at Queen’s University. After a few years of playing together in a number of small bands and gigs, the two met Thomas Dashney and Lloyd McArton, who would eventually become the keyboard and guitar players for Lost Cousins.

Duffin’s beginnings in the music world stretch back to his youth in Westboro. After taking piano lessons as a child, he expanded to other types of music in high school.

“I was super-super-super involved in the music program [at Nepean High School],” he says, listing off a resume of band, stage band and choir.

His high school music teachers encouraged him to play drums for community jazz groups such as the Ottawa Junior Jazz Band and later the Nepean All-City Jazz Band. As part of these groups, Duffin participated in jazz competitions.

“I don’t know if I would be a drummer without them, honestly,” Duffin says of his teachers at Nepean. “They really nurtured my talent.”

Originally, Duffin says, Lost Cousins’ audience consisted mostly of the Queen’s community, as well as friends from his and Hay’s respective hometowns of Ottawa and Barrie. They’ve recently been able to grow their fan base through touring and the exposure from the CBC Radio Searchlight contest. Lost Cousins placed in the final ten in the contest as representatives of the Ottawa region, and their song “Drift” has received a lot of airplay as a result.

Besides being drummer and one of the lead vocalists, Duffin and Hay are the principal songwriters behind the group’s material. While Duffin’s songwriting style is self-professedly “indie,” he says his musical partner is “really old-school influenced.”

Duffin says that these varied styles are not an obstacle to working as a group, but rather make the band’s sound stronger.

“We’re starting to write a little more together to make our stuff a little more cohesive,” he says. “We basically both write so much material all the time, it’s what we both love to do, we can always find a way to make it work together.”

The band is soon moving to Toronto to be closer to the music industry. Duffin says they hope to release a full album sometime next year, and are planning a music video for their song, “Feel An Emotion.”

Fans new and old are invited to check out their upcoming show at Wakefield’s Blacksheep Inn on August 14.

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