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Frankie Cosmos


Eclectic indie pop outfit Frankie Cosmos have just released their fourteenth studio album, an occasion I think we should celebrate in a day and age that is particularly hard for bands that are still emerging. They celebrated their album once the recordings were done, us and their fans however, can only now share in the joy of ‘Inner World Peace’.  

I sat down with the four-piece to talk about their album, the state of the music industry and their journey in music so far. The band have a clear vision of who their music is for and what it is they aim and aspire to do by releasing their art and sharing it with the world. On their audience and the people that might enjoy their music most, Greta said: “People that feel weird all the time, it is as if they have missed the day at school when everyone else learned to be normal. Our albums should be a peaceful place for people to visit. My lyrics come from my diary, and constantly over-examining the world around me and how to process it. When I play the music with the band, that’s the point where it achieves some kind of comfort.”  

For many bands recording an album is followed by live shows, a tour or festival season, for Frankie Cosmos those chapters were rather far apart, Lauren elaborates on that: “I enjoy performing, but we haven’t been performing as much. My most recent performance felt very special. All different parts have felt very different, they’re like different chapters of our lives.” The four musicians all have their own perspective on what their favourite element of being in a band entails, but they all agree that their friendship is top of the list of favourite elements. The comfort they take out of creating music together is visible even when they are not making music, and for a moment I feel like I’m on the couch with them, talking about their music the way they’d do among themselves and with friends.  


Their songs are ever-changing, ever-evolving and Alex mentions how his feelings towards their music changes constantly, “I do think about things I could have done differently in a song, but the essence of the songs Greta writes stays the same. Her ideas are amazing.” Greta adds: “The albums capture the band at a certain period in time, and it changes. The live show changes and our music is never finished, it will always morph. That’s why I like live performances, it’s not like pressing play on a record. Not being able to tour after the record was finished, is a very different kind of experience.” The usual process would be for the band to record an album and tour with it, try things out in a live setting, this time around they were able to come up with ideas, but they couldn’t try them in a live setting and see the reaction of the audience, or if it would even be possible! Luke: “When you’re performing, the songs just come out.”  

In general, recording is weird, especially in the current climate, Greta: “the music industry is in crumbles. If you want to make a record, you can, you just have to do it yourself. Don’t worry about it too much, no one is going to notice that you used one mic on your drumset”. Luke: “The difference in money spent on our records is vast but I don’t think people can hear that difference”, but if your first record is lo-fi, people will forever categorise you as a lo-fi band, so is that to blame to listeners’ short attention-span or selective memory?  

We talk about the costs of recording and being in a band, Greta: “I don’t think people realise how expensive being in a band is. Any band that is successful is probably in more debt than you are. But if you want to make music, do it, don’t worry about trying to “make it”.” Luke: “There’s no “it”.” Potentially the most valuable piece of advice is that if you are interested in writing and releasing music, that is what you should do. Enjoy the process, the progress, and don’t take yourself too seriously. However, because Frankie Cosmos did take themselves seriously, they signed with the American label Sub Pop, a few albums ago. About the role of labels within the modern musical soundscape, Greta said: “Labels are mostly banks, they fund you making the album, those costs then come from your future sales.” There is money to be made in music, but the income streams aren’t divided equally, with Spotify taking a massive cut and certain venues taking a vast percentage of bands’ merchandise sales. Luke: “The money isn’t always going to the people that deserve it.” We soon realise that trying to solve the issues most of us in the music industry are facing isn’t going to happen in an afternoon, so we return to brighter days. The days Frankie Cosmos got in touch with Sub Pop. 

Greta talks us through how they got in touch with Sub Pop: “I think it’s kind of cute how we found Sub Pop. The first people that invested in my music, we became friends. We were in the same scene in New York, they were in a band called Level Up. Years later they signed with Sub Pop and they mentioned that they should sign us too. It was full circle, bands and people that played at the same house for many years, looking out for each other. We’ve always been self-managed, I just emailed Sub Pop if they wanted to talk and one thing led to another.” The band have gathered a small but vital team around them to push them further than they would be able to do on their own, “the other team members are our two booking agents, and now Sub Pop has in-house PR and a publisher et cetera. The music industry is a lot of freelance work running around like Mario trying to collect coins. The more people collecting those coins, the easier it is. It’s important to have people on our team. We brought Liv, a freelance PR, to Sub Pop, we like to keep the team intimate and have it be people we know.” 



It is clear that Frankie Cosmos have found their way, despite the hardships of being a musician, they are a band made of friends with a team consisting of people that look out for them and each other, “there are a lot of people behind the music you’re hearing”. Their success came from being out there, playing live, and working with others that share the same values. Greta: “Making music is amazing and that is what we all care about. But it isn’t easy. Be honest, with others and yourself.” To that, Lauren adds: “Pursuing any art always starts out with a love for it, try and hold on to the love for it before any money clouds your vision. I work as an illustrator, I started doing it for fun, and then I started making money which I then got stressed about. It’s the same with music, try not to let the money ruin it. Try to find the balance of making a living and doing what is your soul’s purpose on earth, to put art out into the world!”  

Before we wrap up I ask the band what artists they are currently listening to, artists that we should give a listen as well! Greta: “I’m loving the new Dear Nora album, and a musician I’ve been listening to recently called Joey Nebulous.” Alex: “Rusti Santos, he’s just put out a record.” Luke: “I’m very into the new Dry Cleaning album.” Lauren: “Melody’s Echo Chamber’s new album, I’ve just had it on repeat.” While I add these artists to a playlist, I once again click play on ‘Inner World Peace’ and hum along to album opener ‘Abigail’.  

The new album "Inner World Peace" is out now on Sub Pop.

Words by Laura Rosierse

Photography by Pooneh Ghana

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