Never give up on your dreams. They do come true. I've been listening to Frankie Cosmos since 2015, and when I first started interviewing bands in 2017, one of my goals was to get to interview them. Listen, you would have told me 6 years ago that I would be able to interview one of my favorite bands I would have said "Of course" because I was delusional back then.
1. What have you been listening to lately?
Skulls Example by Dear Nora! and lots of Good Morning, gearing up for the tour :)
2. Can you roast my friend Erin? You don’t have to be nice about it. Get her good.
Your game stinks!!!!
3. How do planes stay up in the air?
Like I wanna say the wind gets under the wings the right way maybe and it just keeps working
4. What is your favorite Frank O’Hara poem?
Adieu to Norman, Bon Jour to Joan and Jean-Paul
5.If you had to start a band with 3 fictional characters, who would you choose?
Spongebob, Patrick, Squidward
6. Have you ever seen a ghost or had any paranormal experience?
I have, loosely. My friend Maryn taught me to basically let them know “I respect you but I’m really not a good audience for you” so that has worked for me so far.
7. Which one of you is named Frankie Cosmos? (This is a joke, I’m not dumb I promise)
boring answer but Greta
8. Can we start a band together called Cranky Fosmos?
9. On a scale from 1-10 how well is this interview going so far?
I think 10, this is perfect for me
10. What can I do in the future to ensure that my interviews are even WORSE?
ask questions that require more brain power :( unfortunately it seems like i’m about to get to that part of the interview
Thank you so much for taking the time to answer these questions. I’ve been a big fan since 2015. Actually part of the reason why I even started interviewing bands was because I hoped to one day interview you! So this is truly a dream come true!
Wow that’s really nice, thank you!
When did you first show interest in music, and what was the process of going from that to actually writing and recording your own songs?
I was always interested in music I guess. I took piano lessons from the time I was a little kid, and one of the first things I remember noticing about sound was, I was playing with the two ends of the piano, and noticing how they felt like a giant and a fairy - the low notes and the high notes gave such different feelings. And I remember it felt like a story without words. And then when I was around 10, I was super into being “deep” and having a notebook and writing poems and asking a lot of questions about life/philosophy. So I guess those poems turned into my first songs.
What did you grow up listening to?
I had so many phases while growing up, it’s hard to say, like it depends on the age. I would say the most formative time for me musically was middle school, when I was super into the Moldy Peaches and Jeffrey Lewis.
In a previous interview you said:
“I was allowed to wander around and take the subway to Brooklyn and see an all-ages house show if I wanted. It really opened me up to the idea that young people can have bands and perform if they want,”
What were some of the bands that you remember seeing?
Oh man, there was a lot of experimental, weird, sometimes mathy music around, all made by teenagers. Some of those early DIY rock show memories for me were: Fiasco, The Crayons, Run Time Error, Starscream, Sediment Club.
You grew up in NYC during the era where the Sidewalk Cafe/Anti-Folk Era with Jeffrey Lewis, The Moldy Peaches, and artists like that! Did that influence your music at all?
I was a little too young to see those bands at the time, but I got into them a few years later (I think my brother showed me them around 2005 when I was in 5th grade). They were huge influences, for sure.
Fun fact, we actually first met at the Skate or Die Fest in Dallas way back in 2017! (This is my favorite picture because I asked the person in line behind me to take it and this is the only shot they got)
I read in a previous interview that you were shy about sharing your music when you first started at what point did you feel comfortable with sharing your music? What helped with that?
It took me years of practice to actually feel comfortable (I don’t know if I’ve ever gotten fully comfortable?), and I guess I still get scared when sharing a new song, but the first step was just playing in front of people. Friends first, family, and then I played my first shows.
When you first started putting out music one of the monikers that you used was “Little Bear” was that a reference to the Nick Jr. Cartoon Little Bear??
You also mentioned in another interview that you tend to write in short creative bursts and tend to write thoughts and lyrics into a notebook. Is that still the case? What does that process normally look like?
What is the most important thing you like to keep in mind when it comes to creating a song?
Yes, I still write in notebooks. More often lately I write in my Notes App on my phone because it’s more discreet. But then I eventually transfer that to a paper notebook. I’m always writing, but the bursts are more about organizing those ideas into songs. I have way more ideas than I ever end up finishing. There’s not really a regular process, I guess it’s always changing. But recently it’s like, I don’t write a full song for months, but I have a bunch of lyrics and melodies gathered up, and then eventually I do a piecing together process and finish like 10 demos in a week.
My most important thing to keep in mind is that it’s not that serious, it doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to feel good, and probably no one is going to hear it.
I’ve been following Frankie Cosmos for a while now, and I’ve for sure noticed an evolution in your sound throughout the years, but each release manages to remain something that is uniquely a Frankie Cosmos album. What makes a Frankie Cosmos song a Frankie Cosmos song?
Thank you! I think the big distinction I’ve held onto is that it’s not a Frankie Cosmos song unless I wrote it.
How do you know whether a song or album is ready to put out?
I don’t know, it’s just a feeling!
Do you know immediately when a song has something special?
I don’t, sometimes a song feels special to me and nobody else really reacts the way I’m expecting, and then sometimes my bandmates or a friend will love a demo that I thought was a throwaway.
What happens to the songs that don't make the cut?
They live forever in my email on a thread with myself where I send all my demos, in addition to a harddrive. Sometimes they make the cut years later!
Okay I’ve just always wondered about this since 2016, but can you tell us the story behind the song “Outside With The Cuties”?
It’s pretty much how it sounds, it was about enjoying the outdoors with some cuties. I think I wrote it while on tour, and I was feeling far from home and trying to just take in my surroundings and appreciate it.
What has been your favorite musical accomplishment so far (besides this interview)? And is there anything else that you’d like to accomplish?
I think touring as much as I have in my life and consistently releasing music I’m proud of is an accomplishment. I never dreamed I would end up playing in all the amazing places on earth that music has taken me. It still feels unreal to get to do music and that strangers want to listen to it. If I could keep that up, it would be great.
I’m going to be at your show in Dallas on Sept 30th with my friend Erin! What are the chances you say “Erin, you look like you collect rocks?” (It’s an inside joke)
Realistically, I will forget. What’s up with this Erin character??
This one time I interviewed a band that had someone take a live turkey to the show. What's been your most interesting show experience?
We played at a laserdome with a light show which was pretty cool.
Is there anything specific you guys like to check out in every city that you tour?
The inside of the venue for sure! Truthfully we don’t have a lot of time in most cities. Ideally we get a sit-down meal somewhere, or a nice coffee!
You tweeted about inventing a game like two truths and a lie but with band names, and you have to guess which one is made up. What were some of the best names?
I was pretty bad at the game - the hardest part is finding real band names that are obscure enough and sound more made up than your made up one. I think the only name I fooled anyone with was Dinky Bongo & The Front Runners. I kinda shot the moon.
Is there anything else that you like to do while you’re in the van to pass the time?
Listen to music, stare at phone (usually doing emails/tour managing/texting). I’m the only person who doesn’t drive, which is embarrassing. So I like to at least participate in car-time morale boosting.
While doing research for this interview, I discovered Frank O’Hara for the first time and I really like “Lunch Poems” so thank you for that!
What does “success” look like to you as far as music goes?
I think success is just being able to make the music you want to make.
What do you think you’d be doing if you weren’t pursuing music?
Maybe working at one of those doggy daycare places.
What can we expect to see or hear from Frankie Cosmos in the near future?
I have no idea actually
And to wrap things up, do you have any questions for me?
Who is Erin to you??
I'm not even sure.