Cosmonaut is a 4 piece indie/rock band from New York City. They specialize in crafting pop/rock songs steeped in spacey fuzz guitar and airy distorted vocals. Although that may sound like a generic one dimensional rock and roll formula, they seem to have found a unique blend of pop sensibility and song depth that you don’t normally find with your typical fuzzed out rock band. Their musicianship and charismatic personalities shine through their songs, enabling them to transcend genre and relentless comparisons to The Strokes.
Their debut E.P. Hurry Up was recorded with Kyle “Slick” Johnson (Wavves, Modest Mouse, Cymbals Eat Guitars) in Spring 2012 and quickly gained critical acclaim highlighted on their website’s press section…
BrooklynVegan wrote – “Cosmonaut play catchy post-Strokes guitar pop, and do it well.”
Altar TV said – “Cosmonaut… specialize in drearily charismatic guitar rock and they’re pretty goddamn good at it.”
We here at Evensound completely agree with those sentiments. Especially with Cosmonaut’s most recent offering, a seven inch vinyl and digital single called “Radio Silence” with a B-side featuring the song “Subterranean Mercenary”. The accompanying video for “Radio Silence” is superb. Featuring the band playing straight ahead in a blacked out room while getting washed out in some subtle and tasteful visual effects.
We had the opportunity to ask the band some questions about how they began, their song writing process, influences, and future plans. We’re anxiously awaiting their next release as they continue to hone in on their expert song crafting, pulling inspiration from all the art New York City has to offer.
How did you guys all get together to form Cosmonaut? Are you all from NYC ?
COS: Cosmonaut was formed by Jack and Daniel while attending college in NYC. We started playing music together and instantly felt like there was something unique about the material we were producing. We also both wanted nothing more than to be gigging musicians. Daniel introduced Jack to his childhood friends Brendan and Tom and they completed the rhythm section. We are all from New York – Daniel, Brendan and Tom are from Westchester and Jack is from Kingston, further up the Hudson Valley.
What inspired your musical aesthetic? Who are the principal song writers? Is it totally collaborative?
Daniel: Our sound is inspired by a myriad of influences and they are not exclusively musical. While we are endlessly influenced and impressed by other musicians and bands, we are also enamored with anyone who dedicates themselves wholeheartedly to their vision – be it painting, comedy, writing or whatever the outlet may be.
Our process typically begins with Jack. He will come up with a chord progression and a vocal melody that excites us and I’ll start writing my parts and exploring where the song can go with him. We’ll then take that idea and bring it to Brendan and Tom who give us the strong foundation we rest our melodies on. While this is most typical, we have written material that comes to us in the moment as well through jams.
In the influences section on your Facebook page you mention Paul F. Tompkins and Louis C.K.
Have you seen the new Louis CK Comedy Cellar special?
Would you say that humor plays a big role in how you approach music?
Can you site any other influences you’ve had as musicians that shape your sound?
Daniel: The new special is great. Louis C.K. embodies the kind of disruptive and genuine artist we aspire to be. He discarded the standard business model of his field and pretty much said “I’m doing this my way and I’m being completely true to who I am.” He has shown that, if the material is strong, there is no model you have to follow; people will want to listen to what you have to say.
Humor is wildly important to us. Jack and I are rabid Comedy Bang Bang fans and I have honestly been going to see more stand-up than music lately. There is something so bold and daring to go on stage with no instrument and just talk… I am ceaselessly impressed by comedians.
How hard is it to be a band in NYC?
Daniel: I’d argue that it’s the hardest city to be a musician in. While the city affords you many opportunities you can’t find in a lot of other places, it really forces you to focus or you’ll never end up being productive. It’s becoming prohibitively expensive to live here so all of us work hard at other jobs to be able to afford to keep playing and treasure the fact that we get to play. That being said, I truly love living here; I can’t imagine us being a band anywhere else. Someone once told us that Cosmonaut “reeks of New York City.” It was meant as an insult but I took it as the highest praise.
What’s next for Cosmonaut ? What projects are you working on? When/Where are you playing next?
Cos: We are releasing 2 new songs this spring as well as a music video and some hush-hush viral promotion to accompany the music. We’re wrapping up a long stretch of shows right now and going into our studio to finish up the material for our debut full-length but we’ll be playing Shea Stadium and Palisades in the Spring. Stay tuned.