Indieterria meets The Cosmics

Dear Readers,

The Cosmics has been shaping West Midlands music scene for three years now. They announced their arrival on the local scene with a punkadelic anthem “Johnny” and do not show any signs of slowing down. It does not happen often that so early in their career a band will achieve best of both worlds – cult status in their home town and respect of their musical peers.Ask anyone in West Midlands and they will tell you – The Cosmics are unlike any other band. Not only in sound but how quickly they progress from one stage to another, like they have found a secret formula to make it in the music business. We can only think of one other act in the last four years with such distinctiveness, influence and uniqueness – The Blinders.

This blog will be longer than others – that is because we wanted to do a proper introduction to the band. We interviewed them, we went to see them on their first European tour and gathered some press coverage of their debut EP.

Ladies and Gentlemen of the indie circuit – please meet a trio that will define the future of music in the UK – The Cosmics.

**** The interview ****

Before the band travelled abroad to play shows in The Netherlands, Belgium and France, we have sat down with bassist and vocalist Erin Grace to talk about the band`s Glastonbury appearance, their EP and working on exclusive pressings of their singles via Flying Vinyl. This is what Erin told us:

The Cosmics photographed by Psychedelic Eye
https://www.facebook.com/psychedelic.eye.photography

Many bands claim that they are as close as relatives. You don’t have to – you are one very talented family.  Please introduce yourself to the readers of Indieterria.

Erin Grace:  Thank you! We are Erin Grace (bass/vocals), Connor Boyle (guitar) and Danny Boyle (drums).

The Cosmics formed in 2015 and within one year gathered incredible support. In 2017 BBC Introducing invited you to play their stage at the biggest festival of all – Glastonbury. Tell us how do you remember that show?

Erin Grace:  Glastonbury was an unforgettable dream come true, it felt very surreal, being on stage, there was huge  feelings of excitement, it’s something we always dreamt of but never thought would happen when we first started the band.

Since Glasto you have been going from strength to strength – the list of your achievements is longer than  life span of many indie acts: rave reviews from Steve Lamacq and Hugh Stephens, radio play on BBC 1, BBC 6, Amazing Radio, Radio X, coverage from BBC Introducing West Midlands. You played Isle of Wight and Reading Festival.  Your ascent to veterans of indie circuit was swift. Do you feel overwhelmed by your own success?

Erin Grace:  We don’t feel overwhelmed by anything, we just appreciate every opportunity we’ve had and we’re grateful for this journey as a band.

You shared stages with Starcrawler, Surfbort, The Murder Capital, Goat Girl and Birmingham finest -Table Scraps. Its equivalent of playing in Premier League of Indie Circuit. Do you book your own shows or do you prefer to use agents or external promoters?

Erin Grace: It depends what kind of show we’re going for, we love DIY shows and we also use promoters that suit us. Sometimes we book our own shows, though if we’re supporting a band or playing outside of Birmingham, we use promoters.

We have to ask you about your unique stage dress code: vintage dresses or costumes inspired by 60s and 70s have become your trademark. You have also been included in Fred Perry Subculture series.  How important is stage attire to you and was this aspect of your shows something that you wanted to explore?

Erin Grace:  Outfits are relatively important, they can express a mood or an era, we all love vintage fashion too so it just feels natural to wear what we love.

Your debut single “Johnny” came out in 2017 on Flying Vinyl – a company specializing in limited releases on vinyl. You returned to working with them last year when you took part in Flying Vinyl`s first compilation “Paranoid Futures”.  We would love to hear how your collaboration began?

Erin Grace:  Flying Vinyl approached us a few years ago when “Johnny” first came put and ever since, we love what they do!

The Cosmics ready for action – photography by Jessica H_Ingram
https://www.facebook.com/jessicahingramphotography

You just released your debut EP. It was recorded by Rory Attwell (Palma Violets, The Vaccines) and produced by Andy ‘Hippy’ Baldwin (Sundara Karma, The Orb, Blur, Oasis). You got to work with some established names. Where was it recorded and how long it took for the EP to be finished?

Erin Grace:  The EP was released on 13th June and we recorded it all in London, we went to record on few separate occasions over the course of a year so each song was written at a different time.

You also launched the EP in London. How did that go?

Erin Grace:  The EP launch went better than we expected, it was great having our friends on the line up. The show was a lot of fun and The Old Blue Last is a great venue.

The record is promoted by single “Eyes” and a very curious video. Cyclops on skateboards. Please tell us where did you film the video. Some part of it look like Digbeth. Who directed it?

Erin Grace:  We filmed everything for the “Eyes” music video in Birmingham, some bits in the city centre and others in suburban areas. Our drummer Danny directed it and filmed the video.

Before “Eyes”, you released “Trust Is Blind”.  We really want to know the story behind this song. In the video you look like a character from Lynch movie – you smile to the camera and yet the viewer has a feeling that any given moment you will break into tears. Then in a blink, you charge on stage where you tear down the decorations in a  fury that would suit Courtney Love at the heights of her Hole days. Like to keep your viewers on their toes?

Erin Grace:  “Trust is Blind” surrounds themes of betrayal and dishonesty, it’s about trust being broken. Yeah, we wanted to add twist into this track, we enjoy experimenting with noise.

We are hearing that the EP has been selling well and you got played on legendary American radio KEXP. So where do The Cosmic go from here? Any plans for the future?

Erin Grace:  We plan to keep gigging in cities and countries we’ve never played before and we’ll continue to make new music!

You can follow the band on their socials:

https://www.facebook.com/thecosmicsband
https://twitter.com/thecosmicsband
https://www.instagram.com/thecosmicsuk/
https://thecosmicsuk.bandcamp.com/
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCx3KjGaX2RJvXI5e7nljvGA
https://soundcloud.com/user-838453312
https://open.spotify.com/artist/0aocL5HcJzJlZJtAZH6caL?si=OYgzbMbGTZ-TwFXsFRmQ7Q

 

 **** The EP ****

The Cosmics presenting cover and the vinyl of their debut EP

The self titled debut EP has gathered rave reviews across the industry. These are just some of the reactions that we have gathered for the purpose of this blog. There are many more out there ranging from big established brands (The Clash Magazine) to local newspapers and blogs (Birmingham Review, Independent Music News), radio stations (Brum Radio, BBC West Midlands, BBC Introducing). The EP received airplay from Steve Lamacq (BBC 6 Music), Huw Stephens (BBC Radio 1), X Radio, Amazing Radio, KEXP in US among others. No management, no booker, no label or radio plugger. Just the strength of their music.

Front cover of the EP and A side of the vinyl pressing.

The Clash Magazine:
“New cut “Eyes” is a short, sharp shock, driven by that urgent vocal and those taut guitar lines. The sound of The Cosmics thrashing away in the unholy night, it carries some uncanny reverberations. Tune in now.”
https://www.clashmusic.com/news/the-cosmics-rev-it-up-on-eyes

Circuit Sweet:
“Lead single “Eyes”, taken from the self-titled record,  perfectly encapsulates the kind of 60’s beat that The Cosmics perform with such perfect refrain before collapsing almost entirely into a much more modern take on the garage-fuzz sound. Addictively catchy, the band walk the line between surf and noise effortlessly while showcasing a raw talent for song writing”.
https://circuitsweet.co.uk/2019/04/brand-new-garage-fuzz-from-birminghams-the-cosmics-debut-ep-announced-for-june/

The vinyl pressing of the EP

The 405:
“On this release they’ve perfectly captures the debauchery of their live performances”
https://www.thefourohfive.com/music/article/the-cosmics-capture-the-youthful-grit-and-glamour-of-their-sound-in-the-video-for-eyes-405-premiere-155

Backseat Mafia:
“The thing about The Cosmics is they’ve mastered sounding like they’re from the 60s girl band sound, strained through a messy, edgy garage punk filter. That’s because they have the melodies at heart that could have made it onto a classic soul all-nighter, but instead of organ and bass, they’ve got this frayed guitar sound that leaks feedback and lashes itself to the track. Brilliant stuff.”
http://www.backseatmafia.com/track-the-cosmics-drained/

Travellers Tunes:
“The immediacy of the record is undeniable. Singer Erin Grace co-opts a Shangri-La’s vocal for the verse before effortlessly sliding into a furious punk rock delivery in the chorus.”
https://travellerstunes.com/review/thecosmics-drained

Back cover of the EP and B side of the vinyl pressing.

**** The Tour ****

Before going abroad, The Cosmics played dates in Birmingham, London, Glasgow and Manchester.  As we had to go to continental Europe for a bit ourselves, we have decided to catch up with the band on the road and bring you an exclusive coverage of their gigs though videos and photos. This is what we have found and you can judge for yourselves that The Cosmics had a lot of fun! Tours can be great!

Tour poster

On 20th of June, The Cosmics travelled to Ghent in Belgium to participate in Girls Go Boom, a one day festival organised at a popular Muziekcentrum KinkyStar. Located in the historical (and tourist) city centre of Ghent, the venue has a capacity of 80 people and is known for supporting independent and emerging acts, not only local to Belgium but also from all over the world. In the last two years, nearly 100 bands from Europe, Canada, USA and Australia played at the Kinky Star and majority of their shows are sold out. Manchester darlings, WITCH FEVER (whom we have seen recently at the Albert Square during Manchester International Festival alongside The Pagans SOH and The Blinders) performed for Girls Go Boom in October 2018 and completely blew the audience away. We had a pleasure to speak to one of the organisers of the festival and we were told that the team are big fans of indie/post punk music from the UK. The Cosmics were chosen as their songs caught the team’s eye (and the ear as well) while browsing the newest releases on BandCamp. It is worth adding that Girls Go Boom book only female fronted and fully female bands (including LGBTQ+ artists who identify as females). They are the only promoter in Belgium who does it and their shows comes with a set of quite obvious rules. They include no homophobia, no racism and no sexism, girls in the front, safe space for sexual and racial minorities and no patriarchal bullshit. Everyone is cordially invited  – men, women, non binary or gender fluid persons. Their motto is “It doesn’t matter who you are, you will always be among friends”. We can only applaud their initiative as it was one of the nicest, safest shows we have seen in a long time. The venue was packed to the last place, everybody danced (and pogo’ed), drank beer, sang and had a lovely time. And there was no pushing, no shouting, no aggression, the photographers could work uninterrupted without fear of having their equipment destroyed. Every gig goer received a complimentary badge at the door and the entry was free. We need something similar in the UK as some of the gigs we go to are a parade for bullies and football hooligans. Organisations such as Safe Gigs For Women are doing a splendid job but there is a long road ahead of us.

The Cosmics performed alongside Piss KittiVaginas, what else?, Dragon’s Daughters, DJ’s MOSHI MOSHI and Melissa Juice. Their show started exactly at 22:00 CET (21:00 UK time) and lasted about 40 minutes. The band played their recent singles “Trust Is Blind” and “Eyes” along with fan favourites: “Cundy Come Down” and “Brainfuzz” taken off their self titled debut EP. “Velma”, “Johnny”, “I Quit” and “Inishfree” filled the rest of the set.

It was wild and energetic ride, filled with solid dose of sound distortion and vibrations. Lead singer, Erin Grace, is known for her expressive performance and we could see her falling to her knees, bashing the strings of her bass like her life depended on it and move as in a trance. Twin brothers, Conor (guitar) and Danny Boyle (drums) were closely following Erin’s trail with thunderous beat and aggressive riffs. And the crowd loved every minute of the spectacle, responding with admiration to each song. At the end, the Birmingham based trio received a standing ovation and many cheers for the show. Judging by the reactions, The Cosmics have bright future in front of them. If you haven’t seen them yet, please do as they are on rise and soon they will be playing big stages instead of intimate venues.

 

You can learn more about Kinky Star at: http://www.kinkystar.com/media.php
and Girls Go Boom Festival at: https://www.girlsgoboom.com/0

The performance was live streamed on Kinky’s Star website and you can watch it at: https://www.facebook.com/MuziekcentrumKinkyStar/videos/487192875376482/

Two days later, on 21st of July, we met with the band again, this time in Antwerp. They were about to play another EU show at an independent venue called Cafe Cabron. Sadly, we couldn’t stay for the gig itself, but we have taken them for a small photo shoot around the beautiful The Grote Markt of Antwerp. It is so easy to fall in love with The Cosmics. They come as a full package – not only their music is a killer, but they have the looks, the talent and confidence that will take them far.

The show has been organised by Zing Zang Zong and was to start at 9:00 pm.
The Cosmics were to be supported by Belgian duo, De Batteries.
Form what we have heard – it was another success for the band, but that is a standard outcome for the Birmingham trio.

More information about the gig:
https://www.facebook.com/events/858188711217531/
https://www.facebook.com/zzzgarageclub/
https://www.facebook.com/CafeeCabron/

We are hoping to catch the band at another show this tour so watch out this space for additional content and more compliments regarding the band. If you still haven`t noticed West Midlands has the best scene and we are so happy to be part of it.

See ya down the front? You bet!

M/R

Indieterria meets Dream Phases

Dear Readers,

Winter, winter on the way and our little music project is now two years old. To celebrate this humble achievement of Indieterria, we have reached over the Big Pond to speak to Dream Phases – a band that brings back the most exciting and creative genre in guitar driven music – psychedelic rock. If you look around carefully, you can notice some sort of renaissance on the psychedelia front happening in the last 12 months – with bands such as The Naked Party and Hooveriii in the States and The Cosmics, The Surrenders or The Strawberries in the UK.

It was a pleasure to interview Brandon Graham – vocalist and mastermind behind Dream Phases. Great story teller, meticulous in his answers and his enthusiasm for music is contagious. We hope you will like this chapter of Indieterria. Read on and dig it.

Band logo and European tour poster by Lucy Faery
https://www.facebook.com/lucyfaery

Dream Phases

Brandon Graham (vox, guitar)
Shane Graham (drums)
Keveen Baudouin (guitar)
Dylan Nelson (bass)
Anthony Marks (keys)

Brandon Graham – the voice of Dream Phases
Photo by Michael Haight

Dream Phases are recognized as one of the hottest new psychedelia acts in America. Obscure Sound  described you as “hypnotic melodies of vintage psych-folk and rock with a contemporary pop charm”. Please introduce yourself to readers of Indieterria.

Brandon Graham (Dream Phases) : Thank you. I’m Brandon Graham and I write, record and produce the Dream Phases music as well as sing and play guitar live. We are a group of close friends playing rock n roll based out of Los Angeles. The band is comprised of myself, my brother Shane Graham on drums, Keveen Baudouin on guitar, Dylan Nelson on bass and Anthony Marks on keys.

You have toured Europe in September this year; playing 12 dates across seven countries, with three shows in the UK accompanied by The Blank Tapes. How do you remember the tour? Any stories to tell?

Brandon Graham: Yeah the tour was fantastic, I know we all would like to come back as soon as possible. Everyone in the band was really happy to be travelling around Europe, it was some of my band mates first time in Europe and was quite the experience. There was definitely a lot of highlights and fond memories but one of the funniest was playing a show in northern France. I’m not going to be specific about names but we played a small city in France, that was really beautiful. They don’t get a lot of rock bands, let alone bands from Los Angeles, so everyone was extra excited. The owner of the place we played and stayed at was especially excited, and he treated us fantastic. We probably had the best meal of tour that night. Anyway as soon as we arrived the owner started pouring us drink after drink after drink, and also having them himself as well. As the night wore on he told us, ‘just wait until we close the bar, then the real party will start’. So we are waiting and wondering what is going to happen, but about 5 minutes later we found him totally passed out, and well before he was supposed to close the bar. It was awesome and hilarious, that was a great night. Another memory is that my brother and I literally walked around Paris all night long after our show, it was beautiful to see the city that way. One of the most special parts of the tour was going to visit Keveen’s parents home. Keveen is French and grew up in the northern part of south France. We’ve been playing music together, in different bands, for over 8 years and it was awesome to see where he grew up and to meet his family. We stayed at his parents` house for 2 and a half days and his mom made us two four-five course meals a day. It was unbelievable.

Ready to take over the world? We hope so!
Photo by Michael Haight

We are impressed by how quickly the band works on new material. You started in 2017 and that year seen release of your debut EP “Maybe Tomorrow” on March 28th. In 2018 you have released a standalone single “Easy Love” on April 20th and quickly followed up by another EP “Clear Skies” on September 4th.  Each release comes also in different formats: CD, vinyl, cassette, digital download.  You must be the hardest working band in US!

Brandon Graham: I don’t know about that, but yes we do try to work as hard as we can, mostly so we can continue recording and making more music. The goal is to constantly evolve what we are doing and to try different things. By the time we put something out we are probably onto something else entirely. It can take a while before the music actually hits the public, especially with vinyl releases. We have two albums of material right now that will be coming out over the next several months, one at the end of this year and our proper debut album in spring. We’ll be getting the vinyl version of “Clear Skies” anytime now, and it is combined now with, “Maybe Tomorrow”. The vinyl should be out within a few weeks on Nomad Eel Records.

Brandon, you are known for your work with other bands – Avid Dancer, Blank Tapes, Nacosta. Do you think being involved in so many different project had a positive influence on Dream Phases?

Brandon Graham: It definitely has. It’s opened my eyes to so many different styles and songs, and ways to go about working. It’s also helped keep me focused and budget my time accordingly, to juggle playing in a lot of bands. I’ve learned something valuable from every band that I’ve played with. It has also helped me as a musician enormously, by learning so many different writers songs and parts.

This Californian five piece is regarded by blogs and music journalists as one of the most important bands of the genre at the moment.
Photo by Michael Haight

We want to ask you about our favorite track  – “To Walk Away”.  It has this Beatles-sque quality to it and such moving lyrics. Tell us where was this song recorded  and what is it about?

Brandon Graham: To Walk Away was recorded a couple of different times. Although this is not what it is about, I wrote the song actually as a reaction to when Tom Petty died. I had been listening to his music a lot right before he died, and learning more and more about the simplicity of his lyrics and music. He was an idol of mine growing up, and I was lucky enough to work with him a couple years ago with a band I was filling in with. For a very short time he was a mentor. Right after he died last year I wrote that song and one more, that I have yet to record. The lyric is dealing with the end of a long relationship I was in, and facing the fact that I had to move on, that it was time to let go and to walk away from it. Most of the “Clear Skies” EP is dealing with that time, both shortly before and after the break up. Heartbreak definitely does inspire, I wrote a ton of songs about that.

Dream Phases are sometimes compared to the Naked Party. Are you familiar with their repertoire? Would you agree that there are similarities between both bands?

Brandon Graham: I actually am not familiar with them, but now I’m definitely curious and will look them up. I’m kind of excited to hear them!

We know you have debut album to be released in Spring 2019. Are there any secrets that you can reveal for this interview? What can we expect from the record?

Brandon Graham: We’ve actually been working on it on and off since last December when we recorded most of the basic tracks, and some of the songs date back to my original demo album from two years ago now. We are about to record all the final overdubs and then start mixing it at the beginning of January. Most of the songs, but not all, have been in our live set for a while now, so anyone that has seen us will know some of them. It’s about time to get those songs on tape. The music will encompass similar territory as what we’ve put out so far, but there will be a few dips into some noise pop and shoegaze. Lyrically it is dealing with similar themes as the “Clear Skies” EP, as well as an influence of living in Los Angeles and playing in the local music scene. I can’t wait to finish it!

There is certainly a psychedelic revival on the indie circuit in the UK with  acts like The Surrenders, Raptor, As Mamas or The Cosmics leading the way. Would you like to recommend some new bands from across the Big Pond for our readers? Who is on your psychedelic rock play list at the moment?

Brandon Graham: Yeah I’m stoked that there are so many rad bands making music right now, seemingly everywhere. Some of my favorite local Los Angeles, or California bands are Sugar Candy Mountain, Levitation Room, Cosmonauts, Vinyl Williams, Send Medicine, Cool Ghouls, Hooveriii, and Maston just to name a few. There is seriously no shortage of rad bands operating at this moment. A couple British bands I love are TOY and Ulrika Spacek.

The band in monochrome
Photo by Michael Haight

This will be the most unoriginal question you will hear all week – but we got to ask. If you could record a song with anyone alive or dead – who would you choose for the task?

Brandon Graham:  That’s actually a really tough one because there are some many people I’d love to record with. I guess it would be a toss – up between Elliott Smith and Jimi Hendrix, I love both of them and their studio work and they were both going further and further out in the studio when they died. Also Joe Meek, we could of made some tripped dark voodoo-isa rock `n` roll. For someone today I’d really like to work with Nicolas Vernhes for his work with Deerhunter and Animal Collective. Also would of been amazing to have Geoff Emerick engineer a song, and also be produced by Gary Usher and Curt Boettcher would of been incredible. This is the toughest of these questions for sure!

We are hoping that once your album comes out you will return to the UK for more live shows. But in the mean time – where can people see you play? Any upcoming tours?

Brandon Graham:  If we have a future, we will return to Europe (laughs). At the moment we are done with shows for the year, but we will be announcing three shows for January, with one on Martin Luther King Day, January 21st at the Los Angeles Contemporary Museum of Art (LACMA), which will be rad one! Then we will do some US touring in Spring once our record comes out.

new psychedelia rising – Dream Phases
Photo Michael Haight

The band can be followed on social media:

https://www.facebook.com/DreamPhases/
https://twitter.com/DreamPhases
https://soundcloud.com/dreamphases
https://dreamphases.bandcamp.com/
https://www.instagram.com/dreamphases/
https://www.songkick.com/artists/8696233-dream-phases
https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/dream-phases/1215078259
https://open.spotify.com/artist/6TN3btKQrSRW2KG6D7LpID?si=JygSTm0RT4SWseqUMHoEmw

If you fancy additional bit of reading about the band, please check out these excellent articles:

https://www.grimygoods.com/2018/06/20/dream-phases/
http://lastdaydeaf.com/exclusive-track-premiere-dream-phases-clear-skies/
http://larecord.com/news/2018/09/18/video-premiere-dream-phases-to-walk-away

That`s all for now. Vanadian Avenue gives Dream Phases a stamp of approval and we hope that you too enjoyed the music and discovering new acts with us. We can only hope that 2019 will prove to be a lucky year and Dream Phases will once again visit our side of the Pond.

Just imagine them tearing the roof off Sunflower Lounge in Birmingham or Night & Day in Manchester.  Yep, we knew you will all agree with us.

Happy party season,

Mal/Rita