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:
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!
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:
**** The 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.
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.”
“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”.
“On this release they’ve perfectly captures the debauchery of their live performances”
“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.”
“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.”
**** 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!
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 Kitti, Vaginas, 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.
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.
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!