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Sounds x Interview: Frankie Cosmos

As a lead up to Frankie Cosmos‘ album Close It Quietly (out Sept 6. on Sub Pop), we sat down with Greta Kline to discuss the new album, common themes and whether it’s a concept album, and the cover. I love the vibe of this album and how such introspective, abstract and deep lyrics can be interwoven in upbeat instrumentals during certain songs. The more somber and melancholy tunes really help to balance the album out, as well. It takes a certain type of formula and finesse to pull that off. See what Greta had to say …

This is your fourth studio album, I’m curious if you went in with a different approach from the previous records. Did you decide to do anything differently this time around?

We worked in a new studio and with a new producer (Gabe Wax), and we gave ourselves a bit more time to mess around in the studio.

Did you intend to make this a concept album and do you feel that maybe it is? I notice a particular theme of forlorn love and heartbreak of sorts in the lyrics. Did something, in particular, prompt you to write about this?

No, it’s not a concept album. I think there are themes that string together the songs, but that’s just because they’re all coming from my feelings/experiences. To me a theme on this record is care. There are love songs and there are heartache-y songs, and they’re related because they have to do with caring.

Did you decide at any point that you were going for a particular sound on this album and what inspired the overall sound and vibe?

No, we just took it on a song by song basis. We each have our musical and recording influences which turn up, but generally, we just lean towards sounds we like and figure out what fits with each song.

The lyrics seem really raw and honest, yet also abstract. When you have an idea for a song, or envision an idea, do you have a particular method that you use during the songwriting process to come up with the lyrics? What inspired you?

I don’t have one method – it depends on the song. Sometimes lyrics will just come to me and a song will come together really easily, and sometimes there is more playing around and editing to get it to where I want it to go. There are some lyrics that come easier than others…I have a harder time with certain topics.

You recorded the album at Figure 8 Studios in Brooklyn, New York and worked with Wax. Can you explain how he helped guide you along during the recording process and how that helped shape the album?

He’s really good at listening to our ideas verbally and knowing how to use amps/mics/instruments/etc. to get what we want. He also does a great job pushing us the right amount to get the best take. He’s just a really easy producer to work with and we all felt comfortable there.

Were you influenced by any artists or bands during the making of this album and what influences do all of you have individually that help to shape your sound?

We don’t really think about other artists when we are working on an album as a whole unless there is something really specific we want to reference. We referenced some keyboard sounds when trying to explain what we wanted .. I remember listening to Broadcast to give an example of a kind of synth sound we all like. In general, though we don’t really have specific musical influences that we think about – it’s more that everything you’ve ever liked or listened to is probably affecting your taste or style in some way.

How did you decide oncome up with the album title, Close It Quietly? Is there a particular meaning behind the title?

There’s not much of a story. For the first time in my life, I was having a hard time figuring out what to call this album. I decided I just wanted to name the album something off-the-cuff that I said in my daily life. I found myself saying “close it quietly” about my gate and it felt like it could be the title. It makes sense to me because it has to do with care and awareness, and it could mean a lot of things. It took about 2 months after making the record to decide on the title officially.

Did any of your songs happen to inspire the art for the album cover? How did you come up with the idea and design? (The album art is interesting, featuring a hand with marbles in its palm with a magnifying glass hovering above.)

It’s sort of in reference to the song Marbles on the album. But also I usually just have a strong visual idea for the album cover, something that just comes to me and sticks with me and makes sense to me. I had described it to my bandmates and was envisioning it as a photograph, but then Lauren (the keyboard player and graphic designer of all our merch) just drew a perfect version of it in the car on tour, and that ended up becoming the art!

Do you have a favorite song on this album, and why? and if so, why did you choose this particular song above all the others?

No, they’re all my favorites!

This album has its own distinct sound, I haven’t heard many other bands who sound like you. Do you ever find yourself being compared to any other artists/bands past or present or could you compare yourselves to any other artists/bands out there at the moment?

I think the practice of comparing musicians is silly. Everyone makes art for their own reasons and it’s all different!

Photo credit: Jackie Lee Young
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