(Interview conducted) By Maddie Farr ’18 and Emma Klein ‘17
On Wednesday, November 18th, we (Emma Klein and Maddie Farr) had the pleasure of sitting down with Frankie Cosmos (Greta Kline, David Maine, and Luke Pyenson) after their show at the Horn Gallery with All Dogs. They were gracious enough to take ten minutes to chat after playing an amazing hour-long set to an unusually packed house at our tiny college. We discussed astrology, the writing process, and the Justin Bieber-reptile conspiracy, among other things. Read our interview below.
Maddie: What was your first favorite band/artist when you were a kid?
Luke: Jamiroquoi [When we could not spell or recognize this name, Luke referenced the dance scene from Napoleon Dynamite. Good stuff.]
Greta: I wanna say Indigo Girls.
David: I think I was obsessed with Jeff Buckley.
Emma: What are your feelings about astrology? Not into it?
Greta: Not like, not into it. I’m just not like, into it.
Luke: Yeah, just kinda no feelings.
David: I’m into it
Emma and Maddie: What’s your sign?
David: I’m a double Taurus. Sun and Moon Taurus. Poster boy Taurus.
David: Whenever I’m like meeting a girl or something I always try to find out her sign and consult my Dad’s girlfriend. She’s a super astrology lady, she’s always like “yes or no” or “this is how it’s gonna be.”
Emma: Not gonna lie, I read my horoscope everyday. How about you guys [What’s your sign]?
Greta: I’m an Aries-Pisces cusp but I tend to not want to believe it because I read this book of Chinese astrology and it said that my boyfriend of four years and I are literally enemies, and should not go near each other at all. It was a bummer.
David: It was pretty right about my last relationship.
Maddie: I have a question for Greta. I know you write poetry as well. How do you figure out, when you’re writing, what’s a poem and what’s a song, or is the line blurred?
Greta: I think the line is blurred but often with poems it’s way more obvious when I’m writing it that it’s a poem, and with songs it’s like “I’m gonna rhyme!” or “I’m gonna make something with a rhythm.” Usually it’s a totally different process.
Emma: Do you guys write together ever or do you write individually? How does the process work?
Greta: Well David and I write lyrics in a coffee shop sometimes. But not for this project. I write all the lyrics and melodies for Frankie Cosmos on my own and then these guys come and write all their own parts to fill in the arrangement.
Emma: We were wondering about the video for “Art School,” and why Justin Bieber was your muse for that? Do you have strong feelings about him or was it an artistic choice?
Greta: Originally the director’s idea was to do One Direction but I didn’t know anything about them and so I was like “Justin Bieber is more my generation” and also I’m obsessed with how he’s a reptile. So I wanted to play off of that. And then we made a secondary video exposing me as a reptile, which you guys should check out if you haven’t seen it. It’s pretty good – the [first] video was pretty much entirely made so that we could make the second video exposing me as a reptile. [Check out the links to both vids below.]
Emma: Favorite Breakfast food?
Greta: All breakfast food.
Luke: Anything that anyone gives me to eat I’m pretty happy to eat.
Greta: I had a Dutch baby today.
David: I had a delicious vegetable soup for breakfast on tour and it was the best ever. It was just so clean and nice.
Emma: We also were wondering about your multiple names. How did your stage name come to be Frankie?
Greta: It was kind of just like a performing nickname I would sing at his [boyfriend Aaron Maine of PORCHES.] solo sets and he would introduce me as Frankie and then people just started calling me that and it became my performing name.
Emma: When did you all come aboard?
David: It was like two years ago or something? Initially the band was Greta and Aaron, who’s my brother, so I met Greta through him. And they needed a bass player and I’d never played bass before.
Emma: So you just learned the bass for this?
David: Yeah, I was like “cool let’s do it!” Because I play everything else but I don’t play the bass and so that was funny. So I hopped on bass two years ago and it’s been great.
Luke: I joined in the summer. Because Aaron left to pursue PORCHES. more undividedly. Greta asked me in January if I’d like to join Frankie and I said yes. And that’s it.
Emma: We wanted to ask you guys about Gabby and Eskimeaux. How long have you guys been friends? You are pretty close right?
Greta: Yeah! It’s funny because we pretty much only hang out when we’re on tour together. But we are really close, as I feel like people become on tour. I pretty much met her and was like “do you wanna join my band?” immediately, so we’ve been friends for about a little under two years I guess. It was a little bit after David joined so she was filling in for David on a tour. I’d known her music for many years and we grew up in the same city, but never saw each other somehow. I was aware of her and she was not aware of me.
Emma: Can you talk a little bit about the music scene in New York and what it’s like living there?
Greta: I don’t know if there’s a super solid scene necessarily. But I do think that New York is a really good place to live in as a young person who’s interested in music just because there’s more of an opportunity for all ages events and stuff like that. That’s the scene that I’m aware of and I think that’s really cool and important. But a lot places have scenes like that.
Emma: Is that how you got kind of introduced to music? Because I think you said earlier that your brother used to take you to shows?
Greta: Yeah, my brother took me to my first ROCK SHOW April 4th, 2008 at the Knitting Factory in Tribeca. I’d just turned 14, I crowd-surfed. It was a great show.
Maddie: And then were you just like “I want to do this”?
Greta: I was like “I wanna do this every weekend!” I love music…and I already liked music but that was my first live show. And the people that played that show are all now my friends.