An interview about life, feelings, and music.
I first heard Frankie Cosmos back in 2016. To be honest, it was a really shitty moment in my life, and they were promoting their second album, Next Thing. The 3-minute songs of pure indie pop perfection and the beautiful lyrics by band leader Greta Kline hooked me immediately. Looking back on it, the songs of Frankie Cosmos were one of the things that helped me get over that lousy time.
Frankie Cosmos started out Greta Kline's solo project. Back in 2010, when she was about 16, she started recording songs under the alias Ingrid Superstar and uploading them to her personal Bandcamp. After dozens of tracks and growing recognition, Frankie Cosmos is now a full-fledged band and has signed with legendary label Sub Pop.
Now, the band has just released their third album, Vessel, a collection of new and old songs from the time of Kline's solo project, recorded in her bedroom and reworked to fit the band she currently performs with. Even though the band's lineup has changed, one of the project's main elements (and the one I’m most fascinated by) has remained constant: Kline’s songwriting, which explores everyday themes that range from friendship to relationships to Korean food in a witty, inventive, and honest way.
One of my favorite tracks in the album is a revisited version of one of the earliest FC recordings, “Being Alive”, which includes the phrase “being alive matters quite a bit, even when you feel like shit," which I think encompasses many of the themes of the band’s songs.
Sometimes during bad moments you lose track of what's worthwhile and worth fighting for, so we decided to ask Greta Kline three questions that we felt could give us some insight into her creative process and why being alive during bad moments is what matters.
With your music getting more attention from the media and the public, does this impact your approach to songwriting and when you read your old lyrics does it feel like you're reading an old diary?
I haven’t really changed my approach. If I didn’t write the music I wanted to, there would be no point in doing music for me. When I look back at my work it definitely feels like i'm reading an old diary. So many of the lyrics have changed meaning for me over time. That’s a big part of what I like about songwriting. I already feel differently about some of the lyrics on our new album from when I wrote them, and I’m curious to see what I will think about those lyrics a year from now after touring with them.
One thing I like about your albums is that they feel more like a collection of songs that belong together thanks to the honest focus on feelings and experiences. I find that to be true in Vessel too, do you think there’s a theme that ties the whole album together?
It’s true, I don’t really put albums together thinking about the album concept. I more often just have a collection of songs, but I have noticed some themes that show up throughout Vessel. Some of the themes on this album are: feeling disconnected from my body, being in a band, and trying to open up to people who aren’t listening. In terms of inspiration, i'm really interested in relationships between people, or between one and oneself. It’s amazing how much we can change over time, or how we can not know how we feel sometimes. I write a lot about that. It turns up in everything I write in some way.
Lastly, what do you think makes life matter quite a bit even when you feel like shit?
The fact that you can feel anything is incredible. The fact that you are on Earth, that you have a life!
Vessel is out now, and I strongly recommend that you buy it or stream it because whether you’re feeling like shit or not, it may help you treasure your feelings, the good and the bad.