Author: Julia Olson
Frankie Cosmos is the perfect fit for the fickle moods of Seattle Springtime. Walking to class under the clouds? Maybe throw on a little “Buses Splash with Rain.” How about a track perfect for that moment when a suddenly sunny-blue sky greets you while walking through the dog park? Well that’s easy, “Outside with the Cuties” is the clear choice here. You see, Frankie Cosmos’ Greta Kline has gone through a great deal of growing since her musical endeavors started via Bandcamp moniker Ingrid Superstar years back. Fast-forward to 2018 and Greta + beloved bandmates are playing Neumos in the very same cloudy/sunny Seattle that houses Sub Pop, aka the record label parents for their recently released LP Vessel. This latest installment in the Frankie Cosmos discography certainly showcases both the storied songwriting of Kline, as well as the band’s great capacity for growth both as people and musicians. KXSU got to chat with Greta RE: Vessel, recording, changing and beyond—check it out while listening to the new album for a curated experience ya?
KXSU: Tell me about Vessel; the concept, the album name, the song?
GRETA KLINE: A vessel can be empty or full, you can put something into it or take something out of it, it holds possibility and expectation. It might just be a shell or it might be a temple. The song is mostly about playing music with other people.
KXSU: What was the recording process like for Vessel? And how has your process evolved since your Bandcamp days?
GK: Over about two years I wrote most of the songs and the band all worked together to arrange them between tours (and even tried out playing some of them live). Before recording, I had about 5 more new songs that I wanted on the album and we learned/arranged a handful of them in a couple days. Then we went up to Hunter Davidsohn’s studio Business District Recording in upstate New York, and tracked all the drums, bass, rhythm guitar, lead vocals, and some 2nd guitar parts in about 2 days. Then we all met up a couple months later to finish the album in NYC at Gravesend Recordings with Julian Fader & Carlos Hernandez too. There we did the keys, more 2nd guitar and harmonies and some guest parts. In the old days I would just make demos and upload them on the internet instantly before showing them to anyone.
KXSU: What’s been the most challenging/rewarding aspect of working with a label?
GK: The most rewarding thing is just that it’s so nice to not have to worry about the logistics of producing physical releases— if I hadn’t started working with labels I would still only be releasing music digitally for sure. Working with a team allows me to focus more on what’s important to me, which is writing. The only challenging thing for me is having so much time devoted to promoting one record, and viewing it as a product.
KXSU: What usually prompts you to sit down and write a song? Do you write regularly or write with a specific emotion/idea fresh in mind?
GK: Usually when I sit to write or finish a song, it’s because I have a bunch of ideas brewing that I need to organize, or a feeling I need to address internally!
KXSU: When performing an old song live, do you ever feel differently than when you wrote it?
GK: I always feel differently, every time! The songs are always changing for me, and as I get older I feel so distant from some of the original meanings to the point that it sometimes feels like playing a cover.
KXSU: Tell me about your collective project Lexie, what has this project meant for you as the Frankie Cosmos project develops?
GK: It’s just another place to put my creative energy. When FC is off tour we play Lexie shows or work on new stuff.
KXSU: One piece of advice for Bandcamp artists everywhere?
GK: Make what you want to make. Never expect to feel satisfied, and just keep making stuff.
KXSU: Most memorable concert you’ve ever seen?
GK: Joanna Newsom!
KXSU: If you had to pack up and move to Seattle but the only properties available were the Space Needle or Jeff Bezos’s new Amazon balls, which would you live in?
GK: I’d live in the Sub Pop office, in a doggy crate.
JULIA OLSON | I wanna go dancing | KXSU Senior Music Reporter