“Everyone’s taste is diverse so it makes sense that our records are too… Blast Off feels like the best distillation of everything we try to do. There’s still people discovering it now, which is great to see in this age of disposable culture.”
Since discovering the ‘relentlessly modern’ Blast Off – a deep blend of squiggly space-synth, fidgety funk, jazz chops & all manner of influences, Cosmogramma have been desperate to find a space for Paper Tiger at our night at Gwdihw, and not soon enough, they join us on Sat Oct 14th.
Listening to the record, we wanted to grasp more of what it took to make and discover the myriad of influences behind it, so we chatted to the band ahead of the show:
Q: You guys make music that seems to be coming from so many different places, both in terms of genre and mood, do they come from each of you having specific influences when you’re writing?
We write things in a variety of ways – some tunes start off as sketches of beats and then we play around with them with the live band, or sometimes it’s the other way around (we improvise something as a band, record it then use it as a starting point for a production). Everyone’s taste is diverse so it makes sense that our records are too, although we like to think that the band has a coherent overall sound. For me the common thread is something with a groove, whatever that means…
Q: You’ve been around before and during a period where jazz has become seemingly more influential and a lot of nu-jazz bands are getting hype – have you guys noticed your stuff being appreciated differently at all in the last 18 months?
I’ve never really thought of us as a jazz band, although a few reviews of our last record picked up on the jazz thing. Maybe the emergence of that scene has affected how people perceive our sound – we don’t really have any noodling solos, although there are elements of improvisation I suppose. We do all mostly come from a jazz background and listen to a lot of it obviously. It does feel like there’s been a bit of an upturn in people’s interest in what we’re doing recently, although I couldn’t be sure why that is.
Q: It’s been a year or so since Blast Off now – have you guys got a different appreciation a little while after it came out?
Everyone’s still really happy with the album and it definitely feels like the best distillation so far of everything we’re trying to do. There’s still people discovering it now, which is great to see in this age of disposable culture. Obviously it’s not perfect, but we’re careful not to get too obsessed with tiny details – I’ve got plenty of friends who’ve made amazing music that never actually ends up coming out. For us it makes more sense to just make a new record that improves upon the last one, and keep progressing that way.
Q: How’s working with Wah Wah 45s been? They have an amazing variety on their label – is that helpful, being in a place that is kinda similar in their eclecticism?
The label has shown incredible faith in us right from the beginning – I honestly doubt that we would still be going without them. We’ve certainly developed and improved so much with their support, and it’s important for us to work with people that don’t worry about pigeonholing things, so in that way their varied roster facilitates that. It definitely puts our music in a more accessible context too, as I know we’re not always the easiest sell!
Q: You guys are rooted in a very strong scene in Leeds – how has that helped your development as artists – are promoters & venues supportive there?
Having such a prestigious music school means there’s a constant turnover of musicians, venues and events, which really helps to keep things fresh. For such a small city, the scene is really diverse and was essential for us getting started. Rehearsal space is cheap and plentiful, and there’s always going to be an audience for what you’re doing, no matter how weird it is.
Q: What’s the most interesting venue you’ve played at home & abroad?
We’ve done a few festivals in Europe which is always great. I went and DJed in an abandoned hotel next to the river in Krakow last year, that was pretty amazing!
Q: Finally, on a more cheesy note – what’s your dream lineup to be part of?
Kanye West (with his Yeezus tour mountain), Parliament-Funkadelic, Run The Jewels, Jaga Jazzist, The Roots, MF DOOM & Madlib, Battles and us. We’ll play first though and get it out the way. Mr Scruff can play the afterparty.