Jonny Kosmo's new single Fool is out now! We chat to the musician about the release and more.
Image: Joseph McMurray.
LA-based artist Jonny Kosmo recently unveiled the latest track from his debut album Pastry, due June 4. The new track, Fool, was written and produced by Kosmo in collaboration with Davin Givhan (Detangler).
The track is built upon a funked-out bassline and shimmering synths, with the swelling drone of a clarinet laced throughout. Conceptually, Fool is about the balance between our many facets, and how our differing characteristics can prove to be our greatest asset. Using love and connection as the driving force towards new beginnings, the song aims to capture the shift between taking ourselves too seriously, to the humour of the human existance.
The release arrives alongside an official visual, made by Kevin Kearney and Peter Nichols (Grape Room, Banny Grove) in collaboration with Kosmo. The clip depicts the musician strolling the streets with an out-of-this-world CGI character, symbolising the fine line between humour and taking things too seriously.
Fool is out now! Read our interview with Jonny Kosmo below.
Could you tell us a bit about how you began your musical journey, and your background in music?
I began playing at a young age, taking guitar lessons from an inspirational person in my life named Fred Shepard. Mr. Shepard exuded a strong and genuine love for music. For me music has never been as much about the technical aspects but the feeling I get from it. Mr. Shepard (although an incredibly talented shredder) I think taught me most about just feeling and pouring your soul into the spill. I started writing songs in high school mostly about imaginary places and forts I would visit in the woods at boarding school. These songs were not very good.
Your new single Fool is about the balance between our many facets, and how our differing characteristics can prove to be our greatest asset. What prompted you to explore this concept on the track?
In addition to being a songwriter I am a therapist. It is here I get the privilege of witnessing and holding people’s stories with them. I consider this to be a true gift and am grateful people let me into their lives in this regard. My therapy practice and songwriting are totally reciprocal in that I find a lot of the themes I write about to be about healing and themes of change. Fool expands upon the idea that our character struggles can also be our assets if reclaimed and applied with different energy and direction.
The song's visual features some stellar CGI work! How involved were you when it came to conceptualising the video clip?
This video was truly a collaborative venture. I had some ideas for a rough narrative that Kevin Kearney helped to bring to fruition. Kevin is a master of cultivating aesthetic and vision. In planting the stone heart it awakened a new friend and creature. Peter Nichols, whose work I am obsessed with, designed and animated Kazelele (my friend). Peter is a wizard and I am so incredibly happy with what he envisioned. Working together is something I value greatly and to do this with two friends was very special.
How important are the visuals to you when it comes to portraying the stories and themes present on the songs?
I have long been captivated by music videos. I love how visual elements can help enhance and soak you in a song. However, I always want the song to come first and the imagery to support the ethos. In my videos, I hope to walk the thin line between genuine and bizarre which is where my music tends to fertilize.
What was your most memorable moment on set during filming Fool?
Hahaha I guess filming endless takes of the air guitar metal detector solo in my jelly sandals without falling over. It was more challenging than I thought it would be.
If Fool was a piece of visual art, which artwork would it be and why?
Stanley Mouse; Ice Cream Kid.
The song is taken from your forthcoming sophomore album, Pastry. What can listeners expect from the complete body of work?
Pastry is like a big cake with lots of chopped up samples and songs within songs honeyed in frosting. I think it will taste good on the ears n’ mind!
Could you tell us a bit about your creative process when writing and recording this collection of songs?
Pastry, although pop on the surface, was extremely experimental in its creation. It was the first time I dove into the sampling world which was like visiting a new planet for me. Whenever I learn something new it opens a world full of songs and creations. Songs were often created from samples of others, continually folding in on itself. There is sort of a metanarrative in its construction in that way. I recorded and collaborated a lot on this record with friends who I’m inspired by (Gracie Jackson, Tomas Dolas, Davin Givhan, Joo Joo Ashworth) which I think shines through in its honey. Lyrically the record is psychological, touching upon themes of community, spiritual metamorphous, and inherent resiliency of spirit. These landscapes are enhanced by the records architecture itself within the sampling world.
How did the album evolve and change as you were creating it, and were there any tracks left on the cutting room floor that you think might have a life in the future?
The record evolved like a sweet improvised recipe in a way, hence its name. There was lots of chopping and re-writing with sprinkles of songs leaking into other songs. This process left me with about 5 tunes left over so I definitely would like to release them at some point.
If you had to pick one song off the album to play to someone who had never heard your music to make them an instant fan, which song would it be and why?
I’d say How High. This song really represents the record and my vision as an artist. It is sort of a gospel meets Fat Boy Slim track that carries my genuine love for music and connectedness to others.
The current pandemic has obviously put a halt to touring and performing live, what are your touring plans post pandemic? If any, what can people expect from one of your live shows? Hopefully we’ll get to see you on Australian stages in the future!
I really hope to take the stage again soon!.. I miss performing so much and would love to come to Australia. I definitely want to tour the record when we can. The live performances are locally characterized by a 10 piece band of friends and we have lots of fun. Hope to see you soon!
Grateful Dead, Andre 3000, Fred Rogers and Luke Temple.
NxWorries, Thundercat, Cate le Bon.
Album that has had the most impact on you?
Grateful Dead - American Beauty.
How do you define your musical style in 3 words?
Pop, Molasses, Hope.
A release you’re most looking forward to in 2021?
Marina Allen - Candlepower
If you could create the soundtrack for any film, which one would it be?
Hannah Montana or Miley Cyrus?
Album you would listen to on repeat on a road trip?
Neil Young - Tonight’s The Night
Best concert you have been to?
Electric Light Orchestra. It blew my mind!
Last concert you went to?
Mariachi in the park
Guilty music pleasure?
If you were a Spice Girl, what would your spice nickname be?
If you could support any artist on tour, who would it be?
Alive? Herbie Hancock
Passed, Jerry Garcia Band
An artist you think has had the most influence on the music industry.
Yikes that’s hard!... But I’d probably say David Bowie.
What advice would your current self, give your future self, for a year from now?
Gratitude, love, and give forever
The moment you knew you wanted to be a musician?
Beach Boys Concert my dad took me to in 1992.