Frankie Cosmos on “Vessel”

Bodily Expectations

Jun 14, 2018 Photography by Angel Ceballos Web Exclusive
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With wisdom beyond her years, Greta Kline of Frankie Cosmos has made a name for herself as both an economic and impactful songwriter. On her latest album, Vessel, Kline shifts her lens from describing physical places to describing connections of a more abstract, mind-body nature.

"I was examining my relationship to bodies and movement as one, this idea of bodily expectations," explains Kline about the album's background. "A vessel, like a body, can either be empty of full. You can put something into it or take something out of itit's all about your relationship with that vessel, where you're standing, that can make it either just a shell or something more."

Conceived mostly on the Next Thing tour in 2016, much of the music on Vessel (recorded with her bandbassist/vocalist David Maine, keyboardist/vocalist Lauren Martin, and drummer Luke Pyenson) is a testament to Kline's musical maturity: the songs developed naturally and were kept fresh by not being played live on tour. "We were so excited because the songs were so new," says Kline. "A lot of them are first takesthey feel really alive."

This heightened awareness for her songwriting process (what it means to make an album, the artistic decisions such as what to include/not include on a tracklist) is something to which Kline has given considerable thought, but on Vessel these decisions seem more conscious. "I write tons of songs and the ones that I remain excited about are the ones that stick. I'll trash a song, but if a month later I get the melody stuck in my head, I'll decide maybe that's worth revisiting; maybe it's ready to be released into the world." This approach to her craft means Kline's music is both organic and incredibly trim.

Kline doesn't waste any time when making her music. Very few of her tracks exceed three minutes. On why she prefers short songs to long ones, Kline simply says, "I would always rather just get a taste of something and then have it be over. I like conciseness, and for me, I don't like to repeat words if it's not having some kind of effect."

This complex simplicity to her music managed to find audiences way back in 2011 on Bandcamp, when Kline was just 17. A string of lo-fi recordings (released under various names, most notably Ingrid Superstar), established Kline as a mainstay in the New York DIY scene. She played bass in the group Porches, organized her own DIY shows with friends, and released her debut studio album, Zentropy, in 2014. With Frankie Cosmos, Kline gets to manage many aspects of the group herselfshe books supporting bands (many of whom are friends) and has been known to sell merch before shows.

Yet, Kline doesn't take much notice of her impact on the DIY scene. "For a lot of people, they didn't think that they could make music or that there was space for them to make music, until they hear someone who isn't super trained in making music. And there were so many musicians that opened that gate for me, it's funny to think I'm doing the same for others. I want every person to have that moment of discovering some art made by an amateurish person and being inspired."

Kline doesn't necessarily see the impact of her music just yet, but maintains that music should be accessible to and for all. "If people are becoming encouraged because they heard Frankie Cosmos, I think that's sick." 

www.frankiecosmosband.com

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