Interview with Greta Kline of Frankie Cosmos

frankie_cosmosGreta Kline, aka the 21-year-old behind Frankie Cosmos, has announced a new album, Next Thing, out April 1 on Bayonet. Her single “Sinister” is now available online, and album pre-orders are available for purchase. They include a vinyl, zine, poster, lip balm and pin. WQHS got to talk to Greta this week about her music, song titles, and the lip balm in her album pre-order. Frankie Cosmos will be performing at SXSW in Austin in a couple of weeks.

WQHS: How would you want your story as an artist to be told?

Greta Kline: I started out just being a teenager recording a bunch of songs on my computer and putting them out all the time on Bandcamp. Then I formed a two-piece band – we added a drum to me playing guitar – and started playing shows and recorded a studio album. Then we slowly became a four-piece and we started touring and playing a lot. Now we have a new album coming out, so that’s the brief history!

WQHS: What got you into writing your own music?

GK: I realized that you can just make music in your house, and I hadn’t ever thought to do that until I realized other people were doing that and it was so exciting to me. Once I had the idea that I could make a recording of myself, I just started kind of messing around. So yeah, that’s how it started, just hearing music that was home-recorded by other young people.

WQHS: Do you still home-record?

GK: I still record demos at home and I do think there’s a part of that kind of recording that’s really special and different from band recording. I really want to put out more music like that in the future.

WQHS: What are some of your favorite sounds from your music?

GK: One of my favorite things I used to have is when my mom would sing with me. That’s the first time I felt like I had another band member and her voice with my voice is one of the most exciting things for me. And yeah, that was a purposeful thing, but I’ve also by mistake had a lot of sirens and honks in my songs and those are interesting too.

WQHS: What songs you would recommend to listeners to represent your sound and its development?

GK: First one you should listen to is “Reading Hell Chipmunk” – it’s on an album called Much Ado About Fucking. From there you should then skip forward and listen to a song called “Tripped Up” on Pure Suburb, and then you should do “Do I Wanna Wonder Forever” from the album Donutes and then a song from Zentropy: “My I Love You”. And then they should listen to my new album!

WQHS: How do you come up with your song titles?

GK: Sometimes it’s just like whatever I called the song in my head when I was first working on it or a theme that sparks a song.  Sometimes it’s a way in-depth process to get to the title. Sometimes it’s just what can I call this that is either hinting at the song or something more complicated that just comes to me. But also sometimes it doesn’t even matter what the song is called – sometimes I just pick a word that’s in the song a lot cause it’s easier to remember.

WQHS: What’s your favorite song title you’ve come up with?

GK: “On The Lips” – the song never says that and it’s kind of like an answer to the question of the song lyrics – “where would I kiss ya if you could kiss ya?”

WQHS: What was it like having actors as parents, and did their being in the spotlight influence your music at all? (Frankie Cosmos aka Greta Kline is the daughter of Kevin Kline and Phoebe Cates.)

GK: They were never in the spotlight when I was growing up – my mom retired to raise us and started an unrelated business. My dad was working, but he was never Brad Pitt or anything, so there wasn’t some sort of fame thing that shaped my life. I guess just having them be artists and they supporting me being artistic – piano lessons as a kid and stuff – really helped. They just view art and music as a part of life versus an extra thing.

WQHS: Do you have a favorite live performance?

GK: Every show is so different – maybe my favorite show was we played to one person in Fargo, North Dakota. The only person in the audience was the opening act and his friends and the sound guy. We were on tour with seven other people on our tour and there were four of us in one band and five of us in the other and both shows we were just playing to our friends on the tour so we just played the shows anyway. It was really cool.

WQHS: What can you tell me about the new album?

GK: It’s really different from everything we’ve ever made and it’s got some cool collaborators on it – the most collaboration I’ve ever done with my own music. Everyone had a really big influence on the sound and it sounds amazing – the vinyl is really cool, the limited edition might still be available but it looks really great and comes with a chapstick and a pin. I recommend still buying it cause the chapstick is great – I chose the flavor myself. The vinyl comes with a poster and it’s beautiful. It’s like an art piece. All the artists that worked on it made the visuals look so good. I have a copy and it just feels so good and looks so good – everyone should check it out!

WQHS: What flavor is the chapstick?

GK: Vanilla. It actually feels like you just ate candy, it’s insane. It’s not normal. It’s really crazy.

WQHS: You’ve been through Philly a few times. Do you have a favorite spot?

GK: We sometimes like to go to Philly Aids Thrift which is a cool spot.

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