The second leg of our 20th anniversary mini tour is almost upon us, and as we prepare to celebrate with fellow vicennials The Fades, Jemma Freeman & The Cosmic Something and The Burning Feathers at The Lexington this Saturday (tickets here) we caught up with dream rock outsiders Jemma Freeman & The Cosmic Something to find out more about what to expect from their set.
Who’s in the band and what do they play?
The band is Jem on guitar and main vocals, Samuel Nicholson on bass guitar, sci-fi sound effects and backing vocals, Jason Ribeiro on pots and pans and backing vocals.
How would you describe your sound to someone who’s not heard you before?
Jem: Fugazi fronted by Madonna via Television, David Bowie and X-Ray Spex.
Who are some of your biggest influences and how have they affected your approach to making music?
Jason: 90s band Morphine will forever hold a special place in my creative heart, I feel like there’s a bit of them in everything I do. A trio with just drums, sax and a two string slide bass they were masters of moody grooves and lyrical landscapes and had a very distinct identity.
I will also always cite master drummer Dave King from The Bad Plus as a constant reminder that playing music is fun and it’s ok to smile and look like you’re having a good time..!
Who are your favourite current artists and what do you like about them?
Jason: I went to see Louis Cole and Genevieve Artadi in London not long ago, their joint band Knower as well as their respective solo projects manage to blend very sophisticated harmonies and rhythms with a kind of lo-fi aesthetic and humour which works fantastically well.
Sam: I’m a big fan of Hamish Hawk – as a fellow musician from Edinburgh, it has been a joy to see them take off over the past couple of years – warm, confident indie pop with excellent lyricism and a unique stage presence. Jason and I also caught Black Midi at the Village Underground earlier this year and it was unbelievably motivating.
What do you enjoy most about playing live?
Sam: There are many reasons why I probably shouldn’t enjoy playing live – when I don’t have an instrument in my hand the thought of drawing any attention to myself (let alone being vulnerable or attempting to share my imagination with others) is a terrifying prospect. But there’s something about this ritual that lets me get over that and find power in it despite that. It’s the only act of defiance against my tendencies that I know how to wield and to do it together with friends is one of the most special feelings in the world.
The best of these experiences often involve time travel. When we are lucky enough to reach ‘the place’ there’s nothing comparable in my mind – I rarely manage to remember much of it because of the all-consuming feeling that takes over. It’s the closest to presence I will ever achieve in my life I think.
What makes the perfect gig?
Jason: It’s hard to say really, each one is so different and there’s an infinite number of variables and forces at work on a given night but I know that when everything just magically aligns and the show blooms into a collective experience greater than the sum of it’s parts then that’s the perfect gig right there
Sam: Firstly i would be remiss if I didn’t speak practically – inclusivity! There’s nothing cool about inaccessibility or discomfort for those attending. Any attempt to justify this with ‘vibe’ doesn’t fly. Art can create discomfort all on it’s own – the venue doesn’t need to help with that mission statement.
Aside from the obvious above, i think it’s actually quite an elusive thing – you can lay it all out and plan it so that the gig gods may visit but they won’t always stop by. Sometimes they visit the o2 other times they bless a coffee shop in Folkestone.
When did you first come across Joyzine & what connection do you have to the site?
Jem: it’s felt like something that’s always been there, ever since I started playing music in London 20 years ago!
You’ve been so incredibly supportive of The Cosmic Something right from the get go, giving us video premieres and sharing our music far and wide and giving thoughtful and generous reviews. Thank you for spreading the joy! X
What were you doing 20 years ago?
I was probably recovering from an after party from my first band ‘The Fucks’ in my unheated room in Surbiton whilst at uni studying fine art. Playing mangled vintage guitars and wondering how I’d pay for my next hot meal having spent our gig fee on 2 for £5 wine on the way home from playing the metro bar with half our year group in tow.
We’d bunk the train fares, get on the ‘free’ bendy bus and then have everyone on the cheap list.
Aside from this gig, what else do you have going on/coming up soon?
We have a tour in October with TV Death and we are supporting Chewyshe!
Brighton Hope and Ruin 28th September
Bristol Thunderbolt 13th October
Cambridge Blue Moon 14th
London Old Blue Last 16th
Stockton on Tees Georgian Theatre 18th
North Shields 19th Engine Rooms 19th
Glasgow Flying Duck 20th
There will be special limited edition tapes available with hand created covers containing unreleased demos and rarities! Numbered hand made lino prints of the band by John Lee Bird and some very tasty new tees with our new logo designed by Heidi Heelz!
Club Fade & Joyzine’s 20th Birthday Bash takes place on Saturday 16th September at The Lexington. Tickets, priced at £11 + booking fee are available via WeGotTickets here.
Jemma Freeman & The Cosmic Something feature on our 20th Birthday compilation with an exclusive new track ‘Hoping for a Miracle’ – get your copy via Bandcamp
Follow Jemma Freeman & The Cosmic Something on Facebook
Interview by Paul Maps
Photograph by Suzi Corker