Stay Gold, Ponyboy: An Interview with Frankie Cosmos

What started off as a simple bedroom-born online DIY music project has now led to Greta Kline, otherwise know by her stage name, Frankie Cosmos, becoming one of the most honest, relatable, and vulnerable voice for our generation. Frankie Cosmos creates raw and captivating music that speaks to us because of Kline’s wittingly truthful take on adolescence, growing up, and sometimes, not wanting to. When you listen to Frankie Cosmos, you can’t help but think out loud, “Oh, so that’s what I felt when I was growing up! Thank you, Frankie Cosmos, for putting words to my feelings!” Her music can transcend and make you feel like a big bag of mush, but in the best way possible.


Photo by Matthew James Wilson

One of the raddest things about Kline is that she’s proof that you don’t have to be extroverted to be absolutely great at what you do, even if that involves being on stage and playing in front of thousands of people. Prior to the birth of Frankie Cosmos, Kline started off her music path with the alias Ingrid Superstar and released raw, lo-fi recordings on online platforms like BandCamp. At the age of 15, Kline had already immersed herself in the local NYC DIY scene, booking shows for DIY spaces and writing for local publications. She also spent some time as the bassist for Porches (check out Anna’s interview with him here). When she took on her new stage name, Frankie Cosmos, and released her first LP, Zeontropy, in 2014, her music had quickly gained attention, and the rest is pretty much history. As someone who considers herself as an introvert, she has done all of this work that you’d think would be extremely exhausting for quiet types, and she’s done it with absolute grace and professionalism, too. Absolutely incredible!

Now, Frankie Cosmos has grown to include David Maine, Lauren Martin, Like Pyenson, and, of course, Greta Kline. Most recently, this NYC-based band has received acclaim for their second full-length album, Next Thing, from both the DIY scene and notable names such as Pitchfork, Consequence of Sound, and more. They are currently on a massive tour, taking the road by storm with iji and Big Thief. They’ll be gracing The Vera Project on Friday, October 7. Before you take that #4 bus down to The Vera, take a peek at my interview with Kline herself!

AJ: Hey Greta, thanks for chatting with us! You recently just finished all of the dates on your European tour and Seattle’s the last US show you have! How has tour been so far, and what are some of the biggest highlights from it?

Greta: Touring has been wild so far! We have been touring pretty consistently since the record came out and have had so many great times its hard to choose…on this past Europe tour we went to a lot of really beautiful places—I think my favorite highlight might have been our show in Utrecht because we got to play with DC Schneider, my long distance besties. It was amazing.

AJ: You folks have played in Seattle previously—when you’re in this city, are there certain things you like to do or see?

Greta: I haven’t had too much of a chance to roam around Seattle, but we have always played at Vera Project and I love playing there!

AJ: While you folks are on the road (or airplane, for that matter) for tour, who are some of the bands/musicians you listen to? Who is on your on-the-road playlist?

Greta: On this past tour I was listening to a lot of Squarehead, Warehouse, Angel Olsen, Joanna Newsom, and Dirty Projectors.

AJ: I can imagine that while touring must be exciting, it can also probably be extremely exhausting. You mentioned in another interview that you tend to be shy, and as a fellow shy person myself, I feel like I’d be overwhelmed at times. So, I was wondering, what do you folks do in terms of self care or relaxing to help you regenerate and stay energized for the rest of the tour?

Greta: The hardest thing for me is having to be social almost constantly the entire time we are on tour. Sometimes I can handle it, but I wear myself out a lot. I’ve had to learn to allow the times that I want to be silent or alone, and not care so much about coming off as rude. I just can’t be “on” all the time so have accepted that about myself.

AJ: You folks have played with a variety of other great bands like iji and Porches. Are there some people you would want to collab with or go on tour with in the future?

Greta: There are so many bands I would love to go on tour with. I have been so lucky to go on some amazing tours with so many cool artists—All Dogs, Girlpool, Eskimeaux, Anna McClellan, Yowler, Warehouse, and more. We’re all super excited about the upcoming tour with iji!

AJ: Let’s talk about “Young.” You folks recently released a killer music video for it, and you described it as your own “very personal pop song.” What was the motive behind the music video?

Greta: I just always thought it would be fun to make a video for Young, and so just trusted my friend Eliza Doyle to make whatever she wanted. I liked the idea of me not being the star of the video, and having it showcase the star quality of people who are totally unrelated to the music.

AJ: Kind of in relation to that, what is one song that each of you secretly love that no one else would know about?

David: Heart of Glass by The Bad Plus

Greta: Walk Through The Fire from the musical episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Luke: Virtual Insanity by Jamiroquai

Lauren: What’s Love Got To Do With It by Tina Turner

AJ: Your latest album, br-010-frankie-cosmos-next-thing-square‘Next Thing’ is incredible! From listening to the album, it seems that a lot of the lyrics are based from personal experience, which can be a very vulnerable place to be in. What song are you most proud of from this entire album?

Greta: I think I’m most proud of myself for writing “O Dreaded C Town.” That song was a long time coming.


AJ: So I’ve heard that not only do you play and write music, but you also books tours and have done tour managing, which, by the way, is amazing. From all of the music-related work you’ve done, what parts are the most challenging, and what parts are the most rewarding?

Greta: I used to book our tours, but now we have a booking agent. It’s a huge relief and really nice to have someone else handling it now, but in the past it was definitely very rewarding to book a tour and then actually go on the tour and live in this thing that you spent so long putting together. I have always tour managed our trips in America and it’s pretty easy. I like being in touch with the people running the shows before we get there, so I feel more connected when I actually get to the show and meet them.

AJ: Obviously it’s been a very busy past couple of months for y’all, but when Frankie Cosmos is not playing music or on tour, what are y’all doing?

Greta: Our touring is going to die down a bit starting mid-November, and we are hoping to finish arranging our next record!


Photo by Matthew James Wilson

Aj: Last but not least, quite a few of your songs pertain to the topic of youth—so with that, do you have any words of advice for KXSU readers about being young?

Greta: Stay gold, Ponyboy.

In a world full of fast-paced, often very stoic living, I find myself extra thankful for artists like Frankie Cosmos for promoting the idea that it is a-okay to soak up your adolescence and speak your honest truths, no matter how awkward or uncomfortable that may be. Thank you for making talking about feelings and being introverted cool again!

Don’t miss Frankie Cosmos with iji and Sundae Crush at The Vera Project on Friday, October 7. Peep our pal Maria’s preview of this epic show here. Until then, stay gold, Ponyboy.


APRIL JINGCO | So emotional, but that’s okay! | KXSU Digital Media Director


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