sun 17/12/2017

theartsdesk Q&A: Musician Cosmo Jarvis | reviews, news & interviews

theartsdesk Q&A: Musician Cosmo Jarvis

theartsdesk Q&A: Musician Cosmo Jarvis

Devonian polymath chats about gay pirates, guerrilla film-making and the struggle for recognition

Cosmo Jarvis, going his way

Cosmo Jarvis (b 1989) was born in New Jersey but grew up in Devon. He has produced two albums, Humasyouhitch/Sonofabitch (2009) and Is The World Strange or Am I Strange? (2011), that combine incisive lyricism, goofy humour, rap, rock, terrace-chant choruses, studio orchestration and an unlikely fusion of musical styles, sometimes more jovially eccentric than hip. His highest-profile song is "Gay Pirates", a musical hoedown about love on the high seas that garnered Stephen Fry as a vocal fan. Jarvis has also developed a parallel role as a film-maker, corralling a group of Devonshire friends into making a series of observational shorts, usually comic vignettes concerning suburban small-town youth. These have been a YouTube success and a micro-budget debut feature, The Naughty Room, awaits post-production completion.

theartsdesk Q&A usually interviews those who have made it, often at a professional peak or looking back over an illustrious career. Cosmo Jarvis is at a very different stage, a huge talent often rejected for not fitting the usual niches available to contemporary pop artists. He consequently offers a different perspective on being a musician in 2011. I meet him in his PR person’s London office. He does not have the usual demeanour of a musician. Well built, with a shambling gait, he has something of the farm hand about him. This, however, belies a driven, active, candid mind, as very soon becomes clear.

THOMAS H GREEN: You grew up in Totnes in Devon – what sort of place is that?

COSMO JARVIS: It was kind of original, laid-back, semi-country. It felt like a village town. When we first moved there we lived in these council flats. Before that I lived in this hamlet called Membland, just outside a village called Newton Ferrers, really out in the sticks. It was good to grow up there because it was all just trees. The building we lived in was an ex-tennis court, owned by these really rich people, that they converted into flats. There were a lot of single mothers but me and my brother Fletcher were the only two brothers there. We did cause some shit, not bad stuff, just making fires. We got into trouble and the owners said we had to leave. The first place in Totnes was temporary housing. Totnes, for me, was the most urban place I’d ever lived. I was shitting myself, I wouldn’t leave the house. I just sat on my computer, made stupid short films and music and smoked loads of cigarettes, did the usual hermit sort of stuff.

Tell us about your family background. You were born in New Jersey…

My mum was born to first generation Armenian-Americans who lived in New Jersey. Her father was a doctor, they had some money. There were three of them, a good family. She was an artist. My dad was a living-out-of-a-canvas-bag boat guy. He was in the merchant navy then. I guess he fucked her and then, eventually, they got married. He was working on a boat in the Caribbean. Apparently they couldn’t find work so he convinced my mum to come to England so he could study maritime law at Plymouth to get some dough. I was only there less than a year. I still have lots of family in New York so playing there recently I met lots of them which was interesting. My dad now lives in Europe and works on boats with his new wife. He’s a captain for other people’s boats, people who can afford boats. I still see him whenever I can. My mum’s living in Totnes.

Your mum has an American accent, then, but you don’t?

No, no, it’s useful for acting, though.

Like in your short film Draw where you play a preposterous wannabe American gangster hanging about a suburban Devon backwater, selling marijuana.

I think a really good way to get better at acting is to be a voice actor. I wish I could be a voice actor. I think I’d be pretty good at it because I’ve always done voices.

Watch the short film Draw 

Did you have a Devonshire accent when you were younger?

I don’t think you can have the real Devonshire accent unless you’re over 40. Not a lot of kids really have, or they don’t have it very thickly. My dad’s English is well spoken. He got offered [voice] work when he was in America to do adverts but he didn’t do it because he’s an idiot. Both my parents were not well integrated into the whole English thing. Mum always bitches about England but it’s cheaper than America so she stays – and my dad just hates England, always has, and hates the English.

What about you and England?

I’m not proud of it. Obviously there are worse places. There is a weird identity crisis going on with the place. I don’t know. A lot of people who are patriotic about England don’t really know why, they just pick whatever they need to justify their patriotism.

One of my favourite songs of yours is "Mummy’s Been Drinking" from your debut album, a vicious rage at an irresponsible mother. I presume this isn’t an autobiographical song?

Oh no, it is. My mum gets really fucked off with me saying stuff but I’m not going to lie. She wasn’t an alcoholic but some people really change when they drink – she’s one of them. You never wanted to rip somebody’s throat out so badly in your life. I did bad things too, in retaliation. When my dad left when I was 13-14, I lived with him for a year. Then she got custody and I had a bit of supervised contact with him, and that was all fucked up, then he had to leave for financial reasons because the legal battle was going on with my mum. I wasn’t going to leave my brother so I said, “Whatever the courts say, I’m staying in [my mum’s] flat.” If I wasn’t around my brother would have definitely turned out different – not that I had any influence on him growing up. It was difficult.

I played a bit of piano at school but it was only at secondary school I realised – this sounds ridiculous – that you didn’t have to be older to play electric guitar

According to the song you and your mum had swearing matches…

Yeah, it got ugly. I gave her stitches in her head.

Christ!

I’m sure I was no picnic to live with during those times. I’m not trying to justify it but I was 10 years old when the whole thing started and it was just this battle forever until somebody had to leave, then we had this situation which you just had to roll with.

How did you start making music? Was that when you first went to Totnes?

I got there and I didn’t have any mates. By that time a lot of my friends had become hugely aware that if they were going to come to my house they were going to witness some shit, uncomfortable things. I find it very difficult to let things go and so did my mum, so anybody there was going to see things nobody really needs to see or hear. If you come round your mate’s house to make a little Jackass movie or something, you don’t need it. From that point of view, I wanted to spend a lot of time at other people’s houses in neutral territory rather than a place society tells me is my home, but which is just a place I dump my shit. At first, I just stayed in my room as much as I could. Gradually, later on, I started to make a few friends nearby. I had this computer and I’d already started screwing around with this free programme called Ulead Video Studio. I got pretty good on that fast, made little stop-motion things, made the worst short films you’ve ever seen.

Watch the video for "Problems"

You weren’t making music at that point?

No, I actually got into music really late compared to a lot of my friends who were, like, “There’s this band System of a Down, they’re really cool,” and I’d never heard of them. Gradually I borrowed a few CDs and I already liked what my dad listened to and what my mum listened to. My dad was really into soundtracks, but also the Grateful Dead, The Stones. I didn’t know who the fuck I was listening to but I knew I liked it. I played a bit of piano at school but it was only at secondary school I realised – this sounds ridiculous – that you didn’t have to be older to play electric guitar. I had this mate called Dong who played electric guitar and I learnt little bits off him.

Were you a troublemaker at school?

I was considered to be a troublemaker but I didn’t consider myself to be a troublemaker. I liked to argue but not when it was wrong. I didn’t like the way the younger teachers abused their power just because their age was closer to mine. I hated the fact there were students who learnt exam question answers instead of actual learning. In science I hated that the teacher wouldn’t tell me in depth why I had to accept what he was saying, the fact that he’d just tell me, “That’s all you need to know.” I just couldn’t deal with it. There were all these different groups at school and at lunchtimes I used to do stunts, dumb shit…

Like?

I did a [skateboard move] 50/50 grind down a railing on a guitar and smashed the guitar, just for a laugh. We’d have boxing matches. I used to urinate in my mouth, just because it was gross, funny, a way to entertain people. There were a few of us, gradually the crew got bigger. It snowed one time and I got suspended. I broke into the astro-turf during lesson time and drew, literally, a 200ft penis in the snow. The whole science block was watching. It was amazing. I got suspended but even the guy who suspended me was laughing. But then I got suspended for bad stuff. When I started to dabble with multitrack recording I recorded a song – I suppose it was bullying but I didn’t think of it that way – about this girl, then I brought it in on CD and it spread, and the principal heard and I got suspended for that.

Vicious, mocking songs?

Yeah.

How do you feel about that now?

I don’t know, I don’t feel bad because the girl’s still a bitch.

Did you stay in school until you were 16?

Yeah, I used to go to Ivybridge Sports College, then I tried three months in the sixth form at Totnes school but they asked me to leave because I wasn’t learning anything and something happened, there was an incident, I ended up going through a teacher’s parked car window, just fucking around.

What? How did that happen?

I don’t know, I honestly can’t remember how it happened.

How can you not remember? Were you drinking or something?

No, no, no, my memory’s fucked because I have a lot of hypoglycemic attacks and every time I have a bad one I pass out, smash my head. I lose quite a bit. People will tell me I’ve done stuff and I won’t remember it at all. In some ways it’s a good thing because the things I naturally wouldn’t remember I have a reason for not remembering, rather than being impolite and ignorant. It happens a lot, especially on tour. I was in Holland once, and had a bad one, I didn’t even know I was in Holland, I bit through my tongue, the whole thing went septic and I couldn’t sing. I have scars all over me. As much as you try and prevent these attacks, they are, to some extent, unavoidable because there are so many variables in the human body. How are you supposed to control it?

Don’t you use insulin?

Yeah, but the thing is you can test your sugar but there’s no way it can let you know if [your sugar level is] on the way up or on the way down. If you’re [sugar’s] high you give yourself a shitload of insulin. You want to get low so you don’t go blind and lose your penis, but then you wake up in the morning and you’ve slept into a hypo, try to go to the kitchen and – bang! – you’re on the floor.

I used to go out with a girl who had Type 1 diabetes – she used to drink and all sorts of things but rarely went into a bad one…

Drinking can bring it down, up and down, I’ve never met one diabetic who doesn’t party a little bit, otherwise there’s no point really. That’s a dumb thing to say. Maybe if I was Halle Berry – she’s a Type 1 diabetic – and I had the health care, the career and everything that was cool, I’d say, “I’m going to be a good diabetic from now on,” but I can’t. Not that everything may be cool for her – I don’t even know her. When I was growing up the only way you could maintain any kind of social position was smoking weed, drinking, whatever was happening at the time. No, that’s bollocks, actually.

Your films portray a netherworld of rural suburbia – do they give a feel for the area you grew up in?

I think a lot of it comes from the lack of anything. Everybody there has an opinionated manner based on what they see where they live. It’s just a fucked-up mixture of chasing pop culture but also having to be very realistic about the fact you live in Devon and there’s seagulls and sheep and pregnant teenagers and really, really closed-minded wankers.

I prefer working with amateurs than working with real actors because the actors I’ve met are mostly knobheads

Is it a macho culture?

I went to a sports school, Ivybridge, and there was a lot of that, like if you weren’t a rugby player you weren’t dogshit. I wasn’t a rugby player but I did play rugby, concrete rugby. There was a concrete tennis court and at lunchtime loads of us would just get together and play rugby on this concrete and it was so bloody, but it was some of the best fun I’ve ever had.

It sounds like Fight Club.

It felt like it. It happened for a month solid but then it just fizzled out. I don’t know why.

Probably because everyone was irreparably smashed up.

Down in Devon it’s very easy to be the king of your town, and if you’re prepared to be that and stay there, then you’ve got it made. People who don’t have that mentality are fucked because, even if you’re capable of much more, you’re still under these fucking rednecks. It was quite frustrating.

Those sort of communities used to be based around a pub but that seems to have died off a bit. Was it more the street for you?

Absolutely. We used to hang around a child’s playboat at night by the river. No other kids played in it because it was so lame. We’d hang round there, smoke cigarettes, drink. There was a tree area down town where nobody hung about and we’d light fires. In some ways it was a respectful social arrangement. We were 15, 16, 17 and I made a really amazing group of friends. We’d do that, go to school, that was all we did. Those who were going to get girlfriends, have kids at a young age, they did that, they disappeared, that stripped off a layer, that was most of them, but I didn’t.

You make your films with a bunch of mates, amateur actors. How do you direct them?

They have very strong characters and, at first, I cast them by type. I prefer working with [amateurs] than working with real actors because the actors I’ve met are mostly knobheads. They put this thing on it that doesn’t need to be there. I employed a few girl actors once for an old music video and I won’t do it again. If anybody wants to act, they can, so long as they’re given the right direction and can work in a way that’s comfortable for them.

Is improvisation a lot of it?

I script it out. We do a version how I’ve scripted it out, then we’ll do a version where we take turns but we know where we have to get to.

Watch the short film Bait, Locate and Confiscate

The main person you play against in your films is Dave Egan. Is he one of your closest buddies?

Yes, I live with him and another guy down in Paignton. My Mum lives [in Totnes] so I can’t fucking stay there. He was working as a KP in a kitchen but me and him just want to be actors and make funny films.

The pair of you have a little bit of Kevin Smith’s Jay and Silent Bob thing going on.

I watched Dogma a long time ago and saw an interview with Kevin Smith talking about his movies on a DVD. His whole attitude to making movies is exactly what we think. It is the most important thing in the universe, definitely. It’s not really. But it is. All of [my friends/actors] are so hard-working. It’s weird because in their own lives and jobs they’re not really like that but if I call them up at 10 and say, “I’ve got to make a presentation for the album – are you up for doing something in the alley?” they’ll be there. I just regret I can’t pay them very much. On [micro-budget feature film] The Naughty Room I was giving Dave £30 a day.

How do you raise money to do these things?

My drummer now is called Harry Meads and he used to be in this band called The Days and they were on Atlantic. He hated it, he tells me now. I liked their singles but when I put them on in the van he just beats the shit out of me. He showed me a music video they made and it cost £40,000, and I was like, “How did that cost £40,000?” My videos mostly cost a grand. The most expensive one was “Gay Pirates” which cost £4000. I have investors and, because I make things a bit cheaper there’s a bit of money left over. I wrote the script and said, “Can I please make this with the leftover money?” They said, “Yeah, OK,” and The Naughty Room has ended up costing £10,000 so far.

I saw a very rough cut of it. What gave you the idea for the story, about a lad domestically imprisoned away from his local community and peers?

Not really sure. I just started writing it. I made a short film a long time ago and it was a scene with this odd kid in this bathroom and I just thought about the story behind it. I guess I found between myself and others we could piece together a narrative. It was originally three and a half hours - I made my friends watch it and they wanted to kill me. The new cut is better.

What are you going to do with it?

If it’s a piece of shit, then I won’t do anything with it. I’d like to get it to the South By South West Film Festival just to see what they think of it. The problem is that no matter how much you justify the compromises that have to be made to make it, it doesn’t matter, it’s either a decent film or it’s not. Making it was interrupted constantly. I’d go and make a music video, come back and the actors had cut their hair or got a tan. There was no production manager apart from my 19-year-old little brother Fletcher.

What’s your priority, acting or music?

I’ve always embraced strangers. I value relationships with them a hell of a lot more than people I should be having relationships with

I’ve done fuck-all acting other than the work I give myself but it seems to me to be the only way I can continue to call myself an actor. I have no formal training whatsoever but I know that there’s a chance I could make some pretty cool shit. Music’s just obvious to me. Even if I was making a film I’d be making the music for it so it’s always there, one way or another. Music’s kind of just a side effect of being alive.

What was the first outside attention you received? Was it for the music?

Yeah, yeah, yeah, it was MySpace. When I lived in Totnes I made little stupid things and I’d post them up on MySpace. I wrote a song called “I Wish I Was an Emo” a long time ago. People in Totnes started hearing about it. Often a lot of the songs would relate to people in Totnes and they’d share it round and burn it on CD. Nothing massive at all. Internet feedback is the best because these are people who are nothing like you so it’s a good way to find out if your ideas have any potential. I’ve always embraced strangers. I value relationships with them a hell of a lot more than people I should be having relationships with.

Is MySpace how Mark Jones, MD of Wall of Sound Records who released your debut album, got hold of you?

I don’t know how the fuck that happened. Mark Jones was the first person up here [London] to say that he got it but it all went really badly tits up with that. I still don’t really know why, all I know is that nothing happened with that first album.

You release your own stuff now on your label 25th Frame. Why’s it called that?

When I first started making MySpace videos, for a while it was called Cosmo Has No Girlfriend Productions, then it was called Fartboat, and then very early on it was called 25th Frame because I wanted to sound more legitimate.

Watch the video for "Gay Pirates"

“Gay Pirates” raised your profile, though, especially when Stephen Fry tweeted about it. How many of his three million followers transferred their affections to you?

I don’t know but it made a huge difference. Having people who’d never heard of me give their opinions was great, it was kind of validation.

It’s like a folk shanty that’s been around for donkey's years. My eight-year-old daughter loves it although she isn’t so keen on the long instrumental passage at the end of the album version.

The thing I’ve been noticing is the way different ages listen to music. I think that’s my dad rubbing off. You know “Dark Star” by the Grateful Dead? I could happily sit down and listen to that and so could he. He’s one of those guys who can’t just put a bit of music on, he has to put it on to listen to it as if he was reading a book. I have a bit of that. Older guys at gigs like the instrumental passages but the young people, I see the bored looks on their faces when I play a solo in the middle of “Talking Song” or something.

Why do so many unlikely genres pop up in your music? Why don’t you just write whiny acoustic troubadour stuff like so many of your peers?

If I’ve got a song idea I just see a genre as being a tool. You can employ it to best suit whatever message or mood, to try and convey to whoever you want to be listening, and you might not want certain people to listen. Unfortunately you can’t do that and still have a big following. My manager’s always saying, “You need to have some kind of consistency.” I’ve dicked around for two albums now and it hasn’t proved that lucrative for the people who’ve chosen to work with me, so the next album will have no rap.

Was a double album for your debut Humasyouhitch/Sonofabitch a wise move in retrospect?

The reason for it was I had all these songs from way before that I just didn’t want to see thrown away. I knew that if I left them any longer I’d hate them and wouldn’t want to sing them. At the same time, there were people hearing them for the first time and saying they liked them. To me, logically, if someone else might like them, better put them out before they’re irrelevant to me.

So did anybody hear that album?

Not really. It fizzled. It got bad reviews, too.

“Gay Pirates” and other bits of your work, notably the short film Swingers, casually, jovially approach issues to do with underlying male sexuality and the unwillingness of men to talk about it. Is that something you chose to do or just something that comes out naturally in your character?

I think it’s probably something that naturally comes out in my character but at the same time it’s good, as actors, to do that because once you get over the fact that it should feel uncomfortable, it can become funny.

Watch the short film Swingers

The misconception is that you are gay.

It was really weird because I’ve never thought about any of that. To me “Gay Pirates” was just the exploration of an idea but, at the same time, I can understand why gay people like that song. The [gay men’s magazine] Attitude photo shoot was especially weird. They wanted me to wear this T-shirt and to lick lollipops and I was, like, “Woah, there.” I have other songs where I talk about gay characters in other ways. If they ever hear them they might fucking hate me. They’re not my opinions, they’re in character. There’s one song I wrote about a father who’s disappointed his son’s gay, but I try and talk about it in the most realistic way I can with regard to that character. It’s not out yet, it’s called “Some Stuff I’ve Got to Do”. He eventually kills his whole family and buries them in the garden because they’re all just fucking him off. Each verse is about a different member of the family. The son’s suddenly gay and he’s got this gay pride and he doesn’t know where it comes from. I would never say anything against a group of people, but writing “Gay Pirates” I had to wonder about it all. I live with a gay guy and I’ve tried to ask him about it because it’s really hard to compute what it’s like to just like cock. Even though he answered me the best way he can, I still can’t understand it.

That’s because you’re not gay. You could also never be accused of being media-trained, constantly second guessing what would be the right thing to say.

Some of the banter of acts on media platforms, they’re saying so much but they’re saying nothing. It never used to be like that, people would really talk about stuff.

The NME didn’t like you. They gave your album 1/10.

There’s nothing more frustrating than knowing that if a band they liked presented them with that, they would’ve liked it. And I’m not saying that because I have any confidence in my material whatsoever, that’s just the way it is and there’s no arguing with it. I would just love to see them being presented with “Gay Pirates” by a band they liked. I don’t know what I did wrong but once they get a dislike for you, that’s it. It’s the same with Jools Holland. The producer doesn’t like [my material] and I would love to be on his show. I think musically it could be great. I think I could do something that would maybe stand up next to the people I’ve been watching on the show. Radio 1 doesn’t like me either but I know why that is. It’s because I wrote this song called “Death to Radio 1” and gave it away as a free MP3 on Facebook. I started a [Facebook] group called Death to Radio 1 as well. It wasn’t a revolution or anything, nobody even really joined, but I think somehow it got back to them. That’s fine, at least people who did hear the song liked it.

You could be the dorkiest idiot in the whole wide world, no life, no friends, be a virgin, be 50 years old, still live with your mum, but if you could rhyme like that you’d be cooler than anybody

Songs such as “Let Me Out of My Head” showcase your orchestration abilities but you don’t have the usual pop musical boundaries. I’m sure one of the reasons some people have a problem with you is the jolly barn dance hoedown element of some songs. They have a hint of Wurzel-ishness – and you come from Devon. For the NME, for instance, it’s about notions of cool, isn’t it?

Totally, they need to maintain that they’re the people who set the trends. That’s their job as much as mine is to try and make sonic artwork, but the two have nothing to do with each other. I don’t understand the kind of attitude an artist should have to their own work. I don’t understand anymore.

The new album has a lovely song called “The Girl in the French Film”. Who is she?

Amélie. The first time I saw the movie I was just like, “Jesus Christ, I’d do anything for her.” I have a lot of ideal women but she is definitely a serious one. She is just lovely in that movie.

I love the line in it, “If I jump in the TV my head would just bleed.” Was your recent trip to the States your first?

I played South By South West which went horribly and there’s a video on YouTube called How I Broke America which shows why. You know that these kind of showcase things are always going to be rough’n’ready. You just get your hopes up that maybe you’ll get a shot at playing in a club late at night full of random people, then they dig it and start dancing. But it’s never like that, it’s always bad sound, bad stage times, bad rental gear and nobody there. I don’t take it personally but I can’t understand why it wouldn’t make you angry. Everyone says, “Stop being negative,” and I’m like, “There is no negative, there’s only logical.” Same with CMJ in New York. I’m supposed to say, “It was great to be there,” but I was disappointed with the stage times and I only saw a few other acts, nothing that blew me away. Apparently college radio have been supportive. The only guys who came especially to see me had come all the way from Virginia, driven six hours. I told him he was nuts but that was cool. He even had the T-shirt.

Watch the video for "Sure as Hell Not Jesus"

If you’re doing something a bit off the beaten track people are always slow to pick up on it.

I always thought that’s what the point was. I always thought that’s why you’d be doing something creative. So many acts, they’re not trying for good work. They just want to be there and don’t really know why. And the amount of times I hear these recycled horrible rhymes that I’ve heard in songs from the Sixties. Same with Radio 1. If they put a little faith back in people instead of treating them like morons, people would probably change, but right now it’s dire.

Hip hop’s a flavour in your music as well. Is that something you came to later?

Yes, I’d listened to all the early Eminem stuff and I liked his sarcasm and wit, and the way he’d tear things to pieces. You could be the dorkiest idiot in the whole wide world, no life, no friends, be a virgin, be 50 years old, still live with your mum, but if you could rhyme like that you’d be cooler than anybody. Even if you were saying things nobody could relate to, the fact you were saying them that way would make people want to understand you. Then I got into Souls of Mischief, East Coast rap stuff, through my little brother, but I like a lot of bad rap, like Will Smith.

Every artist needs something they can keep at all times. If you really love what you’re doing, you’ll keep that real close to you even though it may be detrimental to you as a human being

If rap is out, will your next album be more purely guitar-based?

There’s a lot more acoustic stuff but not in a Mumford & Sons way. There’s still all the recorders and weird grooves. If this one fucks up it’s going to be very difficult to tour next year. I’m writing a new movie called Doner & Chips which is about an Iraqi family that moves to Devon and opens a kebab shop. At the same time this local lad’s brother gets killed in Afghanistan, and he and his father take it very, very badly.

This roots film-making and putting rap on the back burner for an album has slight parallels with Plan B.

He’s a fucking good actor. I only heard him round peoples’ houses. I don’t smoke weed very often and when I do it’s usually because I want a drink, but drinking is more detrimental to the diabetic condition. I’d listen to Plan B while people were blazin’ and think it was fucking ace but, at the same time, I knew it was something I wasn’t part of. Then I heard the new stuff and saw Harry Brown and I couldn’t believe it.

I interviewed him, an interesting guy but one who seemed like he was keeping a lid on a lot of anger.

Every artist needs something they can keep at all times. If you really love what you’re doing, you’ll keep that real close to you even though it may be detrimental to you as a human being, in a social sense and in a comfort sense. Any kind of art or real expression - that’s better than living.

Watch Cosmo Jarvis's promotional film for his latest album Is The World Strange or Am I Strange?

Growing up in Devon is a mixture of chasing pop culture but having to be realistic about the fact there’s seagulls and sheep and pregnant teenagers

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Comments

Thanks for doing that interview. Totally honest and brilliant. Cosmo has just got to keep going, doing what he is doing. He did the opening night for our venue The Yellow Room, Hannahs At Seale Hayne. I chose him to open it because he matters. What is that saying? "Good will out". Eventually there is a tipping point where enough REAL people like what someone is doing and then the established media have to jump on board or just start to look churlish, petty and irrelevant. With Cosmo I think this is just on the verge of happening. And I really hope it does.

I was at that gig and it was amazing. I love cosmo's music and love even more the fact that he's local because I've seen him a few times now. I always play his music to my friends whether they like it or not. He really is such a beautiful person and his music is even more beautiful.

I was at the CMJ show in New York where the guy from Virginia showed up wearing the T-shirt. Just for the record: I came specially to see Cosmo (from uptown); I own that same T-shirt (though it was in the wash at the time so I couldn't wear it); and Cosmo rocked. It was a great show, regardless of whether it was sparsely attended, as nearly all showcases are. Mr. Jarvis is an effing genius: his quirkiness is part of what makes him so honest and wonderful. I'd watch him sing the phone book. (There's an idea for you.)

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