eGigs speaks to Cosmo Jarvis

touring, that gig with Muse, movies, Gabriella Cilmi, hitch-hiking, porn, and more on Tuesday 9 February 2010

Currently on tour as a four piece with bass, drums, and another guitar with The Sunshine Underground, 20 year old Cosmo Jarvis was in Glasgow when we caught up with him for a quick chat.

How are you?
I'm okay thank you got a little bit drunk last night, but not completely, and didn't have any sleep in the Travel Lodge, I slept on the sofa. So the next person that's going to sit on that sofa is going to have all my sweat absorbed by their clothes.

I tend to stay in Travel Lodges wherever I go on tour, because they're the cheapest.

And where's home when you're not touring?
Plymouth, at the moment.

How's the tour going with Sunshine Underground?
Yeah, it seems pretty good so far, we're doing some pretty shit venues, well two, I thought. Last night was really good though, a really good crowd, they seem to have a really good crowd wherever they go. Where the crowd is good it's good, but where the crowd is bad, it is just awful. But the tour should be good.

My music doesn't suit their music at all, or their crowd, but, I guess it makes it more of challenge to try and win four people who dig their music which is the furthest and different end of the spectrum to mine music. A few people do end up liking mine which is good. I just wish I had more songs that go, I have two songs that go with their music quite well, maybe even three. But I feel bad if I change the entire set to go like that, I could have changed it, people wouldn't have even noticed. I could have done it so more of my songs had thumpy drums or had more of a pulse or a beat but I didn't really have enough time for that to happen.

The four piece doesn't sound anything like the records, but it sounds good when it sounds good, and when it sounds bad it sounds shit.

What been your most memorable gig to date?
Of any gig ever? The Taphouse, St Agnes, in Cornwall it was the best gig ever. It was quite cosy, and quite crowded, there was no room at all, and it's always good down there. Tim, the landlord, he's so up for live music, he let us go passed the curfew and it was good.

You played on the bill with Muse at Teignmouth, how did that go?
Oh yeah, that was pretty good, it wasn't my best show, my session bass player fucked it up at the time. He managed to mess up the entire set, deliberately, because he knew he was leaving me. So, yeah, that was band and I was so pissed off about my set that I spent all of Muse's set drinking red wine in my dressing room in the dark, because I couldn't face the 10,000 people I'd just insulted. It was good though, and people were very understanding, and they were like, "That was good." So I went with that after a while, and thanks them and said I was glad they made it.

Ever since then people who had seen that show have been turning up at shows around the country and saying "I saw you at Muse." The whole thing was a good thing I guess.

Who has been the best band you've been on tour with?
Gabriella Cilmi and her lot, her back-up band because they're all really sound, and funny. Ace musicians who like the music that I like.

Has she still got that great bass player with the long dreadlocks?
No, he left. I think he left because he brought his girlfriend on tour, and he kept coming to every show with his girlfriend, and I think basically she was pussy whipping him completely, and he just felt for being on tour with Gabriella, so now she's got a new bassist. His girlfriend said to him, "Me or the band!" And so he ended up going, he was a cracking bass player though, with a great style. And he could play double bass as well which is rare for a bassist to be able to do both.

And who has been the worst band you've been on tour with?
I couldn't say on tour, but the biggest dicks I have ever supported have definitely been Panic At The Disco.

What made them so bad?
They were just so pretty, and they just knew how pretty they were, and they just sat in their dressing rooms stinking of gange. I went up with a napkin because one of my mates wanted Panic In The Disco's signatures for a nephew, and they wouldn't even do it. It was shit, and they were so, I don't even know what the word is. They just thought they were mini-gods, that only wet little sixteen year old girls could see, I hated them.

Have you done any tours in other countries?
Yeah, did a bit of a German and Denmark tour with Gabriella Cilmi, and that was good, even when it was bad it was good.

When you're touring what's the essential item you have to take with you?
Um, it never used to be a laptop, but now it's a laptop because I can get work done when I'm out. Yeah, and there's always porn floating about the bus somewhere, because it's just when you're freezing cold and you know the gig you're about to play is going to be crap, it's good to have some kind of clean vagina to be able to look at before you go on stage.

How would you describe you debut album 'Humasyouhitch'?
Hum as you hitch, someone thinks it's an Iraqi word of something like that, because on of the songs on it was written while I was hitching. I'd describe it as a mess, and it's true, my manager said from day one that there's too many songs on there, and as much as I hate to give him the credit he probably deserves, he's right, there probably is. There's too much stuff on there, too much variety for even the lowest common denominator of Radio 1 listeners to even start to fathom probably.

What would have been wiser, would have been to cut the first disc as one album and the second disc as another album. But I was too impatient to do that I think, at my own peril. But yeah, it's a variety of rock, pop, rap, reggae, experimental, instrumental, rubbish. The product of sitting in my room and recording crap, basically. Apart from a few songs on there that my uncle produced, and three were produced by this other guy, but that was only because I didn't have enough time to re-record them which I would have liked to have done. But the rest I just recorded on my own, because I can play all the crap on them, my little brother played drums on a couple of them which was good, and a mate of mine called Aiden played drums on a couple as well. But, it's just a mixture of loads of things.

Talking of hitching how do you find hitching these days, do you find it easy to get people to pick you up?
No, especially not in Devon. It's ridiculous, I find the only people who ever pick me up are people my age, really young naive people, or really old naive people. I end up, when I get into the car with them, thinking, "Well, what if I did decide to kill you, you're completely unprepared, you didn't even make me sit in the back seat, I'm sitting right next to you I could stab you if I wanted to." I never would, obviously. At least make me sit in the back, if you're an old frail lady, but they never do, which is really good, because I guess it dampens the fear of other people, and it narrows the difference between old people and young people for those they let into their car.

You've also got quite a few film out, many of which are the videos to your songs, is film a passion of yours?
Yes, absolutely, equal to music, if not, even more. Nothing's really happening with them, South By South West have just declined most of the ones I entered into that film festival. I don't know why, they've declined all of them, except one which is called, 'The Alleyway' which they'll probably decline today, when I get the email. That's the only one they haven't declined. The only way I can make songs productively is to make music videos which I've made all of the music videos. The next single, which is called, 'Crazy Screwed Up Lady' I've just finished the video for, and this year I'm doing a full feature length film called, 'The Naughty Room' when I get a month off to shoot it. The script is all done for that. I'm currently assembling people to get it made, which should be interesting. I think we'll have to assemble all the rooms in some old farm barn, and make it in there.

What was the last tune you purchased?
The 'Moon' soundtrack by Clint Mansell, that was the last album that I bought. The film was totally amazing.

What was the first band you ever went to see?
Dropkick Murphys and Less Than Jake, that was the first gig I ever paid to see anyway, at Exeter University, and it was amazing, and I kissed some random girl there, because of the song, 'Kiss Me I'm Shit Faced', and I did, she was amazing, and I spent the rest of the night trying to squeeze through a sweaty sea of people trying to find her again. But she was nowhere to be seen, and I stuck around until the end, just to watch the people filter out of the hall, and it was like she was this crazy hot phantom woman who just disappeared, and that was that. It is one of my fondest memories of live music though, definitely.

Who are your musical heroes?
Tom Waits, and Crash Test Dummies. I wish they would do something else good in this country, but I think they've just given up on this country, I don't blame them for it because this country is a piece of ass. And Frank Zappa - pretty much, for his guitar playing anyway. No one uses a guitar like that, I don't know what the hell he does with his fingers because it always sounds like he's between five or six scales, and drifts in between them without really thinking about it when he's soloing. No one else does it like him, it's awesome.

What's your favourite Zappa album then?
Oh dude.... 'Sheik Yerbouti'... definitely, because it's got that one where he has that really long solo of his, the one that starts off with those people saying, "Whatever happened to all the fun in the world?" That might even be the name of the solo, it's been a long time since I've seen the cover, all I've got left is just the discs. Also, the acoustic track he did called 'Sofa' it's just unbelievable, and the most beautiful piece of music I've ever heard. It's a complete one off, really weird an unbelievable piece of music, he never did anything like it again.

What have you got planned for the summer, any festival appearances?
Well, I've been asking questions about festivals, and people keep saying that apparently they're going to be doing me loads of favours, and hopefully get me on there, but I haven't heard anything yet.

Voice your opinion in the eGigs forums...
article by: Scott Williams

published: 09/02/2010 13:19

more about Cosmo Jarvis