Introducing: Cosmo Jarvis

November 11, 2009 by  


Cosmo recently opened for Muse at their homecoming gig in Teignmouth, where it transpired that both he and Matt Bellamy shared the same music teacher at school. This can only bode well for the young musician who has already made waves with his first single and who’s second single ‘You Got Your Head/Problem’ came out this week. He’s now in the middle of his own UK tour to promote his double-CD debut album launch on Nov 16th.

Your debut album is out soon – how do you feel?

A little nervous maybe, only because I’m aware of the work from others in the business side of things that has gone into me and my album and if it fails, which it probably will, then that would suck. I’m eager to hear what regular, non-fuck wit, non-music press people have to say about it. 
You bounce around between genres and sounds – does this just come naturally?

It’s kind of part of it for me. I don’t like artists that only have one style. Sometimes its not just about the lines, or the way that they are delivered, but also the instrumentation which (in my mind) has as much to do with the expressiveness, emotion and tone of a recording as the voice that is singing. I usually make decisions on style based on whatever I can hear in my head. Then I try and pursue that vision as closely as possible.
Do you have any specific musical influences that you recognise as filtering through into the album?

Not all the way through, no, not in terms of style. In terms of production, perhaps. I tend to follow rules that I made up subconsciously based on the records I heard as a kid. Certain things usually follow a pattern like the way I record bass, or drums, and when and where in the song I double-track vocals.
You’ve said that music is just ‘something you do’ – is the process really that organic? 

Sometimes. Most of the album was done already; it was mostly a case of re-recording a lot of songs. Having an audience in mind can alter the way I produce more than the way I write. Sometimes though if I want to be very blunt and piss some people off, I can be especially obnoxious.
You’ve said that music and film can sit side-by-side.  Can you say a bit about this and your experience of making the ‘Problems’ video?

I had three days to make the video as the song wasn’t decided on as a single until the last minute. A boy named Frank who lives across the street from me came to mind for the part of the boy, this was a main character so for a kid who is not an actor and is still at school I knew it may be difficult to get parental permission. I went over to his house and introduced the idea. It was not deflected as badly as I had anticipated. I had worked with Frank before (kind of) when I made a dumb-ass documentary about a cardboard box house we made. He was very charismatic, and willing to act. He knows my music and the song ‘Problems’ very well. We spoke about it and he was down.  There were several other parts to cast, the mother and father, lawyers… I also needed a house that wasn’t my mother’s. My mother’s house has appeared in more of my films than I can remember and for this film to be the same would have been easier, but unauthentic and cheap of me.  I asked Oli James, my tour manager and the only adult I know if I could film at his house and he sorted it out, he sorts everything out. I phoned a couple of actors I’d worked with before and asked if they could turn up on the Sunday and act in a short I was making. They said yes. All the ‘in house’ stuff I shot on day one and the ‘Frank walking down the street’ I shot later that night on the road behind my mother’s house. I got my brother Fletch to reverse the car up the street with suction mounts for the camera on the front – I did like 20 takes and had to give him petrol money. Oli James came to the rescue again when I realised I didn’t know any other full grown adults who could play lawyers, so yeah he got a serious casting credit! My uncle Kevin was the judge. He had the most acting experience as he used to do a ton of extra work; he was on the Bill and stuff. I had no crew except a good mate of mine Rosie Hillier who helped me lug all my gear from one end of Totnes to the other. I stayed up and edited it that night and that was it. I thought it went well. I’ll have the ‘making of’ up on Youtube soon.
A lot is made of the fact that you’re only 19.  Are you speaking to people in the same age-range or are you hoping to appeal to a wider audience? 

Yes, a lot of the time, because middle aged men and teenaged boys have everything in common. People are universal, and even if a song doesn’t ‘apply’ to you, it can still be an education of what things are like for other people of a different type. Sometimes it’s my job to make sure something can be understood my many. Others I don’t care. The ones who get it, get it. The ones who don’t might like the riff.
Although you’re just releasing your debut album have you thought about what you’d like to do next? Your prolific back-catalogue suggests you’re the kind of artist who is always looking to the next project. 

Well, album three is done, as are many to come. I just need to get that shit out! I have a bunch of short films I’m currently working on, and more planned, including one film I’m directing about a guy whose 20 but has barely seen daylight ‘cos his mum’s a mental case who blames him for a car accident that killed his father many years ago. He lives in the naughty room (which is a bathroom) with blocked up windows. Some students from Bournemouth Uni are gonna be working on it with me. I need to cast some parts still though. And I’m still just recording songs generally. I guess I’ll just skip between the two until my potential as a Jedi is realised! Yeah, just music, movies and acting basically…
If I came to see you live, I wouldn’t know quite what to expect…

Bad vocals, fewer instruments than on the album, bad sound, depending on the sound man, some interesting guitar solos on my part, awkward between-song banter, sweat, and multiple genres of music I guess!
I would definitely buy the album first personally…

‘Problems’ video:

Angela Slater