In October, we got on Zoom with Greta Kline, Luke Pyenson, Alex Bailey, and Lauren Martin of New York alternative band Frankie Cosmos. We discussed favorite shapes, carbs, and the challenges of an induced album.
You recently contributed to some compilation albums supporting great causes like the “Save Stereogum Comp,” the “Good Music to Avert the Collapse of American Democracy Comp,” and the “IntegrateNYC Comp.” What’s it been like creating music for these?
Greta: To be fair, I didn’t create anything for them. I just sort of gave them demos I had lying around. So I’d feel like I’d be lying if I felt any sort of way when making them. But it was great to be involved with them and donate a song to them, because it was all cool stuff.
Your most popular song mentions someone’s name being a triangle and their heart being a square. If you were a shape, what shape would you be and why?
Greta: That’s a really good question. I’d probably be a hexagon, like a 3D shape.
Alex: A 3D shape?
Greta: You could be a cube or something. I’d be a nice stop sign shape.
Alex: I’d be a nice circle drawn by Lauren. With shading or something.
Luke: I’d be fusilli.
Lauren: Wow, is that a shape? I guess I’d be a circle.
Greta: I would also say that we are all famously squares. Band of squares, because we’re just nerds.
In the summer of 2018, you posted An Induced Album, which is such a cool and special idea. Have you listened to any versions of it that you really enjoyed?
Alex: We probably made the best ones.
Greta: Alex made some really good ones, honestly.
Alex: I’ll put mine against any of the others. It’s a competition, right?
Greta: No. I think less than ten people participated in that project, but all the stuff I heard was really exciting.
Alex: To be fair, they’re really hard to make. There’s pretty strict rules. I set out to make all of them, and I couldn’t. I only made like three or four.
Greta: They’re not strict. Some of them are harder than others. Alex made one of my favorite songs.
Alex: There’s no compilation of them anywhere.
Greta: I tried to make it a hashtag, but nobody used the hashtag. I wanted it to be a hashtag, but nobody did it. Nobody used the hashtag. My friends sent it to me, like Zach did it. Emily Yacina did it.
Alex: Zach made all seven the next day. Zach Burba. Very crazy.
Lauren: Yeah, he got his laptop stolen, and lost all his hard drive. That was sad.
Greta: Yeah, he lost his hard drive.
Your merch and most recent album features marbles, an often-collected item. Have you ever collected anything, and if so, what?
Greta: Lauren designs all our merch, and did the album art. I’m wearing a shirt of hers, which feels related. Even though it’s not Frankie Cosmos merch. I collected Troll dolls, actually. I had some Troll dolls. I know Luke is into seashells.
Lauren: Luke collected rocks and shells. I collected rocks.
Alex: I wouldn’t say I’m a bona fide collector of anything.
Greta: Famously, when I played on the West Side Soccer League, I would just sit down in the middle of games and collect rocks. So, we have some footage of me playing soccer. I wasn’t really a collector-collector, otherwise.
Lauren: I liked Beanie Babies, kind of.
Alex: Greta, what about your tiny things?
Greta: Dollhouse related? Well, now as an adult, I’m obsessed with miniatures. I wouldn’t say I collect them, I would say I’m more into creating them.
Luke: Your brother’s a collector.
Greta: Yeah, my brother’s a collector. I would say I’m very interested in items and collecting, and I made an EP called “Haunted Items” and it had all those concepts in the art. The art was made of clay miniatures I made.
Alex: You’re a song demo collector. Your Bandcamp has like fifty releases.
Greta: Yeah, I guess I’m a demo collector.
the @tan_feed instagram has still been going strong during quarantine times. Do you have any favorite meals that you’ve had during this time or any favorite tour snacks that you’ve been missing?
Greta: Such a good question.
Alex: We’ve been buying a lot of baguettes recently and it reminds us so much of tour. It reminds me of being in Europe.
Greta: I’m saving up to do a big @tan_feed post where the caption is “big mistake, huge (buying Nutella) and then it’s just all the Nutella stuff I’ve been having recently. So that’s been feeling really tour-ish. I’ve been making what I call an Elvis sandwich. Even though it’s not the Elvis Presley sandwich. It’s banana, Nutella, honey, and cinnamon on bread.
Lauren: That sound’s great.
Greta: Y’all miss any tour food? This morning we said we missed European breakfast buffet.
Lauren: Really? I love European breakfast buffet. I guess I really got into the groove of eating popcorn and jerky. Sometimes I miss that combination.
Luke: I honestly eat so much better [than when I’m on tour]. I don’t miss it at all. I don’t miss anything about eating on tour, to be honest.
Lauren: I’m so much healthier.
Greta: The only thing I’m gonna miss, next time I’m on tour, if that happens, is Starbucks. Because that was a tour staple, and I would say now they’re canceled.
Alex: I walked past a Starbucks recently and I was like “I’m so fucking glad I never have to eat Starbucks again.” I can’t believe how much, not that we ate so much, but those spinach feta wraps, eugh.
Lauren: Like it tastes good, but I never want to eat one again.
Alex: I can taste one if I close my eyes.
Greta: Tastes like tour.
You’ve done a lot of live stream shows recently—what are the pros and cons of this different sort of show?
Alex: The pros are it sucks, and the cons are it’s really a shame.
Greta: For me the pro is the audience, but the con is I get to see all their comments when they’re coming in.
Alex: We did a fake one on Halloween and I just pretended to play guitar, and that was amazing. We made the video, and I overlaid the audio of me playing guitar. I would do that every day. It’s so good, so much better. Such a better system. Getting nervous to play guitar on a stream is so weird. It’s so bizarre. And looking at yourself, like ugh.
Lauren: I just get nervous for some reason. It’s weird to see yourself and see your bandmates and know a lot of people are watching you can’t see.
Alex: When [Greta] was doing the Zooms, it was so fun to watch.
Greta: I haven’t done one in a while, but it was good to have a little fake tour schedule for me. Like it felt good. The thing I miss is that it’s never gonna be the same as playing live music, with your friends, in a room with an audience. It’ll never be the same.
Any bands you want to shout out on this Bandcamp Friday?
Greta: Oh! It’s Bandcamp Friday. I was gonna buy the 2007 Of Montreal album Hissing Fauna, because I listened to it too many times on Bandcamp and I can’t listen to it anymore without buying it.
Alex: Buy that on Bandcamp, you will not regret it.
Alex: We’re working on a record, sort of. Is that a plan?
Greta: I would say we’re remotely demoing into the ether. And “when all this is over,” we’ll make an album.