The Cosmic Something is the new solo project from Jemma Freeman, best known as the songwriter and guitarist in Bella Union signed dreamy-psych band Landshapes and member of new wave art band, The Fucks.
Jemma’s solo material adds a fizzing energy and almost glam-stomp to proceedings, creating a sound that flips rapidly between lush guitar work and rapid fire energy, all topped by Jemma’s sonorous vocal, part Kate Jackson part PJ Harvey. Expanded to a four-piece live band, expect to hear material from 2017’s debut EP, Someone Else to Blame as well as new material set for release later this year. Jemma Freeman and The Cosmic Something play our free show, presented with Scared To Dance at The Victoria, Dalston this Friday.
FTR: For those who don’t know who are Jemma Freeman & The Cosmic Something?
We are Jemma Freeman (vocals, guitar), Hamilton Lee (drums and percussion), Mark Estall (bass and BVs) and Krupa (vocals, synth, keytar).
We play glam tinged, new wave wonky pop. We are an entirely DIY outfit and to date have released one limited edition EP on custard coloured cassette, people say we sound like Throwing Muses, Captain Beefheart, PJ Harvey, Cyndi Lauper and T-rex, which is a confusing array of influences so it’s probably best you make your own mind up, we are open to suggestions.
FTR: What can you remember about your first show?
The first show I was inevitably incredibly nervous, I’m naturally quite anxious anyway, I played solo after my friend Eddie encouraged me to get up and perform my songs for the first time in years. I’d lost my confidence after the band I was in went on hiatus and I felt stranded with no musical outlet. Getting back on a stage again was incredibly significant for me, it helped re-establish my identity. I’d just escaped a very controlling relationship where for years my confidence had been driven down to almost nothing, I never thought my voice, playing or song writing were good enough to share with other people. Even being asked to play the show I felt like an imposter! I am very lucky that the people I played to were warm, supportive and encouraged me to progress. I don’t really know where I would be without that first show at Vinyl Deptford it inspired me to develop my ideas and to feel worthy of making them into something magical and special. To not feel guilty about spending the time and investing the love in them that they deserved.
FTR: Why do you make music? Why not another art form?
It’s the only place I really feel free and able to express myself fully, I find language can be limiting and nuanced, there is room for change in music. A song can be adapted by the listener to suit their needs, you hear what resonates or adapt the narrative to fit your mood. A series of chords for me can express a lifetime of emotion and history more fully than a conversation or a novel. I actually studied Fine Art at University but I could never find the satisfaction from making an object that I do in writing a song. I love visiting art museums and fine art. A great artist in any medium has the power to move you, I never felt like I came close with my practise though. With music I lose all my edges, I disappear into it I become less aware of my physical form, I am the notes, I almost don’t exist, there’s nothing like it!
FTR: What can people expect from the Jemma Freeman & The Cosmic Something live show?
Raw emotional passion, guitar shapes, a lot of effects pedals, glam rock makeup and outfits, exuberant heartfelt energy and some nervous humour in between songs. I always play like it’s my last show, like the planet might end before the night finishes, you can’t be too careful you know.
FTR: What’s next for Jemma Freeman & The Cosmic Something?
We have a new single out on July 20th with an exciting video shoot planned, it’s our first one, the new song feels very special to us so it felt like it deserved one. We are playing on 1st June at the Victoria Dalston with the fabulous Wolf Girl and are headlining the Fiddlers Elbow on 19th June. I have a lot more songs written, ready to record so we are aiming to release our first album next year (indie labels get in touch, make our vinyl dreams come true!) Oh also we just got two keytars, so expect duelling Yamaha synths any time soon, it’s going to be amazing I promise.
They Listen To…
1. Haley – Stupid Face
I heard this track when I was feeling very lost and unsure about my writing, the angst and beauty in this song buoyed me up and made me feel so empowered it doesn’t really sound anything like the music I make but for some reason I was empowered by this fantastic empowered woman I took strength from her energy. Live she has one of the most staggering voices I have ever encountered, it rings pure and clear I was transfixed.
2. Vanishing Twin – Choose Your Own Adventure
Vanishing Twin were an accidental discovery, I saw them as a support for my friends band and I was absolutely blown away, their musicianship and creativity is inspiring I highly recommend catching them live, there are elements of improvisation and they have possibly one of the best drummers around Valentina Magaletti.
3. Mein Haus – Do You Do Recycling And Why Not?
Mein Haus played a show I did in Deptford they can take you on a whirlwind tour of emotions and themes in the space of about 4 mins, they played strings on our first EP on a track called Black Rain. Their calm creativity and ability was a joy to behold, Mark and I were just singing pats to them and they reproduced them instantly and with such dexterity, e got very carried away the possibilities were so endless. Mixing it was almost heartbreaking they made so many brilliant parts. They have moved to Berlin and I expect huge things from them.
4. Zia – Helelyos
Hami has chosen this amazing piece of Persian psychedelia, he has one of the most diverse and interesting record collections, I don’t know how he found this amazing rare gem! The percussion is phenomenal and the use of stereo on the backing vocals is so disorientating and unusual, fantastic!
5. R.D.Burman – Dum Maro Dum
Continuing with what seems to be a fairly psychedelic selection so far Krupa has chosen this fantastic piece of Bollywood magic. R.D. Burman is a big influence for her, he is the composer who wrote the best soundtracks for a whole load of Indian films which she grew up listening to via her Mum (also an incredibly talented singer)
6. George Dawes – Peanuts
Bonus Material! Here is Marks selection, left without comment, there are real no words.
Someone Else To Blame is out now. Click HERE for more information on Jemma Freeman and The Cosmic Something.