Frankie Cosmos, a project fronted by Greta Kline, played at the Paper Tiger Friday, Sept. 21. After the show, Kline joined the Trinitonian for an interview. The following has been edited for clarity, length and style.
Wolf Robinson: What were some of your main influences as you grew up writing your own songs?
Greta Kline: I feel like the biggest influence was, like, the DIY music scene in New York. Seeing teenagers putting on shows and performing and making stuff up and experimenting. I felt like that was just really eye-opening. Just like, ‘Oh, anybody can make a situation where you can try out performing, and it doesn’t have to be this really serious thing.’ That was probably the biggest effect on me.
WR: How do you go about writing a song? Do you usually start with the music or with lyrics?
GK: It depends on where I am in my life. When I’m on tour, which is most of the time, I write just lyrics, ‘cause I’m just in a car or whatever. I’m not sitting, playing guitar. But then when I get home, I write the music aspect and sort of piece together everything into a song. So it’s sort of like, various steps now. But sometimes I just sit down with a guitar, and I just write a song, and it’s just instant, and the whole thing comes together at once. Yeah, it just depends on the song, kind of.
WR: How did it work for “Vessel,” your most recent album? Or was it kind of a combination of everything?
GK: Kind of a little bit of both, yeah. Some of them I wrote when I was on tour, or some of them I wrote when I was home. And also, they were written over a span of years. But yeah, I also just kind of don’t view albums as, like, an album. I just think of it as collection of songs. So it’s like, here’s 18 songs that I’m excited about! But they’re not necessarily written about the same thing or necessarily meant to go together. I think that they do go together, but I feel like it would be misleading to be like, ‘I wrote “Vessel” in this way’ because it’s sort of just from — it’s a years-long collection.
WR: How do you pick the order then?
GK: Um, just like gut feeling. I’ll just be like, ‘I want it to be like this,’ and then I sent an idea for the order to our record label, and I was like, ‘What do you think?’ And they said, ‘Ooh, we think it’d be cool to end side A with this song,’ and I was like, ‘Cool, I believe you.’ You know, I didn’t have super strong feelings about it. There was some stuff I felt strongly about. I think my bandmate was like, ‘The first song on the album should be “Caramelized,” ’ and I was like, ‘Okay, we’re gonna stick to that. That’s the idea.’ But I think first and last song were the only things that I was really set in. I had an idea for that. But I’m just kinda making it up otherwise.
WR: Do you have a favorite guitarist, lyricist or poet?
GK: Oh my gosh, so many. I want to say Joanna Newsom is one of my favorite musicians and poets. Her songs are just like this endless puzzle. So I really could listen to it forever. And my favorite singer, probably. Favorite melody writer. I don’t know, she’s like my favorite everything.
WR: Being from New York, what’s the most Texas thing you’ve seen on tour?
GK: Probably this t-shirt (motions to shirt, which has a bus, a horse, an acoustic guitar and old microphone under the words ‘Hardcore Cowboy Tour, TEXAS’), which I immediately bought at Stuckey’s the other day. But also, the most Texas thing is just the heat. It was pretty crazy. This is in the top three hottest shows I’ve ever played. But it was great. I love heat, so I’m into it. Sweating out the toxins, you know?
WR: For our last question: Do you remember the 21st night of September?
GK: (Laughing) No!