Photography by Amanda Silberling
On Saturday night at the First Unitarian Church of Philadelphia, Frankie Cosmos (Greta Kline) played her final show on a month-long tour to promote her bedroom pop band’s new album Next Thing alongside close friends Eskimeaux and Yowler. “I’ve never played a sold out show here before,” Greta Kline said on stage – though Frankie Cosmos and Eskimeaux both come from Brooklyn, each band has a dedicated Philly fan base, and they’ve each played several shows at venues like PhilaMOCA and the Church over the last year. Though Frankie Cosmos may have headlined the bill on this tour, Eskimeaux and Yowler were just as hyped up among the young crowd. Eskimeaux’s Felix Walworth (Told Slant) drums like a gifted maniac, turning Eskimeaux’s gentle bedroom pop into a live performance to rock out to. To close out the tour, Frankie Cosmos played plenty of new favorites from Next Thing – though the album only came out a month ago, fans were already singing along to songs like “Outside with the Cuties” and “On the Lips.” We talked to Greta Kline about the new album, the cartoonish world of Frankie Cosmos, and the band’s favorite spots in Philly.
Rock On Philly: You’ve mentioned that the name Frankie Cosmos was chosen partially in reference to Frank O’Hara, a New York School poet whose work is very narrative-based and centers around his circle of friends. There’s definitely a noticeable influence from him in your work – are there any other poets that you’re particularly inspired by? Is there a difference for you between writing song lyrics and poetry?
Greta Kline: Yeah, I’m influenced by a lot of poets. One of my favorites is Elizabeth Bishop. There’s a difference for me between writing poetry and songs though.
ROP: The Frankie Cosmos world is filled with characters like Ronnie, Frankie, Owen, and Jojo the dog. A lot of these stories criss-cross between both Zentropy and your new album Next Thing, like Frankie wishing she had a dog. Do you ever worry about the songs becoming repetitive? How do you manage to keep Frankie’s story moving forward?
GK: I don’t think that there’s a character of Frankie with a storyline that’s moving forward necessarily. I write about certain stories and themes over and over again with different perspectives, so maybe it will get repetitive for some people. I don’t think about how to keep it interesting, I just make what I make and if people like it that’s great.
ROP: Some Frankie Cosmos songs also reference the word of Greta, rather than Frankie’s world. “Embody,” for example, mentions Gabby from Eskimeaux being away on tour. Where do the lives of Greta and Frankie overlap?
GK: Frankie and Greta are both just me. I often write fiction, but I don’t think that distinction is between characters.
ROP: Speaking of Eskimeaux, you and Gabby have toured together, played in each other’s bands, and both come from New York, and you’ve both worked with Double Double Whammy, a NYC-based label run by members of LVL UP. Plus, Gabby’s part of The Epoch, a collective filled with other artists you’ve toured with, like Told Slant. It seems like you’ve met a lot of friends and collaborators through Frankie Cosmos – how do you keep that sort of community vibe alive?
GK: I don’t make a concentrated effort to keep a community alive, but I think artists are drawn to each other, and I love collaborating with people I admire, so it has just happened that way!
ROP: You’ve been touring pretty constantly for a while, and it comes out on the new album, with songs like “Embody,” “Tour Good,” and the album cover, which looks like a car on the highway. Is it hard living that kind of lifestyle? What have you learned on tour that makes the experience more sustainable?
GK: It is an extremely weird life to choose. It only makes sense if you care about your music more than almost anything else. I’ve learned over time how to take care of myself on tour and what I need to feel ok, and that’s helped a lot.
ROP: You tend to play in Philly a lot when you’re touring – do you have any favorite things to do or places to go when you’re here?
Check out our photos from Saturday’s show below, and don’t miss our interview with Gabby Smith of Eskimeaux!