Grey Area: An Interview with I Am the Cosmos

How did you go about recording the album?
Ross Turner: I was looking after a studio in the middle of Dublin city while the owners were away for about six months. Whenever there was down time Cian and I would work on Cosmos tracks. It was a lucky break to start off the process using great gear in a really great space. It informed the way we did things too, instrumentation wise and the how quickly we worked. We fell in love with the piano in there and used it on nearly every track I think. When the studio sitting came to an end we moved recording to the house I was living in at the time. The way of recording then became very interspersed as I had started touring with Lisa Hannigan at that stage.

Cian Murphy: We started the album in late 2010 and completed it between a number of different studios over the following 18 months or so. Between us we had a handful of demo tracks which we developed into full songs, usually with Ross engineering and looking after vocal, drum and programming duties and I would play most of the guitar/bass/keys parts. We would both then contribute to the arrangement and structure of the tracks.

How did you meet and what made you decide to start a band together?
RT: I can remember one of the first times I met Cian was in a mutual friend’s kitchen at a party, when we were about 15/16? We were speaking about the band Loose Fur’s new album and he kept repeating the chorus from a track – ‘hey chicken! hey, hey chicken!’. I thought he had a lot of weird dude energy and he still does, but I love that, so starting a band made perfect sense.

CM: We met through mutual friends a number of years ago, and kept up with each other’s musical activity over the years. Ross had been releasing tracks as I Am The Cosmos for around a year before I remixed one of his songs. A few weeks later he asked me to come to a studio he was using and from there we started putting the album together.

What was the inspiration behind Monochrome? What are your hopes for the album?
RT: Sonically we wanted to use real life instruments, specifically old synthesizers, and make something modern sounding. Monochrome is a direct reference to Yves Klein. I loved the idea of a theme being very simple but very dense. I could only hope people connect with it in some way, and get something out of it. There is a heavy dose of heartbreak in the tracks.

CM: There was a track in particular, “Shinzo No Tobira” by a band called Mariah that was particularly inspiring to us. We both could draw from a similar set of influences too and perhaps had a similar goal in mind in terms of the music we wanted to make. I would be very pleased if people were able to engage with and enjoy the music.

What’s next for I Am The Cosmos?
RT: We’re about to move into a new studio space and will start the next album straight away. We prefer to do less of our own shows but maybe we’ll do a couple. Excited too about being the rhythm section for Solar Bear’s live show.

CM: We’ll be playing with Solar Bears as part of their live band over the coming months. They recently released their album “Supermigration” which is essential listening.

What inspired the name I Am The Cosmos?
RT: It comes from the Chris Bell album ‘I Am The Cosmos’ – I love the album and the title, it’s focused and ethereal.

Monochrome is out now.

Claire Healy

Image credit: Dorje De Burgh

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