Cosmonauts – "Cold Harbor" (New Song +The Ear to the Ground Interview )

Go visit the Cosmonauts’ Facebook Page NOW!  I mean it!  If you haven’t done so, “Like” the page. As of right this moment they are streaming their brand spanking new song, Cold Harbor.  I got a sneak peek, and it’s damn good stuff, and you know I wouldn’t lie to you. 


 We recently chatted with band member, Bill Hunsinger, to find out more about the band, this song and more.
Ear to the Ground:  What can you share about the new song “Cold Harbor”?
Cosmonauts: The song is about a guy who gets a girl pregnant after a night out at a bar, and the consequences of that night for her. It is based on a true story. 
EttG:  (Cosmonauts first two records tell the story of Emily Malone and Daniel Raincourt) Is this part of the Daniel Raincourt story cycle?  If not, what was it like writing outside of that story?  Was it difficult or freeing?
C: It is not part of the Daniel Raincourt saga. It was difficult at first to write outside of the story, especially since we had been writing within the story for almost two years, but it ended up being very freeing. There were many things that I wanted to write about that wouldn’t fit into that story, and this happened to be one of them. 
EttG:  What can you tell you about making the video?
C: That it was a lot of hard work! We filmed all of it, by ourselves, over the course of twenty hours, with multiple locations, tons of extras, and two fantastic actors (including our own guitarist James White). There’s a particularly gruesome scene at the end, and I think it makes for a powerful ending. 
EttG: Okay, I’d like to ask a few questions to give our readers some context: What is the first music you are consciously aware of hearing?
C: I remember being about four, listening to Nanci Griffith’s “Flyer” album on the way to my grandparents house. It was my family’s soundtrack for car trips, and  something about it was magical to me. I was raised listening to a lot of folk singers and alternative bands (REM, Suzanne Vega), and it really influenced me to want to be a musician and play songs out of sheer enjoyment of the craft. 
EttG:  What kinds of music did you listen to as a teenager?  Was there a musical moment during that time that really stood out to you?
C: Well, the whole “emo-hardcore” scene was starting to come out when I was thirteen or so. I loved Coheed and Cambria, Brand New, etc. That was, I think, the time in my life, as well as a few of my band mates, that made us want to be in a band and write songs and play shows. The scene was very inclusive and friendly and, as somewhat social outcasts, we felt like we belonged somewhere. 

EttG:  When did you start playing?  At what point did you figure out that just maybe this music thing was for you?
C: I started playing guitar and writing music about twelve years ago now. I don’t think there was ever a defining point where I said “this is for me”. I just started playing music with my friends and after a while we started playing basement shows and birthday parties. It wasn’t until I started playing real shows on real stages that I thought that I could actually artistically create music. 
EttG: How did the band form?
C: Joe and I had the idea for the story that became our first two albums when our old band broke up. When we started writing the songs, we realized there was no way we’d be able to pull off the ideas we had unless we had more members. Joe and I are mediocre musicians at best, and we just couldn’t do what we thought the story needed. Luckily for us, we happened to know a band of three extremely talented musicians that were looking for a new musical direction, and they were kind enough to go along with our crazy ideas. 

EttG:  Why Cosmonauts?
C: Honestly, we just needed a name. We had all the songs written for the first album, but no band name. I had been listening to “relationship of command” by At the Drive-In a lot at the time, so we took our band name from one of their songs. 

EttG:  How did the concept of the Emily and Daniel story develop?
C: Joe wanted to write a story about a man who deals with the emotional drama of losing a loved one, an I wanted to write, basically, a horror story. A lot of the horror aspects of the story are personal experiences I had. “lovers of kerosene lane” is about a couple I met. The man was covered in bandages after being attacked with a knife, and the women was a morbidly obese women, covered in vomit. They were making out in the middle of a gas station parking lot at two am. It was a nauseating thing to see. 
And some of the story elements are just metaphors for how joe and I felt at the time. It was a labor of love to piece the story together, but I think, in the end, we managed to get a fairly coherent story out. 

EttG:  (Joe Mansman created some striking art for the Emily and Daniel stories) When did Joe start drawing? Did he have any formal training? Are there any particular artists that influenced his visual art?
C: Joe started in elementary school, but had no formal training. He was influenced by the early work of Frank Miller, Todd McFarlane, and Mark Silvestri

Ettg:  What’s next for Cosmonauts?
C: We’re continuing to write for a next album, and playing some shows in the Northeast. We really want to focus this time on lyrics, rather than the musical aspect of the songs. So you’ll be seeing (hopefully) more emotionally powerful songs as opposed to guitar heavy songs. 

EttG:  Is there any band or artist you’d like to work with or tour with?
C: There are so many bands we play with now that we absolutely love playing with. Skeletons in the Piano (Note: Skeletons in the Piano were our Band of  the Month for July) and Wild Adriatic, for example. I’d rather keep working with them to keep creating a sustainable music scene is our area than to work with a national act. Bands can only survive with local support, and we’ll do what we can to help create that scene. 

EttG:  What music have you been playing most often?
C: Everything! Personally, I’ve been playing more Appalachian folk than anything else lately, but we all have a diverse preference when it comes to playing music on our own. As a band, we play whatever feels right for the song, whether it be a Latin-based rhythm or light waltzes, or even screaming (or all of them at once). 

EttG:  What’s the best part of being in a band and making music?  The worst?
C: The best part of being in a band is being able to do what you love to do with your closest friends, and being able to express yourself musically and having other people relate. There’s nothing better than that. 
On the other hand, the worst thing about being in a band is when you play a show and people are apathetic to your performance. It’s discouraging, but you just shake it off and go play another show. 

EttG:  And finally, this is a question, I try to ask whenever I can:  If you could see any band perform live at the peak of their career, who would you see and at what point in their career?
C: I would have loved to see Robert Johnson play back in the 1930’s. He influenced countless of legendary guitar players, and his songs were very personal and intimate.  

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