Frankie Cosmos Is Staying Home For A Good Time

by Mariana Timony

The 21-year-old prodigy talks about touring the States, reviving older material for her new record, and where to find N.Y.C.'s best murals on a shoestring budget.

Frankie Cosmos is a trip. Though the name sounds like an ultra hip astrophysicist or an unaware shoegaze band, it’s actually the moniker/quasi-persona of Greta Kline: a bright 21-year old New York native and self-described blabbermouth who made one of the best-received underground pop records of 2014 in Zentropy and is about to follow it up with pithily titled sophomore record, Next Thing.

Kline is a prodigious songwriter with a knack for zeroing in on the heartbreaking romance of the regular. Her wordy, striking songs marry pretty melodies with lo-fi intellectualism, a combination both personal and universal at the same time.

While her pedigree is Hollywood (Kline’s parents are actors Kevin Kline and Phoebe Cates), Greta is N.Y.C. DIY to the core. She spent a summer as a teenager booking benefit shows for an underground publication and she’s adept at rattling off the names of bands and venues you don’t know about yet (but should). This summer Cosmos will hit the road with a three-piece band in Greta’s parents’ car which she doesn’t think is going to make it across the country but, in true DIY style, she’s gonna do it anyway.

Are there any overarching themes to Next Thing?

I think we had maybe half the record done when we first went in to record. It’s not a concept album or anything, but it’s funny because the first half of songs were older songs that we’d been playing live for a while. They’re about stuff from so long ago that we had to give them new meaning and work on the arrangements to make them exciting to us again. Then the second half I wrote after we had already started recording, so this record is split in this way where it’s emotions while you’re feeling them and emotions after the fact, looked back on later from more mature eyes, maybe.

How do you find new meaning in older songs?

The secret is just to be really in touch with your emotions and think about them all the time. For me, it was like having ideas and feelings that started to grow on me or that I changed my mind about. Maybe the secret is just to really dissect everything. There are some songs that are just a splash of pure emotion and there are lot that are, to me, overall very thought through. The secret is time.

What’s the current music scene like in N.Y.C.?

Honestly, I never really know if I’m in a scene or not, but there are some really good bands who are all putting out great music and there’s a lot of women doing stuff, which is really great. I think the scene is strong. I don’t go to shows a lot for fun because I feel like I’m always at shows otherwise. I love staying home for fun.

What’s something so ordinary about New York that no one notices?

The most touristy-normal New York thing I love is the Natural History Museum and my non-secret secret spot there is the North American Mammal Hall. There are these side wings that have tiny halls with smaller murals that are really intense. And the best-kept secret of the Museum of Natural History is that it’s pay what you wish and nobody knows that. Until now, I guess.

Photographer: Samantha Casolari.

Stylist: Rachel Gilman.

Hair: Kozmo for Bryan Bantry Agency using Phyto.

Makeup: Devra Kinery for Art Department using Make Up For Ever.

Location: Elvis Guesthouse, New York.