AN INTERVIEW WITH COSMOS, ASTRID AND ME
We all have digital pen pals with the friends we never meet but often talk to. Maybe we trade a music recommendation here, share an article there, and otherwise give snippets of life updates via Facebook Messenger or DMs on Instagram. But for Juan Ignacio Miranda of the Chilean psych-rock project Cosmos, Astrid and Me, an online friendship became collaboration.
Juan and Liz Gavillet of James Katy hit it off from liking each other’s work on SoundCloud. Their friendship manifested with the release of Teeth, an eight-song record off of released by Birthdiy, a small imprint of Spirit Goth Records.
Channeling the works of contemporaries like Alex G and Twin Peaks, artists from the west coast of North America and the west coast of South America merge their visions into one dream-pop record full of warm nostalgia and cutting melodies. Here’s our interview with Juan Ignacio Miranda to get a peak inside the psychonaut’s head…
FIRST I’D LIKE TO ASK ABOUT THE ORIGINS OF COSMOS, ASTID AND ME. WHEN AND WHY DID YOU FIRST START THIS PROJECT?
JUAN: I had a couple of songs recorded since 2013 that I really liked ("You look like an apple" and "Turn off your mind”). By the end of 2016 I made the decision to create a solo project that included songs that were practically forgotten along with new recordings to give it a refreshing touch.
ON A SIMILAR NOTE, YOU’VE BEEN PLAYING IN THE DUO PROJECT SUBURBAN PETS. WHAT DROVE YOU TO START COSMOS, ASTRID AND ME? DOES THIS PROJECT SERVE A DIFFERENT PURPOSE FOR YOU?
It’s basically for the freedom to compose and publish what I wanted. I don't want to say that having a second or third opinion is bad, it's just that it can slow down the creative processes.
This project’s purpose is to be somewhat more experimental and to be more of an ‘indie-rocker’ at the same time. Why not write a song that’s more more psychedelic? And then one that’s more of a punk rock song? Those are the freedoms that I'm talking about.
IS COSMOS, ASTRID AND ME A SOLO EFFORT?
Definitely. All on this project was made by me, all the way until the photo of the cover.
HOW DO YOU RECORD? DIGITAL OR ANALOG? AT HOME OR IN A STUDIO?
I record at my bedroom and the truth is that I use a rather precarious method. I place microphones on my amps directly and I start to edit on that recording. I use unconventional recording methods; for example, the sound of the end on “Brewer Street” was done with an iPhone, haha.
I don't have the resources to record on tape, which I would love, but I try to do it through tape recorders. Basically it's a mix between analog and digital.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PIECE OF MUSIC GEAR?
Mmm, that's a hard one, haha. Maybe the keyboard — it’s a phenomenal instrument that sometimes can give a 180-degree turn to a song. I also use a lot of percussion instruments.
YOU SEEM COMPELLED BY LO-FI TECHNOLOGY AND AESTHETICS - IN A TIME WHERE EVERYTHING IS BECOMING MORE AND MORE DIGITAL AND EVERYONE’S CURATING THEIR LIVES VIA INSTAGRAM POSTS IN REAL TIME. WHAT PULLS YOU TO THAT?
I think we are in a society that does not know how to give optimal use to technology and to social networks in general. Obviously, it is a sick thing for people to upload all day what they are doing to their Instagram, in this case, but probably 20 years ago it would have been impossible to do something like what I am doing now. The fact that I’m communicating with you [across countries] or contacting with a label — these are things I appreciate from technology.
AS SOMEONE WHO WAS BORN IN THE US AND WHO LISTENS TO A LOT OF AMERICAN MUSIC, I’M CURIOUS TO KNOW, WHAT MUSIC DID YOU LISTEN TO WHEN YOU WERE YOUNGER THAT ALSO INSPIRED YOU TO PLAY MUSIC?
Haha, I think it is not very different, everything has always been very universal. I grew up listening to The Beatles a lot, I had a certain obsession with the group as a child. To this day I still enjoy all their records and their history as if it were the first time.
In my adolescence, without a doubt, John Frusciante was the cause of a creative explosion that opened the doors to a world for what was, at the time, unknown music. With regard to Latin American artists, I always listened a lot to Luis Alberto Spinetta, Silvio Rodriguez and Patricio Manns.
WHO ARE SOME OTHER CHILEAN PSYCHEDELIC BANDS YOU LISTEN TO, OR BANDS FROM YOUR SCENE THAT YOU WOULD RECOMMEND TO SOMEONE NEW TO IT?
LASTLY, WHAT ELSE LIES ON THE HORIZON?
I intend to release more recordings! Suburban Pets also just released a record, Life in a Citycar, which will be released off of Hidden Bay Records.