The play of contrasts is one of the most interesting aspects of art. What makes the music of local quintet Cosmic Child such an eminently beautiful experience is the balance of the silken and the serrated forms of sounds it marshals. You’ll get just that on its April 2016 debut Untitled. Today, the band, which hails from the stable of scene-stealing local indie label Middle Class Cigars, lifts the lid on the lead herald of its follow-up “Blue/Green”. Two years removed from the songs of its predecessor, the song pulls the curtain on a harder, more bristlingly driving sound – the result of a new lineup and new sensibility. Blue is the name of the album it hails from. If you have a vested interest in emotionally impactful music with a thrust and intricacy, Blue is an opus you’ll want to keep near you. To welcome the dawn of Cosmic Child’s next chapter, we speak to its founding members Bo and Daniel Pei.
Bo, what would you say is the emotional standpoint of Blue?
Bo: The majority of the album after the departure of a friend whom I was close to for over a year. But because of certain circumstances, she had to leave the country. It just felt bad so I wrote a lot of songs about it. They’re all love songs. Before this, I hated writing love songs. I felt they were very contrived and overdone. But I think I’ve hung out with enough emo bands and listened to enough emo music to become OK with writing such songs.
In terms of the process, how was the crafting of this record different from untitled‘s?
Bo: The majority of untitled was done by Pei and myself. After coming back from our China tour, our old band left. It was a mutually agreed upon thing. They had other priorities. The band was just left with the two of us so we got new members, who were friends of ours. These new members are very skilled musicians as compared to the previous bunch, who were our secondary school friends. When we first started the band, we didn’t know how to play our instruments. But this time around, the experience was different because we got to play with people who were already good at their respective instruments. They brought something different to the table. It felt more cohesive.
“On the previous album, we had a dynamic sound but not as much as now.”
Daniel, it’s known that you were listening to a lot of emo when the record was being made. How did that affect your approach to it?
Daniel: The bands that I was listening to, such as Marietta and Joyce Manor really translated. After all that exposure to them, I guess, I was just subconsciously influenced by them and what they were doing. That’s partly why we used less effects pedals, less modulation and phasers and more clean and distorted guitar parts to add flavour to the album. More dynamics.
Yes, the songs here are definitely more punchy.
Bo: It has to do with the fact that we both more distortion pedals. When you buy something, you want to use it. On the previous album, we had a dynamic sound but not as much as now. That driving sound on Blue is a result of the music we were listening to and the new gear we got.
Daniel: Besides that, we also really like rock music.
And why Mandarin songs this time around?
Bo: That’s interesting. I’ve always listened to Chinese indie rock and our band is also quite close to a certain circuit of Chinese indie bands. I’m originally from China and I speak to my parents in Chinese at home. So I feel comfortable using the language. Also, I feel that Chinese generally sounds better than English. It has less harsh sounds and is just more soothing. It worked well with some of the lyrics which didn’t sound right in English.
For any band, a new lineup is a new beginning. What are your hopes for this current lineup?
Bo: I just hope that everyone enjoys playing in this band and that they’re happy being in this band.
Daniel: That’s the main thing. We hope everyone enjoys playing together and writing songs together without feeling that it’s obligatory.
What about the shoegaze aesthetic appeals to you so much?
Bo: I first head the whole warm, fuzzy guitar sound back in secondary school, in The Flaming Lips. On Wikipedia, ‘shoegaze’ is related to the main genre of that band, which is dream pop. The blissful flood of noise and warm, distorted tones just resonated with me. It’s a very lonely type of music and I guess, I was lonely then.
The ‘future’ and ‘nostalgia’ are two poles that will always be a part of the conversation surrounding music. Why is nostalgia integral to what you do?
Daniel: When we write songs, they just come out that way. It’s not forced. So, in their organic state. They sound that way.
Bo: I’m a very sentimental person, which is not very good. But it’s comfortable. I just want to make music that I like and that I enjoy listening to. You like things you’ve heard before. Eventually, you’ll recreate things you’ve heard before and make them your own.
Blue will be officially released on February 23 2018 via Middle Class Cigars.
Photography by Christopher Sim.