Musician Frankie Cosmos On Her Debut Album and Playing In a "Doggy Style" Band

by Sarah Bellman
Growing up in New York City, Greta Kline, a.k.a. Frankie Cosmos, was thrown into the music world -- literally. While attending her first-ever rock show at the Knitting Factory's old location in Tribeca (it was No One and the Somebodies), her brother Owen, without warning, told one of his friends to crowd surf his sister. "I wasn't expecting it," she recalled. "His friend just came over and scooped me up and threw me into the crowd. It was really crazy." It was then that Greta fell in love with all the wild, free-for-all of NYC's music scene. Now 19 and embarking on a music career of her own, the young artist has been quickly winning over fans with her addicting guitar pop, heard most recently on her just-released debut album, Zentropy. And although Greta's the daughter of renowned actors Kevin Kline and Phoebe Cates, her vibe is anything but that of a stereotypical, spoiled Hollywood kid. Down-to-earth and with a style that reminds us of an 21st century indie reincarnation of Millie from Freaks and Geeks, Greta can also be seen playing alongside her boyfriend, Porches frontman Aaron Maine. (And, in fact, it was Aaron who created the name Frankie Cosmos after the poet Frank O'Hara and his love of the, uh, cosmos.) Below, we talk to Greta about her debut album and why she calls her act a "doggy style band."

When did you first realize you wanted to pursue a career in music?

Pretty recently. I did a year of school at NYU and I really liked it, but I was in two bands -- my band and Porches -- and we were going away for weekends and playing shows and recording an album, which was pretty hard to balance with classes. I managed to do it, but I was sitting in a car writing an essay while going to play a show in Philly and it got kind of exhausting, so I took off this year. I still don't know what I'm going to do. I think I'm following the music path as long as it's happening.

How'd you come up with the name for your album, Zentropy?

I made up the word while we were making the album. Hunter, the guy who recorded our album, was a really zen guy and had a really zen attitude. I was super uptight and worried about sharing my songs and having other people have input on my album. Eventually I had to develop a zen attitude to be able to finish the record.

In your album you mention that your father is a fireman, which obviously isn't true. But at the same time, you album comes off as really personal.

A lot of it is just storytelling. I mean it's all based on real emotions. Some of it is autobiographical. I don't think any of it is pertinent, because a lot of the songs are from a couple years ago, so now they don't even seem autobiographical. A lot of the love songs' concepts are not relevant to my current love situation. I want my songs to be relatable. I don't want it to just be like "me, me, me." So it's definitely not all very personal.

How did you come up with the fireman story line?

I just kept thinking about what if my dad was a fireman. I think it related to the fact that my dad is sometimes away for 8 months out of the year working. I mean my dad doesn't actually put his life on the line necessarily, but just the idea of having a brave parent who is doing something that you look up to. I think it's a metaphor for looking up to your parents and also being worried about them eventually dying. Not to compare my dad's work at all to the work of a fireman, but I definitely look up to him and see him as a brave, strong person.

On Facebook you mention that your band is a "doggy style band." Where did that come from?

I kind of see everyone in the band as a dog. I see myself as my dog. I see Aaron and his brother, who are both in my band, as their dogs. They have two dogs that remind me of them. Gabby, who is in my band also, has a dog. I don't know. We just are like a bunch of dogs.

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