Soulful singer/songwriter Mondo Cozmo’s buttery voice should come with a warning for your knees, because it will make them weak. Take hit single, “Plastic Soul” for example, a ballad Cozmo wrote about “falling in love with the same person throughout history, throughout time.” On August 4th Mondo Cozmo celebrates the release of his debut record also titled, Plastic Soul, with a set at Lollapalooza. With special plans in store for the big day, it promises to be a performance you won’t want to miss.
Culture Collide spoke to Mondo Cozmo about what he’s most looking forward to at Lollapalooza, his debut album, and life on the road.
You’re new album Plastic Soul is being released the same day you play Lollapalooza, do you have anything special planned for the set?
Mondo Cozmo: Ever since I was a kid I wanted to play Lollapalooza. The fact that the record is coming out that day – we’ve got some tricks up our sleeves for it.
How does it feel to have both colliding on the same day?
Mondo Cozmo: This whole experience seems like something larger at work. I’m not super religious; it could be Satan doing it, I don’t know, but there’s something bigger than what I can put together in my mind and connect the dots. So when the [label] told us August 4th for the release date, I was like “yes, that just seems right, it seems meant to be.”
Which other artists are you looking forward to seeing?
Mondo Cozmo: I’m psyched to see Phantogram. Also Liam Gallagher. I’m a big Oasis/Gallagher brother’s fan. A lot of times we play these festivals and have to leave right away, and I think we’ll be able to hang out and soak up the festival this time.
What’s the best festival show you’ve seen?
Mondo Cozmo: I saw LCD Soundsytem play Sasquatch and I was like “that’s how you do it, man.” I was blown away by their sound. And it was a last minute thing for them because Frank Ocean backed out and they showed up and it was like “Woah.” Those are good songs performed really well.
What’s one thing you want to make time to do while in Chicago?
Mondo Cozmo: I’m probably going to get pretty drunk. I’m not going to lie. It’s going to be a big celebration for us, so I probably wouldn’t talk to me after 10pm on the day the record comes out. Just stay clear.
What’s your drink of choice?
Mondo Cozmo: I’ve been doing vodka sodas because that’s the healthiest thing. But I’m a beer guy. I will drink 12 Corona’s and be able to play a softball game.
You’re touring and play festivals through October – what do you love most about being on the road? And what do you love about playing festivals?
Mondo Cozmo: The festival thing is the best because you get to hang out with the other bands. You don’t get to do that a lot and it’s awesome. It’s inspiring and there’s nothing really like it.
The tour has been great. These dudes [in the live band] are amazing. These guys have my back and they’re really good dudes and I’m humbled to be a part of this. It speaks to the larger thing of I don’t know why all these dots are connecting right now but they are.
What do you do or take with you to stay sane during tour?
Mondo Cozmo: Hand sanitizer. I have this bandana in my back pocket. It’s always on me because I don’t like to touch doorknobs. It’s in all my videos. It’s just become this thing.
What inspired the concept for the “Shine” music video?
Mondo Cozmo: It was a train wreck to get done. We handed in two videos and the label kept passing, they didn’t like it. Then we had the idea of having just the representation of a smile and seeing that reaction in slow motion – it’s a really powerful image. It turned out really great.
How did you decide on Plastic Soul for the album title?
Mondo Cozmo: I recorded the song “Plastic Soul” the weekend David Bowie passed away. I wouldn’t say I was a huge Bowie fan but I was humbled by how fearless he was. He was a true artist.
That weekend I was cleaning the house and I had a playlist going on Spotify and this song came on, and there were these opening piano chords and I was like, “man, that is stunning.” I was like I’m going to take it, make a loop of it and put it in a song. And I recorded the song in six hours, it was a really easy song to write. It was this idea of falling in love with the same person throughout history, throughout time.
It turned out the sample I used was from “Piece of My Heart” by Erma Franklin which Janis Joplin would later go on to cover and make famous. But it was an impossible sample to get cleared because it was such a famous song.
[Finally] the label got the sample cleared. It was such a risky move on my part, but it was pure Mondo – I’m going to roll the dice. We have to be fearless like this all the time because there’s a million bands out there and we need to be aggressive like that. So when they asked me what the record should be called I said, “Plastic Soul.” We were like, “Yea It’s perfect.”
Is it true that following the single release, you wrote the album in two weeks?
Mondo Cozmo: I write a lot, my superpower is putting together a song really quickly because I’ve been doing it so long. I don’t get hung up on taking too long in the studio. Either it’s working or it’s not.
What’s the best song to start your day with?
Mondo Cozmo: Okay, I got this. Ray Charles’ “One Mint Julep.” It lifts you up, instant happiness.
Being that you’re from Philly, Pat’s or Gino’s?
Mondo Cozmo: [Laughs] Pat’s. Nobody goes to Gino’s, I don’t even know how they stay open.