Kosmoratik is a recording and performing band based in Oslo, with an ambition to explore complex themes through a musical framework with influences from songwriters as Nick Drake and John Martyn, the first wave of progressive rock as well as the Beatles and the magic of the pop song.
Read the Progstravaganza questionnaire answered by Eivind Johansen.
How did you come to do what you do?
I met Lise Lotte Ågedal (Kosmoratik co-singer) some years ago when I was in a band doing heavy improvised music on Friday evenings, basically making a lot of noise!
At the time, I had grown tired of the concept and wanted to do music with more structure. I had written new song based material at this point, which I introduced to Lise Lotte.
This was the beginning of us singing together, as well as for me finding other things to do on Friday evenings… When we started working on the first album “Gravitation” I met Odd Gunnar Frøysland, and that was the start of both Odd joining the band as well as a songwriting partnership.
What is your first musical memory?
My first musical memory is the Beatles records my father brought into the family home. And I think that from a very early stage in life I knew I had to be involved with music in some way or another.
And my ambitions were primary directed towards being a writer and a singer, as I was making up songs and singing, as soon as I got to know the magical world of music.
And I used to listen to the radio, mostly Swedish radio, as Norwegian radio at the time did not play much rock music, recording on to cassettes with a handheld microphone.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
I have listened to a lot of music over the years and I guess there are influences from many different sources. But I am particularly fond of music from the 70s; singer /songwriters like Richard Thompson, Nick Drake, John Martyn and the first wave of progressive rock bands; Genesis, Pink Floyd, Yes and Focus, a very underrated band, if you ask me.
I am also a big fan the Incredible String Band, strange and beautiful music indeed.
Of contemporary artists I like Motorpsycho, The Bevis Frond and Stephen Malkmus as well as Paddy McAloon of Prefab Sprout. He’s great songwriter.
What message does the song on our Progstravaganza compilation carry?
This is a personal favorite from the “Bridges and boats” album. It’s a song about music and friendship, when the 2nd side of “Abbey Road” was both a compass and anchor in life.
Do you tend to follow any pre-defined patterns when composing a piece?
I usually start when finding an interesting chord progression on the guitar or piano. This will be the basis for the melody and the development of the piece. I like songs not to be straightforward and linear, but containing twists and turns to make it more exciting, not always knowing what to expect. (Maybe it can be compared to the roller coaster ride of a really great guitar-solo.)
What is your method of songwriting?
I basically write all the time; on the train, at work, at home, trying to hold on to hold to the ideas and music that I hear. I record very rough musical sketches on my I-phone. Then I work out the structure of the song in the rehearsal space and in the songwriting partnership with Odd, where he refines my sometimes “rambling” ideas with adding new melodic content, writing instrumental passages and arranging the songs for the instruments we want to use. Some songs emerge almost fully formed. However, for the most of the time it’s hard work. But it’s a work I’m very happy of being able to do.
How do you see your music evolving?
Well, the internet has been very good for us in getting our music out to listeners throughout the world. And it’s a tremendously rewarding experience sharing the music globally. We have fans all over the world, which makes me very proud. And I really hope we should be able to take this further, ideally also playing live outside Norway.
What advice would you give to other musicians, trying to make inspired music and get it out in the world?
I think the most important advice is to keep on working, though it’s hard to get noticed – even if your talent is strong. And you will meet any number of closed doors.
It’s a lot of hard work involved. Nothing comes easy. But you must always keep the faith in what you do. At one point one door will open.
What are you looking forward to?
At the moment, I am looking forward to work out the new material we have written this winter in the rehearsal space. We will also be sharing new songs on the internet – look out – soon to come!
Kosmoratik on the web:
Bands, send your music submissions for the Progstravaganza compilation series to firstname.lastname@example.org