Your Weekend Playlist, Courtesy of Cosmo Pyke
Cosmo Pyke first came on the scene with the release of his 2017 EP “Just Cosmo.” At a young age, the Peckham-born musician, skater, and spray paint artist immediately went viral. With thousands of streams on his SoundCloud songs, he graced the storefront of London’s Topman on Oxford Street and was featured in Frank Ocean’s “Nikes” video. Three years later, we spoke to Pyke about what he’s been working on through the interim. We visited him at his home to get to know the artist a bit better through his taste in music. He pulled together a playlist featuring the work of his friends and his classic favorites.
And for those of you wondering, yes, he’s promised us a new EP.
Pulling up the playlist right now. Why these songs? I noticed there’s a lot of Beatles and Bob Dylan and…
Are they people that you collaborate with?
I don’t do collaborations, but we are all friends. I grew up with them and we all hang out a lot in South London together.
Why don’t you do collaborations?
I haven’t been posed with the right people yet. I’m looking to do some in the near future.
What are you working on right now?
I’m working on a five-track EP that’ll come out sometime this year.
That’s amazing. How would you say that it relates to the work that you’ve put out so far?
Everything’s pretty different; but my last tape, it took like three years to write it. So there’s all different styles and genres. They’ve been all worked up to the point where I’m happy with them; ready to share with the world.
What is your process like? Do you save melodies on your voice notes? Or do you pick up a guitar first? Do you write in your journal? How does it typically happen?
Yeah, I write in my journal, I write guitar melodies and chords. I might have lyrics that I already in my phone. I write them and then sing them, and then keep on changing the lyrics until I’ve got something I like. After the guitar and after I’ve written some lyrics, I’ll try and sing a freestyle so I could carry on the song to make it longer.
What instruments do you play?
I’ve only been taught a guitar and a little bit of bass. On my first record, I played bass guitar and synth. I sing and play harmonica on this next record, and I’ve just kind of learned in the past two years. I’m kind of self-taught, apart from guitar and bass.
How long have you been making music?
I’m 21, so like five years now — but I’ve been playing guitar since I was eight. I wrote songs when I was like 11-years-old.
https://open.spotify.com/playlist/7BFiINm5knssm1hLpuBOM8?si=LkyCxb_fRPai3BDi1laohgMy parents are musical. My mom, she plays the violin. She used to be in a feminist trio called Clapperclaw, that I sampled in my first record on “Wish You Were Gone.” They were a feminist trio that was kind of big in Scandinavia. They played in MelkWeg in Amsterdam; they’ve got videos on YouTube.
In the video it kind of sounds like she’s saying, “People all over the world are building nappy heads, and Cosmo Pyke has turned into a crash,” or something shit like that. I need to ask her what she actually said because it sounds like she’s saying my name. I mean, it was obviously before I was born, so I don’t think she was. Neither my mom and my dad named me, my godfather did. Everyone thinks my name is a stage name, but it is genuinely my real name.
Your record came out in February 2017 — the anniversary is coming up, how does that feel?
Yeah right around when Steve Lacy dropped Dark Red.
I feel normal. I don’t know, I feel good. A lot of good stuff has happened since that time. I’ve gone all over the world, I’ve traveled many places and played shows, and met a lot of people who listen to my music. So yeah, I feel happy.
When you released it, were you kind of shocked that it had such a quick impact? I feel that it was a bit like wildfire.
I was already really shocked before I’d even gone into the studio. I was making music with such a big producer.
I put out two songs before I dropped my EP. They were the songs that I’d written whilst I was at school, and I then recorded my tape. I wrote some as well with a producer, Fraser T Smith. It was nice to work with someone who was actually helping me and wanted me to do well.
And then when I released my music, I don’t know, I don’t really remember. I didn’t really know a lot about anything at the time. And now I’ve learned so much; I’ve had so many experiences in the music industry, and I’ve learned how much of a big deal that shit was.
I was on the front of TopMan in Oxford Street. I’d come up the tube and see myself, and I didn’t care. I think the older I got, the more I was exposed to how amazing that shit is, really, when I think back on it. Like that would never happen now.
Your record still really resonates with people — I think whenever it plays or if your work ever comes up in conversation, it’s still in a really positive light.
Yeah, I think the sound is very West Coast. It kind of sets my style in that record. I don’t really know who I drew inspiration off, maybe it was Joni Mitchell, who is kind of Californian, who I’ve always kind of respected.
I’ve always kind of wanted to go there. I’ve always been a skateboarder, so I’ve been inspired by a lot of skateboarders, and the culture of Dogtown, surfing, all these brilliant skaters, and innovators, and musicians.
When I first dropped my music, everyone said like, “Oh, this is gonna go down really well on the West Coast.” I know the West Coast loves it, but I didn’t think…you know everyone loves it; all over America. I’m just happy that I got to make music with such great people and travel the world, and get to do it.
And now , I get to do it with this next record, with more of an understanding of the industry, and my worth, and everything that goes hand in hand with music.
What would you be happy to have accomplished by the end of the year?
Just drop some new music, and go to America. I want to play in LA, in New York, and everywhere in between.
What’s a question that you wished someone would ask you?
If they would, I don’t know, marry me or something.
DIRECTOR + PHOTOGRAPHER: Dana Boulos
PRODUCER: Ella Jayes
EDITOR: Jordan Shelwood
MUSIC: Cosmo Pyke
Stay tuned to Milk for more Weekend Playlists.