Jemma Freeman rocked our world with her stunning voice and beautiful songs when she played for us many moons (May 2016) ago at the Veg Bar. Delighted that she's coming back to play for us when we take over a night at Genesis Cinema on 3 March, along with Pussyliquor and Militant Girlfriend! This time she's bringing her band – The Cosmic Something – aka Jason and Mark. (Fun fact: Mark is the sound wizard who runs Marketstall Recording, much beloved studio of many of LOUD WOMEN's favourite bands!) We asked the trio 10 questions ...
1. Who would you most like to cover one of your songs?
Jemma: David Byrne covering ‘Kopenhagen’. Or Anna Calvi doing ‘Black Rain’.
Jason and Mark: Fugazi doing anything. *Fugazi plays in the background*
2. If you could add one member to your band – any person, living or dead, musical or otherwise – who would it be, and what would they play?
Jemma: I’d have Jodi Foster on synth, or Mick Ronson at prime Ziggy period on guitar, but it would probably make me cry so I’ll stick to Jodi.
Jason: I’d have mein haus back anytime on every track.
Mark: I’d have Ken Loach on merch.
3. If your music could have a superpower, what would it be?
Jemma: Flying. No question
4. What’s best: playing a big venue full of strangers, or a small pub full of friends?
Jason; small venue full of strangers, playing to your friends is cheating! Smaller is better definitely.
Mark: you need to be able to see the people on stage sweat.
Jemma: small pub full of friends, a receptive audience makes you play better and it’s nice for things to feel busy.
5. Recommend a record and a book that you think our readers might not have heard of
Jemma: Trans like me by CN Lester because it’s super inspiring and covers lots of territory surrounding gender and being a performer, also my friend sent it to me as a surprise and it was lovely to recieve in the post .
For a record, I think a band called Nots are one of the best live bands I saw last year, they have this great krauty vibe and all the women in that band have the best energy it translates to the record really well.
Mark: Book – Trout Fishing in America by Richard Brautigan, because the language is so beautiful it doesn’t matter if you need to read it three or four times it’s a pleasure. He builds these amazing landscapes and there is no particular narrative, you build up your own. I found it a great book being a dyslexic because you can just get lost in all the threads it’s great.
Cath Carrols‘ record on factory is great, such a weird mix of a really great voice, jazzy but not in an annoying way it’s from about 1988 before acid jazz got shit, so its like acid jazz done like acid house.
Jason: Morphine all their albums are great but cure for pain is good.
6. One for the guitarists … bore us with the details of your set-up please.
Jemma: Feel free to edit this! I have too much gear!!! [Ed. – no way, we need to know!]
I have a penchant for Jazzmaster style guitars and I have two with hand wound P90 pickups made by Philippe Dubreuille and one with two single coils more like a Tele made by Nash. There are a few other vintage beauts, but they tend to stay at home. I have a lot of pedals…here is my current live set up:
- Boss tuner
- Fairfield circuitry compressor
- Earthquaker Devices Sea Machine
- OCD overdrive
- Death by Audio Fuzzwar
- EHX Hog
- Empress Super Delay
- Boss RV5
- Red Panda Raster
- Analog Man Sunface Fuzz
My amp is an absolute babe; it’s a Mesa Boogie Mark IV it weighs a tonne and it isn’t popular with the band when we have to move it… but it’s worth it for the glassy, silky smooth clean tone it has…that I subsequently mess the hell out of with all the pedals mentioned above. They are often used by metal bands, you can add amazing harmonics to it through all the weird switches on the back, it’s a brilliant recording amp.
7. What’s the best thing about being in your band?
Jason and Jemma: It’s really fun! It’s fantastic to play with other people, it’s the people in it.
Mark: this the nicest band I’ve ever been in, everyone is great
8. What are your band goals?
Jemma: To keep making records and to keep playing live. I want to tour around the UK and Europe (anyone want to be tour buddies?) To push myself as a songwriter and work with people that challenge me and make me grow as a musician.
9. What’s the most important thing we need to know about your band right now?
All: We are in a Corsa with full back line on our way to the seaside, listening to Fugazi.
10. Give your top 5 contemporary bands.
- Cowtown. They are so fast and the riffs are soooooo good and Hilary is amazing on synths live. I literally dance from start to finish at their shows.
- Socket. I don’t think they have anything released yet but I saw them play the Five Bells and I was blown away by their creativity and energy they remind me of sonic youth, scuzzy but with really great basslines and a powerful singer.
- Guttfull. Momoe is the greatest frontperson of a band of all time, the band is like a juggernaut.
- Party Fears. I had never heard them before and live they are just fantastic, their songs are catchy as hell, I can still hum some now
- Yowie. They are from Portland and are the most ridiculous math rock, I’ve never seen any other approach to music like that.
Find Jemma Freeman and the Cosmic Something on Facebook or – BETTER! – come see them at LOUD WOMEN at Genesisters on 3 March!