Cosima Jaala is an absolute sweetheart.
Last year we were stunned by the crawling vocals and alluring musical idiosyncrasies on her debut LP, Hard Hold. We were very keen to catch up and to try and get inside her head – it was like opening the portal to another world. Here is a snippet of the chat we had talking about her wild gig antics, being a creative perfectionist and dealing with haters.
You can read the full interview in Happy Mag issue #3.
Chatting with the enigmatic Jaala about lighting up ciggies at shows, being a creative perfectionist and saying ‘fuck you’ to the haters for Happy Mag issue # 3.
HAPPY: Hey Cosi! Thanks for chatting. What have you been up to lately?
CJ: I’m so cold! It’s 7 degrees in Melbourne. Lately, I’ve been working, making some music and doing some gigs and, yeah, that’s pretty much it!
HAPPY: I’ve been listening to your Hard Hold album all morning and still can’t wrap my head around the inventiveness. Tell us a bit about your musical upbringing and how you got here?
CJ: Ah, shit! Well, I didn’t have an extensive musical upbringing, but I definitely grew up being a fan of music but, the music making probably started in my early 20’s. Around then, I started making little songs on the banjo, but I was very nervous so I never really shared them.
HAPPY: Wow, that’s not so long ago! When did you start playing music?
CJ: Well, I played the flute in band, then I started playing banjo when I was 19 but, I quit that and started playing electric guitar properly a couple of years ago.
HAPPY: Do you have any particular influences?
CJ: Well, I probably listen to Björk at least once a day (laughs). Yeah, that’s definitely an influence by default just because I listen to her so much. Probably Jeff Buckley as well… big influence.
HAPPY: How did Jaala, the band, come about? Do you consider it more of a solo outing for you?
CJ: Well, it began as a solo act and then, once I gained a bit more confidence, I started playing with other people.
HAPPY: Did that come before Mangelwurzel?
CJ: Well, I started writing on my own and played in Mangelwurzel but then I started writing different sounding songs so tried it in a different band. Sounds pretty different.
HAPPY: Was everyone cool using your name as the band name? I mean, it’s a pretty sick name.
CJ: Well, they don’t really have a choice do they (laughs). Because that’s what it’s called!
HAPPY: Your Mangelwurzel gig at Newtown Social Club was one of the most insane I’ve ever seen.
CJ: That was such a crazy night!
HAPPY: (laughs) My mate almost got kicked out for smoking a cigarette you lit up!
CJ: (laughs) Yeah, I think I lit like, a whole pack of tailored ciggies. Yeah, I got really stoned that night and, I don’t usually smoke weed so it just made me go crazy.
HAPPY: I was sad to see the hiatus of Mangelwurzel! What’s the deal with that?
CJ: It’s definitely over, for good. There was like, one new song in a year and I think that indicated a good time for it to end.
HAPPY: How do you feel your work with Mangelwurzel differentiated with Jaala?
CJ: Maybe it’s like Nick Cave where he had the Birthday Party and The Bad Seeds. It was just a natural evolution.
HAPPY: You’re playing Sad Grrrls Fest in October, which is amazing. What does the festival mean to you?
CJ: It’s good to be a part of something like that because, even when I was 19, stuff like that wasn’t really happening. It’s good to see things changing in the last 5 or 6 years.It extends beyond just feminism. There are so many other voices out there that need to be heard like people of colour, trans people, queer… Sad Grrrls just celebrate all other voices except straight, white guys with their legs spread on stage playing 80’s cock rock or something. That’s kinda tiring (laughs).
HAPPY: You’ve been known to take criticism in your stride and shake it off pretty easily. In your experience in the industry, how important is it to stand up and say “fuck you” to haters and detractors?
CJ: Well, I suppose you can either say “fuck you!” or say “fuck me!”. It’s funny because I am actually my worst critic and, those horrible things people said have nothing on the horrible things I could say about myself. I think that goes hand in hand with being a creative perfectionist, though…
Check out Jaala on the cover of issue # 3 –