Another ride on those Cosmic Waves

The four-piece Copenhagen post-punk band Cosmic Waves kicks out their latest video and tell us all about the joy of making it DIY

Published: November 6, 2018Words: Simon Kirk & J.Scott StrattonArtist Link: simonkirkartist.gallery

In many ways, the new single ‘Dead Night’ by the four-piece shoegaze band Cosmic Waves takes me back to a not so distant past. The simple, but rhythmic guitar drone, the reverb, the haunted voice of singer Lisbet Randefelt transporting me to the smoke filled basement of a Nørrebro dive-bar. A place that I always felt was pumping life into indie and punk music in Copenhagen.

To give some context to this reverie, prior to its demise and transformation into overpriced hipster beer bar, Drone was (in my opinion) one of the most important venues of the city’s indie music scene. Post-punk, dark-wave, psychedelic, folk-punk, art rock, Scando-wave and a host of other ridiculous musical classifications – the shitty little black-walled basement venue was loud, moody, and teeming with young artists and musicians trying to make a statement. When I listen to ‘Dead Night’ I am reminded of that same stalwart DIY tenacity that I often enjoyed every Thursday night in Drone’s crappy basement venue.

To get back to the context of the band and the single, the band found help to film, edit and produced by friend-of-the-band Stina Broström – vocalist and music in Swedish post-punk band Svart Magi. They pulled out all the low-fi tricks available to them with no budget and big ambitions. ‘Dead Night’ has that heart, and low-fi quality, that can only come from a place in a band‘s career where every little step they take is truly “worked for.” There were no big budgets, no film crews, directors, props, or actors – just a four-piece band and a friend with a camera.

I asked them what the song was about, and how they crafted the video to give visual life to the music, and this is what the band had to say:

“Our three main inspirations for the video were first of all the music video for Primary by The Cure, because of the nice close up filming of the band members and the overlapping shots from other sequences. This inspiration was used for recording in our rehearsal room, an old cold war bunker from the 60’s, where you can see close up shots of our hands and faces. We actually had to cover the whole bunker with blankets in order to make the room completely dark and monotone, in order to get those nice and clean shots. Second inspiration was the video for Endless Sleeper by The Raveonettes, with all the flickering flashes and the black and white filming. Lastly, perhaps surprisingly, the video for Summertime Sadness by Lana Del Rey, because we really like the different overlapping layers and the nature shots. For our video, we went to this nature park called Dyrehaven outside of Copenhagen, while also capturing some beach scenery from Bellevue Strand. Obviously, we are all fans of these 3 mentioned acts and thought it would also be a nice homage to them.”
The song is a story in itself. It was written at a time, where the band was feeling pretty frustrated and felt unable to move forward with songwriting. Martin had had an idea for a chorus in his head for some years and always wanted to use it for a song. One day in the bunker, Lisbet started jamming on some notes, which melted together with Martin’s long waited chorus. Martin went home and wrote the lyrics in one go.
For me, it’s always hard to describe, exactly what is going on in the songs, as they seem to come from somewhere, that isn’t quite connected with me or how I am as a person. Therefore, I still feel that I have to interpret the songs myself. With this one in particular though, I’m pretty sure what it’s about: It’s the feeling of meeting a person that you for some reason, quite instantly develop a powerful connection with.
It quickly turns out though, that this person isn’t doing you any good, but at the same time, you feel that you can’t live without him or her. In the end, the strong connection just turns to frustration (You make the waves in me roar) over not being able to make things work and so you decide to cut yourself loose from that person, but at the same time fall into a deep hole (The last leaf on a tree is falling into the sea).

Regardless of whether post-punk and shoegaze is your jam, you have to hand it to a band that puts everything into taking their music to the visual platform, without budget or resources. Indie bands don’t need to make music videos anymore. You can stream anything you can think of from your phone, Facebook isn’t going to give a video any reach until you empty your wallet, and MTV hasn’t shown videos since they found they can make more money making TV about uppity pregnant teenagers and how obnoxious people from Jersey are.

For Cosmic Waves, Dead Night was simply another playground to play in. Another place where they could further the meaning of the song – the solitude, the heartache, and frustration that powers the premise of Dead Night. Personally, the song itself takes me to another time, while the video tells me a story, and in my opinion, it succeeds at both.