The Man Behind Mondo Cozmo

The band Mondo Cozmo is one of the fastest rising musicals acts of the year. The band released a single called ‘Shine’ roughly a year ago and it quickly rose to the number one spot on the Billboard AAA (Adult Alternative Songs) chart. Since then the band has picked up speed and has no intentions of slowing down. With an incredibly busy schedule preparing for their debut album ‘Plastic Soul’ to be released and performing at basically every festival this summer, Festival Squad was extremely lucky to sit down with the front man of Mondo Cozmo, Josh Ostrander.

Festival Squad: Thank you so much for taking time out of your crazy summer schedule to sit down with me at Forecastle!

Mondo Cosmo: No problem!!

FS: Are you guys going to be here all weekend?

MC: No I think we’re heading out soon, we have to be in Quebec, Canada tomorrow! Apparently it’s pronounced Kwa-bek and not Que-bec. I’ve been having trouble with that all week. But we land around 3:30 in the morning and fly out of Nashville, TN.

FS: Isn’t that about a four hour drive from here to Nashville?

MC: Is it that long? Hey Josh, how long is the drive back to Nashville?

Josh: I think it’s about three hours but we gain an hour.

MC: Ahh so we travel through time, might age like three years.

*we all laugh*

FS: So where are you from?

MC: I grew up in Philly, but I’m now living in LA.

FS: Which one do you like better?

MC: LA! There’s things about Philly that I like, but I need sunshine or I get really depressed.

FS: I feel the exact same way. So you guys have been playing shows all over the country and been at a ton of festivals!

MC: Yeah man! We lucked out, we booked like every one of them.

FS: How did you pull that off?!

MC: I don’t know man! Honestly, I think it was just the right time. When the single came out and we played a couple shows in LA and we sold them out. They were small clubs, like 150-200 people max. And then… I think this might have been the first festival we booked, but we booked the first festival and we were like ‘this is awesome, we just booked a festival and we’ve only played two shows!’ But then we booked a second, and then a third. Then we got on Jimmy Kimmel!! Right before we went on TV, I remember thinking ‘this is crazy! We don’t even have an album out, we’ve only released a few singles!’ It was really cool.

FS: That’s awesome. Your album is scheduled to release on August, 4th. I believe you’re going to be at Lollapalooza that day?

MC: Yup!

FS: Are you excited? Doing anything to celebrate?!

MC: I can’t wait for people to hear the full album! I’m so excited. But yeah… I’m probably going to get really drunk…

*we all laugh*

FS: So you recorded your album in a small cabin in Joshua Tree, CA?

MC: Yeah, I rented a little cabin out there. When ‘Shine’ hit number one on the AAA chart the label called and said that they wanted to do a full length album, at that point we were only going to do an EP. So I was like ‘yeah! Let’s do it!’ I write songs pretty quick and record everything myself so I could turn it around really fast. So I was like ‘yeah let’s do a full length’ then they asked what I could do in two weeks and I was like ‘holy shit’.

FS: Wow that is a really short amount of time.

MC: Yeah, so I went out and took my dog and my computer and knocked it out.

FS: Your dog’s name is Cozmo? You named the band after him right?

MC: Yeah! He’s my guy! He’s a rescue dog. He had a broken leg when we got him and didn’t even know it!

FS: Where did you get him from?

MC: Some shitty shelter in LA. I felt so bad because when you get a dog the first thing you do is run him into the ground. You take him to every park, throw every ball, meet as many dogs as possible. And the poor guy had a busted leg and we didn’t even know it. It broke my heart. But yeah, I had just enough time to fall in love with the dog so I took him to the vet and was like here’s all my money can you fix this dog’s leg?

FS: That’s awesome! Alright, you’ve been bouncing around a bunch of festivals. I saw you at Bonnaroo, you still have Lollapalooza, you’ve played at Hangout and so many more. What’s been your favorite festival so far?

MC: We did Sasquatch, that was fun, it’s beautiful out there on the gorge! Boston Calling was fun. I think Bonnaroo was hands down the greatest moment ever.

FS: You got a ton of killer reviews for that performance!

MC: I remember it was such a frantic day, and we walked out on stage, and I was so in my head. My bass player Chris came up to me and was like ‘get out of your fucking head!’ and I was like yeah, you’re right. It woke me up and from that moment on it was like let’s go and the music took over. When we were done we were like that was good. Then the next day we were like wait that was kinda really great. Then we watched footage and was like holy shit! It was such an intense moment and the crowd went on forever and you couldn’t see where it ended. It was amazing where we’ve come from since October!

FS: Oh yeah, you guys haven’t been together for that long.

MC: Yup, the first show we played together was the end of October.

FS: You’ve been performing with bands for a lot longer than that though right?

MC: Oh yeah! I’ve been doing it since I was a kid! Since high school! I was in a bunch of bands. I was in one band called Eastern Conference Champions for ten years that did ok!

FS: Is this your favorite band or just the most successful?

MC: It’s different, it’s weird having the success that I’ve had this year, I really cherish it, I went so long without having any of that. You’re looking at the happiest dude on the planet man. I’m just so grateful, I should be digging holes somewhere but I’m not, I’m playing in front of people! It’s awesome, I love that.

FS: So you’re on a festival tour pretty much all summer, what are your plans come fall?

MC: Were doing our own headlining run in the fall but it’s in clubs for like 300-400 people. But I’m stoked for it, we played our very own show in Nashville last night and it was awesome. It’s really cool to go to these cities and not have to open up for people because we did to an arena tour where we opened up for Bastille.

FS: How was that?

MC: It was insane! It was awesome, our first show we played in front of 10,000 people. We were like holy moly. At that point it was before we played any of the festivals. I’m really thankful for that tour because it set us up for us to go onto these festivals and kinda kill it because it was really sink or swim. It was like ‘alright, 10,000 people, lets go!’

FS: How did the whole Jimmy Kimmel thing get set up? Did they reach out to you or did you all have to apply for it?

MC: I think my label reached out to them and sent in my single. I’m not sue, some people talked to some people and it was set up! *we laugh* But yeah that was a tremendous experience!

FS: Ok last question, you got your festival tour going on now, your first album comes out at the start of August, what’s next?

MC: Oh you know, check into rehab *we laugh* but you know what man, I actually  just recently finished shooting a music video for ‘Automatic’ and it’s a full on dance video and I was so scared to do it. It was my idea to do it, and uh, I fucking killed it! I was working really hard and I trained to dance, I took lessons, and I was so proud of myself. I keep trying to put myself in situations where I’m scared. You’ve got to do something every day that puts you out of your comfort zone. It really paid off, I feel really good about it. I think that’s coming out soon!

FS: I can’t wait! Thank you so much for talking with us! I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for you!

MC: Thanks man, I appreciate that so much!

Mondo Cozmo has quickly become one of my favorite bands. After watching their performance at Bonnaroo and Forecastle, it’s easy to see why every festival wanted to book this band. This talented group of musicians have stayed very humble throughout this crazy year and have the potential to do amazing things! Don’t miss your chance to see them this festival season and keep an eye out for their newest music video!

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