Joshua Ostrander spent several years in indie bands such as Eastern Conference Champions and LaGuardia before breaking off to form Mondo Cozmo, his first solo project. He broke onto the scene following the release of his hit song “Shine” and just wrapped up a tour with Bastille. The past year has been a whirlwind for Joshua and has only begun, as he has yet to release a debut album. Find out what he had to say about all of this at Shaky Knees Festival.
You were in LaGuardia and Eastern Conference Champions before going solo. What inspired you to break off and start Mondo Cozmo?
Ah man, it was easy seeing as we just hit a wall. ECC just hit a wall, man. We were doing it for 10 years , man, almost 11. I had been playing with my drummer for 15 years, and we got to this point where it was like we couldn’t make decisions anymore. We couldn’t book shows. And we had a record that we couldn’t get anyone to put out. It became clear. It was really sad, when a band realizes that it’s hit a wall and they’ve got to start over. That was me, man. I just had to start over. I was working two jobs and recording songs in my guest bedroom, and for some reason, I just hit the mark. I wrote “Shine” and “Plastic Soul” over the course of two months.
Was there an aha moment? Obviously, Mondo Cozmo has garnered far more attention than ECC in a far quicker manner, so was there any moment where you realized this is it, that you had finally made it?
Standing on Jimmy Kimmel’s stage and I was like holy shit. Like this is happening. I was like there’s cameras pointed at me and lights. It’s happening quick, but at the same time I’ve worked my whole life to get here, so it doesn’t feel like it. It feels like I’m ready, like this is my time. That’s what my mom says. She says it’s my season. Whatever that means.
Has your mom seen you play recently?
Yeah she just saw me on the Bastille run. We played West Lafayette, Indiana. I got in trouble because I was like “great show Lafayette”, and everybody on Twitter was like it’s West, jerk.
About the Bastille run. That’s a huge band. How was that experience?
It was seven weeks of pure bliss. Like catering, the most comfortable touring imaginable.
Did you have a relationship with the Bastille guys before that tour?
No. They just asked us to do the run, and we were like sure, because we’d only played a couple shows up to that point. Our first show was the Air Canada center, which was in front of like 10,000 people.
How was that transition going from basically no shows to your first show being in front of 10,000 people?
It was just one of those nights where you show up and you’re in front of 10,000 people, and it’s sink or swim. We just attacked it, just like we do everything. We’re just so laser-focused right now. It’s a good spot to be in.
And you’ve done this whole tour without an album out yet?
No haha. The mix is done. My buddy Spike is mixing it and it’s coming out in August. So it’s all done. The center of our mix is right now. It’s sounding good, man.
As for your inspirations, I know you’re a big Springsteen guy, but I’ve also read where you’re a big fan of the Gallagher brothers. I must ask. Are we ever going to see an Oasis reunion?
Ah, man I don’t know. Those guys hate each other. That would be awesome.
Have you ever seen them live?
No, but Noel emailed me once. About something.
I take it you’ve been through Atlanta a lot, having been in music for years. What’s your go-to spot? If you only have one night in town, what are you doing?
Yeah, it’s one of those cities you’ve got to hit. I like to eat local food when I can if I’m in town. Atlanta has some serious food on its hands. It’s a problem. And, I like to drink.
Any sets you’re looking forward to seeing this weekend?
I have to, unfortunately, jump on a plane right after this, but I’m going to try and see some of Bishop Briggs’ set and Dr. Dog. I’m a big Dr. Dog fan.
Last question. 5 years ago and 5 years from now. What were you doing and what will you be doing?
5 years from now Ill probably be in rehab… But nah, I’ll probably be on the road, man, doing what I love. 5 years ago, I was working a job and writing songs. You know what I mean. This is what I do.
Any hard goals for Mondo Cozmo?
I’d like to do a headlining run this fall. That’s what we’re working towards, a really quality headlining tour. So we’re doing all the leg work now to make sure people enjoy the sound.