Getting To Know: Camella Agabalyan from Cosmic Strip

Cosmic Strip’s guitar-driven melodies will set your mind on an otherworldly voyage from the get-go. We had the pleasure to chat with Cosmic Strip’s front-woman, Camella Agabalyan on the aftermath of their mini-UK tour and the release of their new single ‘Echo Chamber’. We unpicked the meanings behind her lyrics, the future of rock and how she instills her charismatic essence into the aesthetics and sonics of the band.

I’ve noticed that you describe yourself as ‘Music to watch girls dance by, music to move the stars’. Who came up with this idea? Would you like to describe the concept behind it to our readers?

I came up with that concept years ago. I wanted to depict the sensation of dreaming in a social context and translate the mood of the music I was writing. Andy Williams would have been a big inspiration to me at the time, i.e. “music to watch girls by”. “Music to move the stars” is a book by Jane Hawking, which I came across back then too. I felt it described exactly what I wanted my music to achieve.

Your new single ‘Echo Chamber’: What can you tell us about it? Have you been trying new things out?

I’m really excited to get this out. It’s very different from anything we’ve done before, and more mature in terms of song writing. It feels risky, but it’s quite a step forward for the band. The theme is very topical at the moment so we’re hoping people will engage with the concept immediately.

Your first single ‘Goodbye’: There’s this sort of 60’s warm fuzzy feeling in the beginning, followed by the psych-guitar riffs. They all complement each other really well. I saw that you recently dropped the visual treatment. Want to let us in the idea behind it?

I originally wrote the song with a very dark theme – I imagined a young girl killing herself after having been left broken-hearted. I wanted to inspire myself by various subjects from depression to anxiety to love. For the music video, Tess Parks and myself worked closely together while focusing on the idea of loosing love in friendships. These never get mentioned as much as usual heartbreak and we felt that it’s a very strong topic a lot of people can relate to.

‘Goodbye’, ‘Eternal Sunshine’, ‘Insomnia’, ‘Love Heroine’: Do you have a particular story that you’re trying to tell here? Or are these inspired by particular episodes that you’re going through in your life?

All these songs have been inspired by periods of my life at the time of writing them. The writing has always been very nostalgic, melancholic and wistful as that’s the part of my personality I attach the most to Cosmic Strip.

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I can see that you also have a very strong aesthetic identity. I met artists that start with visuals first and allow for that to inspire their music. Is this the case with Cosmic Strip?

I’m a big dreamer when it comes to music.  I’ve always wanted to lift people to another space with my own music.  I feel it’s important in those terms to have a strong visual identity, as it helps people understand the message you want to convey.

You could say that rock is one of the most tradition-led genres. Do you feel like that is shifting a little bit now? Do you feel like there is more room for experimentation?

People are constantly saying that ‘rock is dead’ and ‘indie is over’ but I completely disagree. On a wider commercial level we have shifted towards a more urban sound, but there is so much exciting music out there that’s guitar based that can still blow you away. We’re also seeing a peak of women in bands, which I find really exciting as I think it brings a new dynamic to the table. And finally we have so many new electronic developments that just wouldn’t have existed in the 60s and 70s that we really don’t have any excuses now not to be challenge in terms of song writing.

Collaboration is also at all-time high lately. Is this something that you’ve considered doing?

This is something I would love to do. I’m a huge fan of bands like Django Django, Jagwar Ma or Drones Club who are taking things to a whole new level and it would be a dream for me to collaborate on something like that as Cosmic Strip.

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I saw that you had a busy summer as well. Played at The Great Escape, Citadel, The Secret Garden Party, Wilderness… What’s been your best experience performing live in your career so far?

That’s a good question actually! Sometimes you forget to sit back and look at your achievements. I would have to say the most exciting live show for me was the one at the Moth Club last year. It was our first big headline show. It was an amazing experience performing to a packed-out crowd and the venue is the most beautiful space in London.

Future plans: What are the bands ambitions for next year? Is there any new body of work coming out soon?

We have another music video coming out soon. Next year, our plans is to take a break, work on an EP and come back in time for festival season again where we are hoping to play even more shows than before. We’re hoping for nothing but cosmic things to happen in the near future…

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