Cozmos Quazar and the Glass Genius are a band from Montreal that’s worth noticing. They will be part of the Montreal Pop Festival, a weekend extravaganza with hundreds of concerts taking place around the city. Here is a brief interview with Cozmos and his guitarist Mark Greenberg.
Who are you?
Cozmos Quazar: Well… I’m Cozmos Quazar, of the Philadelphia Quazars, and I’ve recorded a solo album after an excessively strange two year year run in the band Agent Cooper. I started out just doing solo acoustic shows, which has its allure in a way, but I’m glad to have a full band backing me up these days. They’re called The Glass Genius.
Mark Greenberg: I’m just a pawn in the greater scheme of things, really… And I have the honour of playing guitar in The Glass Genius.
What do you do?
CQ: Obviously I’m a musician first and foremost, but I’m also co-owner of an Indie record label called Querin (k’where-in) Records. We release mostly singer/songwriter stuff in several genres, jazz-pop, alt rock, alt country and so on. My stuff pretty much ranges from the soft, folkie, Yo-La-Tengo side of things way over to raw, loud, early Pavement/ Sonic Youth-style rock’n’roll. Basically it’s music for schizophrenics or people with bi-polar disorder who have very opposite feelings every few seconds; that and people who actually like hearing variety in a band and not the same sound from the start of an album to the finish.
MG: I do great things. My current projects include vaccines, antidotes, a cosmetics line, counter-antidotes, a tree house and an orbiting satellite that tracks down republicans and violently pelts them with a barrage of space rocks. I also delve into music here and there.
What is your musical history until now?
CQ: Well I started out in a post-punk sort of band called Jilted By Gerry when I got out of High school and that lasted a while, from 1998 to 2000 I think. Then we fused with a local three piece called Bleary and became Agent Cooper, which ended being what the Pixies would sound like produced by Thurston Moore and Steve Albini. That was sort of a flash-in-the-pan good time; played some shows, released an ep, disbanded. One of those tragic “can’t keep a steady line-up” situations. Also I play keyboard for Amanda Mabro & The Cabaret Band – a jazz-pop, cabaret sextet – for about three years now and for A Vertical Mosaic – experimental indie techno rock – for under a year. Aside from that I’ve had a recording side project the whole time with my band-mate and label partner Patrick Therin called So Fancy.
Most recently though, there’s Cozmos Quazar & The Glass Genius and the album, Our Nature’s Capital which you can get at indie stores (i.e. Cheap Thrills, CD Esoterik, etc.) or online at the Querin Records webstore, www.querinrecords.com.
MG: You know: the usual story… Many now defunct high school bands spanning the rock scenes of the 90’s, from grunge to industrial. Last year, I formed a noise-rock trio called Empire Under Attack, but my musical ambitions and personality conflicts led to a break-up earlier this summer. That was when Quazar approached me about this project, and I haven’t looked back since. The musical direction of this band is very exciting, and I feel like I finally found a great bunch of people to collaborate with.
What can people look forward to at Pop Montreal?
CQ: I have this impression of the festival that it’s sort of like a huge party shared between all the venues in town, and I hope it plays out that way with people coasting from venue to venue, just having a good time. I think that mentality will definitely be reflected in out set; it’s a party… check your inhibitions at the door and become insane.
MG: I think you can expect something akin to blaring an overheated radio in a Swedish sauna. I believe the Barfly is suitable for most tropical species of plants and animals, so be prepared to sweat. We’ve been told that the raw sound of that venue brings out the best in our performances, so you won’t be disappointed.
What is your favourite thing about the Montreal music scene?
CQ: Ahh yes… the Montreal music scene: Always intriguing, always bittersweet. Essentially, we have possibly the largest talent pool of any one city in the country. There’s certainly a dare-to-be-different quality to the scene that I never appreciate more than when playing in other towns. Sure there are pitfalls, but the local scene also produces some of the most ingeniously poignant moments.
MG: I have to agree with Quazar: there is a great deal of potential here, and the influences of the Halifax/New York retro-indie scenes and the Toronto rock scene permeate our town marvellously.
Apart from our geographical advantage, we also have a fairly close-knit music community. However, our major fallout is that all but a few venues require the artist to pay a fee in order to play. This practice is particularly common here, and disadvantages many artists who lose a great deal of money when they do not recoup their investment in a show.
Catch Cozmos Quazar and the Glass Genius at Pop Montreal, Thursday Sept. 25 at Barfly, 4062A St-Laurent. 284-6665
E-mail your name and phone number to: firstname.lastname@example.org before Oct. 12 and you will win a copy of the new Cozmos record, as well as a bunch of other Querin Records goodies!