When it comes to Justin and the Cosmics, one of his fans says it best:
“Eternally cool customer and frontman to one of my favorite Nashville bands, Justin and The Cosmics, Justin Collins makes great music in just about every way possible. Whether it be his powers of production and collaboration or equally valued more personal offerings, Justin has remained a bit of a best kept secret in our little town, but I suspect not for much longer.” – Caitlin Rose
Justin and the Cosmics have another album in the works, Schooly Days, which will be released some time in September. They play East Side Social this Saturday at 4 p.m.
Has touring the South given you any inspiration for new music?
I don’t think touring ever gives me any inspiration for new music. It gives me appreciation for all music, and a realization that Nashville is not the center of music. Nashville’s a hard place to play, most often, but when you get out, you realize that there’s so many places out there filled with people who want to play music just to play music.
Going on tour throws me off in a good way. It gets me out of the bubble I feel like I’m in when I’m here, you know? It’s a relief. It’s very much a relief. I would rather play anywhere else but Nashville when I play. I have fun playing here, don’t get me wrong, but it doesn’t compare to other places.
I like the musical comradery that lives and breeds in Nashville, but I think that Nashville is a little over-saturated right now in a not so healthy way. I feel like there’s just too much competition in the city. There’s too much over-thinking, too. But, that all trades itself for good musicianship. You have to be a good musician if you want to play in Nashville.
Do the Cosmics ever play songs you originally wrote for your solo project?
Yes. Yes they do. I write everything. I’m not even sure why I call it the Cosmics. I guess I’ve been playing with those guys for so long that it’d be silly not to use that name. I’ve known them too long. I’ve known them long enough to know everything about them — long enough to hate them as much as I love them.
What sets Schooly Dreams apart from your past albums?
I feel really good about this album. I feel real strong about the songs and the lyrics. I like the approach we took with it. It’s real simple and raw, and it’s a little bit more chill in comparison with the stuff I’ve done in the past. It’s still heavy, but it’s chill. It’s way different from, like, my song “Hey Dude.” That stuff I recorded in my house on a 4-track.
A song like “Father Christmas” suggests that any style of lyrics can be used in a grunge rock song. Where do songs like this come from?
Well, for that one, it was just Christmas time, and we wanted to write a Christmas song. So my partner Adam Landry wrote the chords, and I wrote the lyrics, and we put it in the studio and recorded. I don’t really know where that comes from. It’s not anything we ever set out to do, it just comes out. I think if you ever try to plan on it turning out a certain way, then it’s no good any more. I mean, it’s like, you always aim, but I feel like missing the target is usually a better thing. You’re like, forced to hit the target, you usually over-think things and they lose their spontaneous instinct, which is what people respond to I think.