Songwriting while quarantined with LA musician Mondo Cozmo

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Mondo Cozmo. Credit: Travis Shinn.

Like many musicians, LA-based singer-songwriter Josh Ostrander (also known as Mondo Cozmo) is facing a postponed tour and a paused career due to the COVID-19 outbreak. He was supposed to perform at KCRW for Morning Becomes Eclectic, but that’s not happening right now. However, he's been staying productive during quarantine.

On keeping a strict songwriting schedule during the outbreak

“I write every morning. I try to keep like a regimen. I get a coffee, take the dog for a walk, and start writing. But I've been thinking about [the pandemic] a lot because obviously a lot of the lyrics are aimed at that right now. But it's like I don't know if anybody's going to want to hear anything about quarantine by the time the song comes out, like next year.”

On his songwriting process

“It's usually mostly about the melody. … I'm usually just strumming on an acoustic, and hummin some stuff. I usually write in a falsetto. I don't know why. I think I'm just trying to be quiet. 

But then I usually voice memo it. And then I go back and listen through if there's something that I was kind of excited about. 

Then I start sitting down. And I've been using a typewriter lately to write the lyrics because I feel like it helps me in it, instead of just being lazy and just using my phone to write it out.”

On the end of his cancelled tour

“We just did an East Coast run that got canceled, but we were able to play two shows before we had to get out of there. And there's one line in the song we have called “Automatic.” And it goes, ‘It's the end of the world. And we're doing it right.’ And it was so weird to see the crowd sing along with me at that point, because that was when [COVID-19] was really starting to kick off.”

–Written by Amy Ta and Rosalie Atkinson, produced by Rosalie Atkinson