Traveling across the country can be a source of inspiration, a long slog testing even the most patient of souls, a period of calm before frenzy. For Mondo Cozmo, it gave him material.
What resulted is his recently released album New Medicine born from his travels on the road. Mondo Cozmo (Josh Ostrander) spoke with RADIO.COM’s Ryan Arnold of WXRT in Chicago in an exclusive interview on how the album came about, balancing current events with personal anecdotes in his lyrics, and a behind-the-scenes look at the recording process.
“This record came from being on the road for almost a year straight,” Ostrander said. “I met so many people throughout the country and had amazing conversations. I used it as fuel to write.”
The variety of conversations weren’t his only source of inspiration during his travels. Ostrander began watching the news more often and staying in tune with current events. This helped shape several songs such as “Black Cadillac,” which was written during the Brett Kavanaugh hearings and “Upside Down,” which was written during President Donald Trump’s impeachment hearings.
“The lyrics I’ll tap on what I’m watching and what I’m thinking, taking it in, but then I also bring it in personally. Yes the world is ending, but I’d still like to go have a drink with you,” he said.
The album was recorded in a spot familiar to Ostrander, but will likely be his last hurrah there. “I recorded that (New Medicine) in the same spot I did the 'Plastic Soul' record, which was in my guest bedroom of the house in Los Angeles which we recently moved out of.”
“It was weird breaking down the studio, I thought ‘man, nobody’s ever going to know that two pretty awesome records were recorded in this room.’ It’s probably going to be some kids bedroom,” he added.
Like many, the COVID-19 pandemic caused an abrupt change in plans for Ostrander. “I was doing really good with writing during the beginning the pandemic. I was knocking out a song a day. And then I just hit a wall,” he said
“I haven’t written anything good lately to be honest. I just watch the news and my heart has been heavy. I haven’t been led to write lately, which is sad because I feel like this is a time for artists to get to work.”
Still, Ostrander is hopeful he’ll be able to produce new material. “I haven’t been able to put the pen to paper and I’m trying to figure that one out,” he said.
If his creative output up to this point is any reflection, it’ll be worth the wait.