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Drinking Advice and Arena Tours: A Chat With Mondo Cozmo at Hangout Fest

It's been a hell of a ride for the Philadelphia-born Josh Ostrander (better known by his stage name Mondo Cozmo) since he released his debut single "Shine" just last year. Besides having success in the charts with the aforementioned single and appearing on Jimmy Kimmel's show, Ostrander and his brand new band had the opportunity to join Bastille on their Spring arena tour across North America. Oh yeah, and he's on just about every single festival lineup this summer, from Shaky Knees to Summerfest to Lollapalooza. Although he's got countless gigs and festival appearances lined up, when Ostrander chatted with us at Hangout Fest, he had just finished playing his second ever festival. Despite the newness of the Mondo Cozmo project, Ostrander and his band not only sounded well-versed, but they drew quite the crowd during their early afternoon set at Hangout. With the way things are going, Mondo Cozmo's success will only keep coming. From touring stories to news on his album, get to know Josh Ostrander now. 

Photo by Travis Shinn / Thumbnail Image Courtesy of Hangout Music Festival

Photo by Travis Shinn / Thumbnail Image Courtesy of Hangout Music Festival

ANCHR Magazine:  Going back to when you first started playing music, do you have a first memory of when you picked up an instrument?

Mondo Cozmo: Yeah, it was when Nirvana's In Utero record came out. That was it for me. That’s when I asked my parents to get me a guitar for Christmas. We didn’t have a lot of money, so it was nice that they did that. So I started with guitar, then I got a 4 track cassette recorder. I learned how to record, and then ever since then, I’ve just been recording on my own. I record everything in my house, and then it just comes out and it’s kind of crazy to be in Alabama and see people singing along. Like this was in my guest bedroom!

AM: So are you still doing that for the new music?

MC: Yeah, the album’s coming out in August. It was all recorded by myself and my dog.

AM: What else can you tell me about it, like the theme of the songs? 

MC: It’s kind of all over the place. It’s a good mix of that I really like to listen to, and hopefully everybody likes it.

AM: You’ve been playing some of the newer stuff live that you haven’t released yet. What are a couple of songs that stand out to you?

MC: One of my favorite songs on there, it’s called “Plastic Soul,” I love it so much, I named the album after that. There’s a new song that just came in at the end. It’s called “Thunder,” and it’s right in the middle of the record, and it’s just like a proper good rock song. I just can’t wait for people to hear it.

AM: So speaking of playing live, you just did your tour with Bastille. How was that? Any crazy stories from that tour?

MC: Our first show was Air Canada Centre in front of like 10,000 people. At any given point on that tour, my band was figuring out how to play cause we haven’t played that many shows. It was just...I’ll forever be grateful to them for taking us out, because we needed to learn now to play at this level for the summer that we have ahead of us. I will forever be grateful to them.

AM: Any special highlights or cities that stood out on the tour? Did you get to do anything fun outside of the shows?

MC: Yeah we drank a lot with them. By the end of it, we were pretty tight. I miss those guys now. They really took us under their wing and they were really sweet to us.

AM: Any favorite cities as far as playing in a band there for the first time?

MC: We played Montreal, it was my first time ever playing there. We played “Plastic Soul” and midway through the song, the whole venue opened up with wasn’t lighters, but people use their phones now. It’s the coolest thing ever! It’s so powerful, it’s amazing.

AM: What else are you looking forward to this summer? You’re doing a lot of festivals!

MC: I think I’m really excited about Lollapalooza. I’ve always had that one on my radar. I’m really humbled to be on that. We’ve got some really cool stuff coming up this year, and I’m just so grateful to be able to do this.

AM: So talking more about festivals, do you have any festival do’s and don’t?

MC: Just try not to get drunk before we play is my main goal. I have to remember to bring sunscreen.

AM: Speaking of not getting drunk before playing, that was some impressive chugging on stage earlier!

MC: I did alright! We didn’t have any beer backstage so I got someone in the crowd. I asked the band for all the money we had, and we came up with $63 and asked someone in the crowd to buy us 5 beers, they came back with 10.

AM: Any other bands or new albums out that you’re listening to at the moment?

MC: Yeah, there’s a lot of stuff! The Kendrick album is getting a lot of play with us right now. It’s cool cause the boys all bring their own taste, and we all listen to everybody’s playlists. It’s an ever changing mix.

Mondo Cozmo's Ever Evolving Spotify Playlist

AM: Anything else you do to stay entertained on the road?

MC: At the moment, we’re just trying to learn my songs. It’s been moving so fast, where it’s like we haven’t had a chance. Like we played a song today we haven’t played yet.

AM: What else are you looking forward to this year?

MC: I think we’re doing a headlining run in the fall, and the record comes out in August!

AM: Any other last words of wisdom?

MC: Beer before Whiskey!

Chicago, Mondo Cozmo will return for Lollapalooza in August, including an aftershow at Schubas Tavern on Wednesday, August 2nd....perfect timing for the August 4th release of his debut album, Plastic Soul! Starting Friday at 10AM, you can grab your tickets to the aftershow here. Get ready for the gig by revisiting our photo gallery from his show with Bastille at the Aragon Ballroom, and listen to his latest single below!