This week’s New Band of the Week may have you confused about whether to hit the mosh pit or pull out your glow-sticks. Bristol’s Cosmic Ninja have honed an intriguing fusion of rock, electronica and dance music that we can’t quite pigeonhole into a particular genre, but they summarise with the three E’s of ‘energetic, eclectic and exciting.’
On their genre-bending sound, the band tell us: “Its a bit of a mixed bag, we haven’t found it easy to describe. Not fitting into one particular genre has been both a blessing and a curse for us. Rock/Electronic/Dance covers most of the bases. Basically, we want both moshing and raving to be acceptable ways to move to our music!”
The quartet of Tamsin ‘T.C.’ Cullum (vocals), Jonny Angelini (guitars), Robin De Wandelaer (bass) and Ellie Daymond (drums) formed after growing tired of being in straight-up rock bands and a shared desire to add electronic influences to the mix.
The band released their debut EP, imaginatively titled Cosmic Ninja EP, last month, and we are loving the diverse sound of it.
It opens up with Tamsin’s high-pitched vocals and light synths in the intro to Yeah Right. Stabbing guitars kick in alongside fast-paced vocals then the high-pitched “Don’t you see it, don’t you” return with shouted vocals underneath. That builds towards a big singalong chorus “When you were causing distress, Living life under duress, You’ll make it through but you’ll progress” with shouts of “Yeah right” between each line.
The pace drops down into the light synth and vocals after the second chorus, then big stabbed guitar chords kick in and gives way to a cool electro riff with guitar bursts in the background. That builds towards a final chorus that sees the track end on a rocky high, check it out below:
Next, We Got Up opens with twinkling synths that continue under Tamsin’s laid-back vocals. The pace picks up with more intense synths then cries of “We gotta get up, get up, get up, we gotta” then a lively chorus gives way to a big smash of electronic noise and guitars.
A second chorus is followed by a brief pause then a cool, trippy electro noise that continues under spoken word recording, then a lively mass of electro noise and lively drums. Tamsin’s vocals kick in then cool bursts of electro support cries of “We got up” before a lively electro-rock outro.
The EP ends with Sympathy, which the band say is about “giving strength to the people you love in times of need, being empathetic to their struggles and giving them security in knowing you are there for them when times feel dark and lonely.”
It begins with light guitars then drums kick in under a lively meandering electro riff. Laid-back vocals come in for a relaxing opening verse, then rapped/shouted vocals take over “Clinging on to hope but you are always feeling depressed, A different state of mind but you’ve not been there yet, You’re stressed and you’re burnt out, You can’t do this by yourself, Crippled by the fear and I think that you need some help.” That gives way to a big singalong chorus “Let’s meet on the edge where you’ll jump from, Confronting your pain try and be strong, You will no longer feel so numb, You’ll overcome.”
That repeats, with different rapped/shouted vocals building to a second chorus followed by more rapped/shouted vocals: “I fucking hate this, I’m frustrated, I wake up in the morning and I’m still wasted, I’m reaching for your hand, when I float into the sky, Sink or swim, fall or fly, win or lose, live or die,” which gives way to a big blast of synths and guitars then a few final hits of the chorus. It’s a delicious combination of chilled verses and angst in the rapped vocals and big heavy instrumentals and a superb ending to the EP.
On the EP, Jonny tells us: “We have had a great reception, we really appreciate the kind words and feedback we have had. It makes it worthwhile for us knowing that people are digging the tracks.
“We have released tracks before the EP but these songs are a huge step up in quality for us, working with Jayce Lewis at Northstone Studios has been really beneficial for our sound. It feels good to have these songs out there and we are already planning the follow-up. In terms of what to expect, I don’t want people to have too many preconceptions so just listen with an open mind (and ear!).”
The band’s eclectic sound is unsurprisingly borne out of a wide range of influences that vary for each member. Jonny tells us they’re all rockers at heart but dance and electronic music have played a big part in their lives, hence the likes of Rage Against The Machine, The Prodigy, Pendulum and Enter Shikari are key influences.
While Jonny adds: “I have always loved rap music since an early age too.
I think it is great to be able to appreciate different styles of music for what they are and I hate the snobbery that you sometimes get from some music fans, each to their own in my opinion!”
While on what inspires them to write music, Jonny explains it’s a bit of a mixed bag: “We write about all sorts of things, inspiration comes from lots of areas. Our song Sympathy is about helping friends struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts, a few of us have had experiences with this. We Got Up is about standing up to oppression and prejudice in society.
“Recently we have been inspired a lot by the dire political situation in the UK. Some of the shameless and self-serving behaviour on display from politicians really gets me worked up. While I am generally a peaceful person who doesn’t like getting angry, this has definitely helped me to write lyrics with passion! Putting emotion into our lyrics is important as it helps us to perform with conviction. I think you will see a more political edge on the next EP for sure.”
Cosmic Ninja have several festival shows coming up through the summer. They hope to add a few more shows along the way and plan to be back in the studio towards the end of the year. And Jonny tells us: “We have some killer new tracks that we can’t wait to record.”
We’re loving the sound of Cosmic Ninja, their brand of electro-rock is fun, engaging and mega-catchy, and moreover will have you a little confused about whether to ‘rock out or rave on.’ They also seem like a lovely bunch, as Jonny says: “To us, Cosmic Ninja is about having a good time, we love to party with our friends and family and the band is a really positive thing in all of our lives. I hope this comes off when we perform.”
“We try to make our shows fun for all and to be as inclusive as we can, we love being able to support the LGBTQ community and we have even had some sign performers at shows for those hard of hearing. Being in this band has already given us so many great experiences that we couldn’t have imagined, and I hope there are plenty more in the future. Our mission is to give audiences something a little different, and I would advise everyone to come and experience this for themselves.”