posted by Lu
last month

The sonic world of Kosmo Sound is immersive and multi-colored in every way. They're not only deeply influenced by different genres, but also different cultures in order to tell stories and bring forth otherworldly experiences. The Belgium-based 6 piece has distinguished itself by its deep basslines and dreamy saxophone melodies, combined with hypnotic rhythms that are characteristic of dub and
reggae.

For the launch of their latest single "Yomala", they joined forces with the talented artist Imane
Guemssy. This collaboration promises a compelling fusion of traditional Gnawa sounds and
the band's signature deep groove style. Furthermore, they'll be joined by Imane Guesmssy for their performance at the International A to JazZ Festival in Sofia, Bulgaria. Before that, we sat down with the band, and throughout the interview, they opened up about their first session together, dub influences, and working with Imane Guesmssy.

How would you describe the first session you guys had together as Kosmo Sound?

It was great fun and everyone was dancing! We all knew one another but we didn’t know it would click musically. Now Kosmo Sound has been around for seven years and we still have a great time!

What would you say was the most challenging part regarding getting your music heard and getting gigs towards the early moments of your career?

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Because what we played wasn’t easy to put in a box. Our combination of dub, jazz and improvised music didn’t fit into one category but in the meantime, people understand what we do and the different influences in our music make it possible for us to play in lots of diverse settings.

What is it about Dub that resonates so deeply with everyone in the group, to the extent that it has become one of the fundamental pillars of your sound?

The drummer Marius and the bassist Mattias founded Kosmo Sound through their love of the UK dub-scene. Although they had a musical background in jazz they would often bump into one another at dub nights and gigs by important dub artists. They contacted a number of befriended musicians to play in the band with different musical interests and an open spirit.

In which ways did the making and release of Fruits of the Void challenge you guys to step out of your comfort zone?

On our last album everybody in the band contributed to the writing of the music and it is generally less dub-orientated than our previous releases.

The track "Yomala" definitely shines bright in your catalog, especially since you've opted to go towards more of a North African-inspired direction. Why was it important for the group to head in a completely different direction than what you're used to for this release?

As a band we are always looking for new influences and keep our music fresh and interesting. 

How did your creative process have to change when working on "Yomala" and with Imane Guesmssy?

It was the first time we had worked with a singer and the inclusion of the guembri offered us new possibilities while arranging the music. We worked around traditional Gnawa music instead of self-composed material. We had to learn the musical language of this music which gave us new insights concerning scales and rhythms. At the same time we still want to do our thing and this was and still is an interesting creative process. 

In what ways has Imane Guesmssy’s inclusion in your upcoming show added to the dynamic of the group and to the performance itself?

With Imane our music is no longer only instrumental, which puts the band in a more supportive role. This allows us to reflect on our own sound. 

It’s also refreshing to have a new member on stage and in the rehearsal room, both on a musical and social level.

In your opinion, what makes an unforgettable show - as a performer, and as an audience member?

Energy, authenticity and musical playfulness. Both on stage and in front.

What do you believe is the cohesive bond that contributes to the group's harmonious collaboration and success?

As cheesy as it may sound: friendship and the love for music. 

Words you'd put on a billboard?

“How did Bob Marley like his sandwiches? With jam in”.

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