Jaala – Cosima Pay

 Alex Teitz
            On April 20 Jaala released their 2nd full length album called Joonya Spirit. This Melbourne band is led by Cosima Pay on guitar & vocals, Maria Moles on Drums, Jules Pascoe on bass, and Carolyn Schofield who joined recently on syn. In 2015 the band released Hard Hold to rave reviews.
            The new album brings a unique lyricism to a slow drive alternative beat as expressed by the single “Sames”
            Pay’s vocals have an instant draw that electrifies the music. Jaala has not yet made it to the US but everyone should be on the lookout for them. For info visit https://www.facebook.com/jaalaband/
FEMMUSIC:  What was the biggest challenge making the Joonya Spirit album?
CP: Just having a short amount of time to track everything was really a big pain in the arse. It was fun, but a pain nonetheless. You’re also putting the music under a microscope; I remember thinking that we should rename the album ‘music for ants and other insects too’, because they’re the only types of creatures who are going to like this weird shit.
FEMMUSIC: How was making Joonya Spirit different from making Hard Hold?
CP: We did it in a different studio and worked with a different team. This time we had Dan Luscombe produce and Jono Steers engineered. Both did marvelous work.
FEMMUSIC: Tell me about bringing in Carolyn Schofield to the band. What made you decide to bring her in?
CP: I met her a year or so ago and am a huge fan of her solo ambient work. I think she is a synth lord and a musical genius. I feel honored to play with her and Maria Moles (on drums). It’s just the three of us now, so the vibe is more stripped back then what you hear on the record.
FEMMUSIC: You’re signed to Bedroom Suck/Remote Control Records. What made you sign with them? What did they bring to the project?
CP: I had a dream that when we got the album pressed there was a Bedroom Suck logo on the record. I usually make decisions like this. Sometimes you have to listen to your guts. It’s is a bit of a strange mix because the artists on the label aren’t really too much like Jaala, but maybe that’s a good thing.
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?
CP: Find a place where no one is around and have a bash on the guitar and process whatever is on my mind. Sometimes there is someone home though and I spend a long time feeling really red faced and worried what they may have heard.
FEMMUSIC: What song (not your own) has had the biggest influence on you and why?
CP: “Love and Prison” by Blonde Redhead. It’s so soft and I vibe with the sentiment of the lyrics. I remember listening to it thinking, wow I want to make something people can cry to and stop whipping bad boys in the crowd and getting maggot on stage. I think that was really the death of Mangelwurzel (an old band I was in- my secret shame.)
FEMMUSIC: As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
CP: Ha. Yes, of course. All the time, although I am getting better at staying away from the people that put me down. I think the most bullshit thing I was ever told was that I actually DO know the names of the chords, but I just don’t let on so I seem ‘special’ or something.
I think it’s really hard as a self taught musician, dealing with imposter syndrome to find the confidence to navigate leading a band. Being a female makes it harder, but it also drives me to get better and stick it to the man.
That’s another reason why it’s such a lovely thing working with Maria and Carolyn; I feel safe with them and we can talk about our secrets and anti-aging face creams.
FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to collaborate with, or tour with? Why?
CP: Oh golly, anyone who would take me on tour pretty much. Nai Palm took me last year and I will forever be grateful. She is a boss. It’s really hard to get the funds to go and I’m really hoping we can get a grant this year to go to the U.S but none of our applications have been successful to date. Might have to sacrifice a chicken in the garden or something. I would love to have a crack at doing top-line vocals on an R’n’B track, mostly because it would be maybe the hardest thing to do, seeing as I sound really nasally and un-sexy.
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?
CP: The music industry is really messed up because you have all these artistic people surrounded by business people who are only in it for the coin (there are some good eggs). It’s easy to get fucked over and taken advantage of. I also think heaps of musicians are trying to make ends meet so they get obsessed with fame and success and it all just feeds into this fucking nightmare called the music industry. We are all going to die; everyone needs to stop being assholes.
April 30th, 2018