Cosmic Halitosis. You know who we’re talking about, right? The brainchild of one, Mr. Matt Henry, who seems to have his hands in so many different musical projects around town, the band formed years ago and now it’s getting a jumpstart back to life. This Saturday, they will be playing at The Squat with Trunkweed, Mac K’enemy and The Fun Boys, and we recently caught up with Henry to talk about why he decided to get the band back together, what this means for all his other bands, and precisely what we can expect from the show this weekend. The fun kicks off at 7 p.m., friends. Be there. Don’t be square.
So, you and Evan seem to be starting new bands all the time – what made you want to start Cosmic Halitosis? And how did you decide on who was going to be in the project?
So Cosmic Halitosis has actually been an ongoing thing for me for the last five years. Cosmic is basically the outlet for my solo music. I started teaching myself how to play guitar when I was 18 and as soon as I learned the basic rock n’ roll chords, I started writing my own stuff. For the past five years, I’ve recorded around 40 songs on my KORG 8 track recorder, playing all the instruments myself. Around the time when I first started writing songs, I showed them to Evan (who had coincidentally been teaching himself how to play drums) and we started jamming. Over the past few years, we’ve gone through various bass players, playing the odd show here and there, but we were never able to find a lineup that could stick. Over the summer, I met Max Detrich and we immediately hit it off. Max and I started jamming on some stuff I was working on and we clicked right away. We decided to switch Evan over to bass and add Max on drums. It’s probably the most productive of any lineup we’ve ever had and we haven’t even played our first show yet!
If you were to describe the band in five words, what would those words be?
Relatable, no nonsense, punk rock. Our songs are quick and to the point. I just want to write music that is loud and fun and you don’t have to think too hard about when you listen to it.
Is it all originals or have you guys picked up some covers? If so, what covers have you learned/can we expect from the show? Also: What was the first song you guys played together?
We play all originals for our shows but we have been known to throw in a Nirvana cover here or there. Everyone knows I love Nirvana and their songs are super fun to play. The first song we played as the current line up is a song called “Shut the F— Up (Please).” The first song ever jammed on by Cosmic, I believe was the first full song I ever wrote, called “Keep It External,” about a guy who was a germaphobe, who lived alone in his house avoiding human contact but then falls in love and doesn’t know how to handle it. Or maybe it was a song I wrote for my cat.
What’s your perception of the local music scene in Frederick currently?
Well, I’ve been playing shows in this town for more than 10 years now, so I’ve seen every transformation it has gone through. I have seen so many different venues come and go, but there has always been somewhere to play and for that I am very thankful. On the other hand, there’s not a lot of access to music if you’re under 21 seeing as the majority of places to play around here are bars. I’ve noticed that the difference between an all ages show and a 21+ show is vastly different. People at an all ages show have one focus and that’s the music. That’s why house venues like The Squat are so crucial to the scene because it’s a revolving door for touring bands and local bands and anyone can come enjoy the shows.
Who are some of your major influences and why?
Everyone knows I love Nirvana. I also love the first Foo Fighters album because Dave Grohl recorded the entire thing himself, which is how I record my stuff. Nobunny is probably my No. 1 influence. He just writes the most dirty, gritty-yet-catchy and fun music ever. Some of my songs are almost so influenced by Nobunny it’s embarrassing. And of course the Ramones. I love songs that when you dissect them have the same two notes over and over again, but you’d never know because what makes a song memorable isn’t 25 time changes or a million note guitar solos – it’s the dynamics and a catchy melody that sticks in your head. I want to write music that immediately opens with a catchy melody, a cool chorus, a punchy guitar solo and then boom – it’s over; on to the next song, and it leaves you wanting more.
Can you give us names of some bands we need to check out that we maybe haven’t seen yet? Who are you listening to the most these days?
Well as I mentioned before I love Nobunny. Everyone should listen to Nobunny. Some of my favorite current bands are Diarrhea Planet, Colleen Green and Tacocat. Other than that, I’m not the best person to ask about bands people haven’t seen yet. I spend most of my time listening to Alice In Chains, Motorhead and Slayer.
What does the start of this new band mean for all of your other bands?
Well, to be completely honest, all my other bands on somewhat of a hiatus, so Cosmic has been my main focus. I’ve been behind the drum kit for the past few years so I’m feeling positive about getting to bust out my Stratocaster and play some songs I’ve had buzzing around in my head for quite some time now.
As a new band, what does 2017 look like for you guys?
Well I suppose we’re just gonna go with the flow and see what happens. I’m just grateful to have two of my best friends that want to play my songs with me so I’m happy with whatever happens. I’m always writing new stuff, but to be honest, some of these songs I’ve had recorded for as long as four years now, so they’re old to me but they’re going to be brand new for everyone else. I just want to try to play as many shows as I can, have as much fun as possible and hopefully by the summer upgrade from my solo home recording to some better quality full-band recordings.
What do you think is the most perfect song ever written and why?
Oh my god, that’s the hardest question ever. I would say any song from the Kinks’ “Village Green Preservation Society” because it’s my all time favorite album and it has not one bad song on it. I think Ray Davies was the true genius of the 1960s. Either that or Beethoven’s 5th Piano Concerto (not the 5th symphony). I think that’s probably the most beautiful piece of music ever written.
And, of course, what can we expect from your show this weekend?
Well each band has it’s own sound and style but each band rocks. My dear friend Mac, who I went to High School with, is playing his solo set and he is an utterly fantastic musician all around. I hope one day I can grow up and be as cool as Mac. But I guarantee anyone who comes to the show will not be bored even for a second and will go home sweaty and tired with ringing ears and having had more fun than all the waterslides and Chuck E Cheeses in the world combined.