Amoramora, Cameron Bailey, Cycles, Euforquestra, Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad, Na’an Stop, The Runnikine, and The Beeves. What do all these awesome artists have in common? They’ve worked with Cosmic Collective. The studio and performance space, which is located near 55th and Arapahoe in Boulder, came together back in 2015 with creative mastermind Eric Plein at the helm. The space, which has hosted live shows, rehearsals, performances, a podcast, and doubles as a recording studio “seeks to harbor community and creativity for conscious audio and visual artists by giving their work a place to manifest its full potential.” The DIY vibes draw you in; the professionalism of Plein and his crew keep you invested. Needless to say, we were stoked to have the chance to chat with Eric about all things Cosmic Collective. Read on:
Cosmic Collective is a part of so many musical happenings. What inspired you to start this?
After years of playing music with my brother and friends I had accumulated a fair amount of gear. When I was living up on 10th and College [in Boulder], I had all of that gear from my basement in Virginia shipped out here, and we set it up in the garage behind our house for jam sessions. In some respects it was a grungy precursor to what Cosmic is now. Between that and and learning from my experiences with Z2 Entertainment and Madison House, I took a leap and put together Cosmic Collective.
What all goes down at the CC?
Most of the time, Cosmic is rented out by artists and bands to rehearse for shows and write music. We provide everything you need including instruments, amps, drums, microphones and a PA system, although a lot of people like to bring some of their own gear.
Recently we’ve been doing more and more recording, ranging from live, in-studio performances to working on more polished material for some upcoming projects. I’ve always loved watching music documentaries and reading biographies so when Tyler Gwynn (drummer of Tenth Mountain Division) approached me about starting a podcast, I was all about it. We have local, regional, and nationally touring acts come in for an interview, and then have them play a couple songs live in the studio.
Boulder has an amazing music scene, but it’s not the most diverse. I started to miss going to folk, indie, punk, hardcore, and metal shows, but had a hard time finding venues to go and get my fix for smaller-scale artists. That’s when I started to put together events to help foster those musical communities and provide a space for them.
We hear that. Who all is on the Cosmic team and what are their roles?
On paper, it’s just me running the show, but in reality I’ve had a ton of help from friends, musicians, and mentors in the Colorado music community. There is no way I could do all of this on my own. I am constantly humbled by the desire and willingness of all those who help Cosmic.
How long ago did you guys start the podcast?
Tyler Gwynn and I started the "At Cosmic Collective Podcast" back in September of 2016. We didn’t really know what we were doing when we started- we just did it... Still not sure we do either. Pretty much all of our guests are touring acts passing through Boulder, or artists we’ve met or know that live in Colorado.
Anyone you can talk to us about that you’ve been stoked to record with recently?
I just finished recording an album for the project Mr. Smiley, which consists of two members from Shantyman (R.I.P.). They’re going to see if they can beat Anton Newcombe’s (Brian Jonestown Massacre) accomplishment of six albums in one year. We just started recording the second one and they’re already done writing the third.
Tell us something you have at CC that a true music gearhead would drool over.
Definitely the 1975 Fender Rhodes 88 keyboard. At one point in its not too distant past, it was bought to go on tour with Hieroglyphics, but the thing is a beast to lug around, so it wound up in an office until I picked it up.
What has been one of your favorite events put on in the Cosmic Collective space so far?
That’s a tough one, but I think I’d have to go with the first one we ever did with Jeffrey Martin & Anna Tivel. Maybe 25 people showed up, but we all sat in the stillest silence listening, half of us almost brought to tears. It was really intimate.
Do you sponsor events outside of the Cosmic studio?
Cosmic just started teaming up with one of my favorite non-profits, Bus To Show, to put on a series that takes place on the first Thursday of every month at Bohemian Biergarten. There is more in the works too, so stay tuned!
In these very politically charged times, do you have any comment on how the conscious community at CC creates change through art?
When people talk about change they are inclined to jump to something lofty and sweeping; end world hunger, find the cure to cancer. That’s not really my style- I see meaningful change in smaller day to day things. With all this divisive rhetoric bombarding us all the time, people have an intrinsic need to be part of communities that value them. When you meet someone new, find something you have in common before you define what makes that person different from you. At Cosmic, music is the built-in commonality that we all share. That’s the launching point for getting to know each other; getting to know ourselves. I think there is immense value in appreciating all the different perspectives and realities that define how one sees the world we live in.
Beautifully said Eric. We can’t wait to see who stops by Cosmic next.
Keep up with all things Cosmic Collective here.
All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.