"I hadn’t touched an instrument or sang for almost four months straight - but 'Endings' broke that record."
Philadelphian London-based singer-songwriter, Cosette Gobat, is back with a stirring new single, 'Endings', about her battle with complex PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder).
Gobat's 2020 debut studio album, ‘Couteau’, a diaristic collection traversing a multitude of genres from folk and rock to everything in between, was an impressive introduction to the theatrical artist's otherworldly talent.
And now, she's back with an intensely-haunting new track, which poured out of her after struggling to put pen to paper, sing or play an instrument due to her PTSD burying her desire to do the one thing she loves most in life: make music.
Lizzie's Lowdown caught up with the 20-something DIY musician and engineer - who has previously worked on material with The Wombats and engineered under the guise of Michael Jackson's ex-producer - to talk about her experiences of growing up in the male-dominated music industry, moving to the UK from the US to further her music career, and how PTSD stopped her from singing and making music for four months.
You moved to the UK in 2019, so most of your time here has been in a pandemic.
Has it tainted your experience here?
I have been asked that a lot. I did end up going back to the US since then during the first lockdown, which is when I wrote, recorded, and released my debut album, 'Couteau'.
I was able to get some gigs in between all these lockdowns but I think my main purpose was creating a new life here, making new connections, and gaining creative inspiration from London’s music scene.
Overall it has been incredibly fulfiling, and I have definitely found where I want to make music.
Do you plan to stay in London?
I’m going to go back to the US for a bit soon but I pretty much plan on living in London forever.
Back home in Philadelphia, I played in a bunch of bands, but I’ve made the decision to focus on and push my solo project from now on.
I am working on a few collaborations at the moment, which I’m super excited about.
What’s an average day in your life like?
An average day for me starts by waking up tired and doing my morning yoga and vocal warm-ups.
I then usually make coffee while I work on emails, then prepare myself to rehearse or work on music.
If I’m not out playing or attending a gig in the evening, then I’m usually cooking a big feast or playing 'Skyrim' with my partner.
Do you work in studios or all from your bedroom?
I do all my recording, mixing, and mastering in my own bedroom.
I haven’t gotten the most extensive or expensive set-up, but if you know what you’re doing, you can create good quality with little quantity.
"I have had an interesting life and been exposed to almost every genre of music imaginable, and I want each project to have a different purpose and idea."
Tell us about 'Endings' and how you felt after recording such an emotionally-intense song?
'Endings' is about my struggle living with Complex PTSD.
It may have been the hardest song to write and release that I have ever done.
I wrote the song back during the last lockdown. It was the first time ever in my life that I hadn’t touched an instrument or sang for almost four months straight, but 'Endings' had broken that record when it all sort of just came out of me one day.
PTSD had taken over my life and I had no motivation to do the thing I love the most.
Playing gigs and being around music is pretty much my only escape from it, and lockdown had taken it away from me.
It’s a really hard song for me to perform or listen back to now, but I think the takeaway from it all was that I had found myself once again.
Your music is very filmic. Do you have an idea of what a song looks like in your head when you write?
My songwriting process includes hitting record and just singing and playing guitar with whatever kind of just comes out of my head.
At that moment, my brain is most definitely processing thoughts and imagery.
Would you say your theatre background inspired your music style?
Oh, most definitely.
I listened to mostly classical music as a child and was trained as an opera singer for six years. It’s still one of my favourite genres, and I love the theatrical side of performing, even when it’s just me and my guitar. I still dress up and dance around.
"I think there’s a big lack of credit that goes to women and queer people in the music production world. "
Everything you do is different to the last, is that important to you?
I think music is really all about expressing yourself, and humans are complex with many sides and intricate pieces to them.
I always want to explore myself through music and never want all my music to sound exactly the same.
I have had an interesting life and been exposed to almost every genre of music imaginable, and I want each project to have a different purpose and idea.
How do people react when you tell them you are an engineer/producer? It’s still such a male-dominated world, isn't it?
One of my non-male engineer mentors once said, 'If you tell someone you’re a male engineer, they’ll say, 'Okay'.
'If you tell someone you’re a non-male engineer, they’ll say ‘prove it’.'
At my very first engineering job at the age of 19, I had already experienced discrimination. I’ve been told by men that I’m too young, or that this type of job isn’t cut out for people like me, treated differently than male colleagues, it really has no end.
I think there’s a big lack of credit that goes to women and queer people in the music production world.
Having been in the music industry from a young age, what has your overall experience been like?
It really has been an incredible journey.
I think I was able to understand the music industry from a really young age, that there’s a lot of bad business and things and people you have to watch out for.
Basically, ‘street smart’, but about the music industry.
I got an early start on how to promote myself and market my music in the safest and best way possible.
What did you take away from working with a band like The Wombats and then working under Michael Jackson’s ex-producer?
I was really lucky to have had such amazing opportunities as an engineer.
I learned that as long as you are kind to people and passionate about your work, your motivation can take you really far.
What have you been experimenting with lately, what’s been your most recent discovery?
I’m experimenting with creating more punk rock stuff, as well as some electro-pop collabs. Both are very different from my previous releases!
What’s on your bucket list with regards to your music career?
My dream is to be recognised as an accomplished musician and engineer, with enough exposure I don’t have to worry about paying the bills.
I really would love the opportunity to play shows all around the world.
What’s coming up next for you?
I shouldn’t reveal any secrets but I will give a hint about a certain music video for a certain new song!
Listen to 'Endings' below: