By Christine Leonard
CALGARY – The satisfaction that arises out of mixing familiar elements to create a unique sensory experience is easily appreciated. Awakening the ears and seducing souls with an addictive pairing of folk-blues and psych-rock, Calgary’s Gone Cosmic is a band that thrives on the mix of complementary and contrasting traits that each member brings to the party. Founded by guitarist Devin “Darty” Purdy and bassist Brett Whittingham, who are both active with local band Chron Goblin; along with percussionist Marcello Castronuovo (Witchstone, Funkensheist), the heavy but agile ensemble has struck golden stardust with the acquisition of vocalist Abbie Thurgood, formerly of The Torchettes.
“I’ve done the writing and singer-songwriter thing since I was 14,” reports Thurgood. “I recorded my first album down in Nashville and did some work with that. So, I guess The Torchettes was my introduction to full band performances and rosters. It was very collaborative and I learned how to work in a team environment when it comes to the arts.”
A far cry from the choreographed moves of that glamourous group, Gone Cosmic found its legs as a basement project, spinning off into a galactic undertaking.
“We met Marcello because he recorded our first Chron Goblin EP like eight years ago; it was the most ridiculous deal ever and he’s been a friend ever since,” says Darty. “We’d always get drunk and have these long, spaced-out, psychedelic, late-night jam sessions, but we never put anything together. Eventually, we were like, ‘Let’s write songs for once!’ ”
With Castronuovo ensconced behind the drum kit, his fellow percussionist Whittingham was able to move over and pick up the bass, bestowing Gone Cosmic with a solid yet hyperflexible backbone that few rhythm sections can approximate.
“I’ve played bass since I was 14 or 15,” Whittingham confirms. “Before Chon Goblin, Darty and I used to play in a heavy metal band, Titan, together where I played bass. I’ve always loved to play bass and guitar and jam Sabbath with these guys and it’s nice to get back into it seriously. I like working with Cello, cuz he’s got some nice jazzy touches to his playing and he has great dynamics and a good deep funk pocket. It’s so fun to lock in on bass with a kick and snare.”
“I like to try to tie in those elements when I can and help establish the groove of the song once it’s written,“ Castronuovo concurs. “The hazy improvised sections showcase our natural chemistry and Abbie is capable of matching our intensity, too. She’ll come out and be the icing on the cake at the climax of a technical section to push us over the edge.”
The electromagnetic energy generated when Thurgood’s soaring vocals and passionate lyrical narratives are added to the compelling riffs and hypnotic pulses of the band’s instrumentation is a stunning and stimulating force to behold. Effortlessly navigating celestial highs and primordial lows in the course of one gravity-defying track, Gone Cosmic is primed to launch an arsenal of mindblowing, solar-powered anthems that will land the quartet in the OCL Studios later this year.
“Coming into Gone Cosmic it was a really cool transition to step out of my comfort-zone and write lyrics to these wicked tracks from a different world,” Thurgood says. “I loved it. I had never met any of the guys and as soon as I heard these songs I realized they aren’t formulaic. You think these tunes are going one way and they take a complete left turn. And to follow that adventure it’s awesome. I’m so excited to have found a new fam, it’s otherworldly, man.”
Gone Cosmic performs May 12 at The Palomino Smokehouse and Social Club (Calgary)Gone Cosmic, Infinite possibilities, Palomino, The Palomino Smokehouse and Social Club