By Christine Leonard
Coming of age in an erratic era, vocalist Abbie Thurgood, lead singer of the breakout band Gone Cosmic, has found herself grappling with the same issues that confront other millennials facing their mid-twenties. Already an accomplished songwriter and recording artist by her teens, she had spent time honing her solo style and building up her musical I.Q. performing in acts such as The Torchettes. Yet she was still restless.
“I was going through a lot of changes during this time,” Thurgood confides. “My life completely shifted in every direction. My work, my love life, my band life – everything did a 180. I was going through this process of wondering why my brain was reacting to things and certain situations, why I was making the choices I was making and what’s bringing me to the point I’m at now.”
The stars aligned and Thurgood found herself in the enviable position of being presented with a body of deeply groovy instrumental compositions that was just begging for her vocal enhancements. The catch? These were no run of the mill verse-and-chorus rock songs. Amassed by the collision of veteran Calgary players, guitarist Devin “Darty” Purdy and bassist Brett Whittingham of Chron Goblin and drummer Marcello Castronuovo of Witchstone, Gone Cosmic’s lysergic catalogue ranges the interstellar abyss between freeform metal and heavy jazz.
“It’s insane. I remember the first time I heard the basement demos. I ended up sitting there for five hours and breaking it all down song by song and making notes on where the deadlocks went into cool stargazy bridges,” she recounts in vivid detail. “All of the songs were a challenge. I love this style of music and I love the heavier stuff, but I’ve never written to it. I was like, ‘Okay, how do I completely step out of my element and throw myself into this?’ It was a matter of finding and placing the melodies, which came rather naturally despite the fact that it was all chaos!”
Taming the turmoil that boils beneath the surface, Thurgood’s agency over Gone Cosmic’s volatile atoms has resulted in a supersonic psych-rock synergy of controlled detonations and harrowing lyrical odysseys.
“I think the intimidation factor for me was that these are heavy, punchy, crazy tracks and coming from a doo wop, soul and a little bit of rock background ultimately my voice wasn’t pushed to what it is now,” Thurgood observes. “It would be easy to get lost within what the instruments are doing, so it needed to have that powerful grasp. I started to do my best to go bigger and bring the power through the vocals and actually getting that attention, because even though I was comfy, I know I have this growl and I have this intensity.”
Bottling that rocket-fuelled energy, Gone Cosmic ventured to OCL Studios in September of 2018, when the golden wheat of Earth was at its highest. There the quartet captured the eight complex and compelling tracks that make up their forthcoming full-length debut, Sideways in Time (Kozmik Artifactz), with the oversight of engineer/producer Josh Rob Gwilliam.
“It was the madness of the songs. It wasn’t formulaic. It may never be. It completely came down to the art of what we wanted to create. And it came through beautifully,” reflects Thurgood. “I was thinking ‘Okay. This is my genre!’ Even as a singer-songwriter back in the day when I went down to Nashville. People were asking ‘What’s your genre?’ I had no idea. ‘I’m not country. I’m not blues. I don’t know.’ So, this is the first time it works!”
Space out at Gone Cosmic’s album release party with All Hands on Jane and The Ashley Hundred April 12 at The Palomino Smokehouse and Social Club (Calgary), April 13 at Bohemia (Edmonton), April 14 at Bo’s Bar & Stage (Red Deer), April 19 at Amigos Cantina (Saskatoon), April 20 at German Club (Regina), May 3 at Wheelies (Victoria) and May 4 at SBC Restaurant (Vancouver)Calgary, Gone Cosmic, Sideways In Time