The Origins of the Riot Grrrl Ethos

Interview with Jemma Freeman and The Cosmic Something

"I feel overwhelmed with the onslaught of hypocrisy, denial, and subterfuge I am witnessing by the government. I'm flooded, there is so much injustice, discrimination and callousness happening at the moment it's unbelievable"

Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Jemma Freeman, I am a non-binary guitarist, singer, composer, general music dogsbody. I own a lot of effects pedals and I enjoy using them :) I've played in bands since I was 15 and if you ask me nicely I'll come and make sci-fi noodlings on your records and headbang vigorously on stage whilst still keeping time. I might not turn up on time though, there's a large difference between 4/4 and leaving the house to catch the train. Sometimes I draw things, I take a lot of selfies that I post on Instagram and justify as documenting my glo the before times I could be found regularly in drag, onstage fronting Jemma Freeman and The Cosmic Something.

Who or what inspires you?

I think it is important to remain open-hearted as well as have an open mind. If you view the world with kindness the most unusual things can be an inspiration, we live in strange times that often feel shaded, and yet when I release myself from the shackles of realism I find magic in the tiniest things. I was saved by a scarred old cherry tree this time last year. I had been very unwell and unable to leave the house, my bandmate persuaded me that even to get to the end of the road would stop the crushing sensation that was preventing me from feeling I was able to breathe. He was right, the stoic grace of this neglected being, rusted pins stabbed in its trunk from a hundred church fayres, lost cats and Spanish lessons did not deplete its power. It bloomed tirelessly and reminded me that the countless images and memories that were stuck as permanently in my brain as those points in the wood were no longer injuries if I chose to grow around them, incorporate them, treat the remaining flesh with love, help it recover. I am a magpie and a mimic, shiny things enthrall me, and I find the dustiest things sparkle in my imagination. Old records, paintings, videos, a meme, friends, wild records, and film soundtracks melt their way into my being and somehow they reform through my guitar playing, the flow of words I let out as I adlib lyrics. I like doing impressions of people, artists, nature, and they all get replicated through a kaleidoscopic lens...

What challenges do you face?

At the moment there are the obvious things, I won't bore you with my personal details on that front. But, currently, I feel overwhelmed with the onslaught of hypocrisy, denial, and subterfuge I am witnessing by the government. I'm flooded, there is so much injustice, discrimination and callousness happening at the moment it's unbelievable, I feel incredulous, coupled with the absence of those close to us, internet bubbles intoxicating and deluding me, intimacy forced into digital discourse, no outlet for creativity beyond the screens in our hands and on our desks...I am floundering, gasping for the habitats that let me thrive. I'm a queer, ND, hypermobile, insomniac, so there's that as well, but actually, what's not to love about being queer, my ND helped me teach myself guitar (mono focus and inability to make friends... I played a lot of guitar) hypermobility probably informs my idiosyncratic playing style and I have so many more hours to work with by sleeping less

Jemma Freeman and The Cosmic Something Promo Pic

What has been the highlight of your career so far? 

Releasing a real-life bright orange vinyl of my own music and being asked to play and contribute to the music made by the incredible people that I know. It's a rare privilege to be given free rein on someone else's work and I am hugely grateful to be given that trust.

What are your hopes and dreams for the future?

To release more music, to connect with people, to love and be loved, to swim in the sea and kiss my girlfriend, to see my brother and hug my niece and nephew again, to be on the front cover of guitarist magazine, to live a life that takes full advantage of every facet and opportunity available, to move and absorb sunlight in amazing places across the planet, to eat a portion of jerk chicken from Cummin' Up, to feel what weightlessness feels like in space and in time...

Listen to their music

Find out more about Jemma Freeman and The Cosmic Something