Interview: Ed Cosens on new single and upcoming album release

These may be uncertain times for the music industry and for the future of live entertainment as we know it, but that’s not stopping Ed Cosens, guitarist/bassist of chart-topping Sheffield band Reverend and the Makers, from releasing the first track from his debut solo album this Friday. “You haven’t taken Rishi Sunak’s advice and decided to retrain as an accountant, then?” I joke as we begin our Zoom call. “No,” he replies, “but I did do the online test thing and the top one that came up for me was a circus performer! I mean, I’m sure it’d be a lot of fun, but I don’t know if it’s exactly a lucrative industry.”

Who knows what the future holds – but for now, I’m glad to report Ed is sticking with music, especially as he gears up to the release of his first solo album, Fortunes Favour, out early 2021. “It’s been a long time in the making,” he tells me. “The idea of a solo project has been in the back of my mind for a good 10 years, but I had to find the right confidence and belief in myself first. With Reverend, I was always heavily involved with the writing side of things musically, but Jon [McClure] took the lead lyrically. But over the last 2-3 years, things have really come together for me. I feel I have the confidence now to be able to stand up next to people like Jon and Alex Turner lyrically.”

The first single, ‘If’, showcases Cosens’ writing talents and sets the tone for the rest of the album. It is described as being concerned with ‘the conflict between what you think you want, where you unwittingly lead yourself, and ultimately, where you should really be’, told in three mesmerising minutes of tremolo-rich, strings-soaked melody. In his own words, Cosens’ says: “It’s something a lot of people experience as they grow up – falling in and out of love. The song is about being with someone and being happy, but then you start acting up for whatever reason, and things fall apart. Maybe things work out in the end, maybe they don’t. Luckily for me, things worked out.”

But over the last 2-3 years, things have really come together for me. I feel I have the confidence now to be able to stand up next to people like Jon and Alex Turner lyrically.”

Ed describes the song, and wider album, as a reflection on the journey of growing up, one he hopes will be relatable to a lot of people. “A lot of the songs on the album are of a similar nature, they are about growing up, making mistakes, learning from experiences, whether its love or work or friendship. Then along that journey, it’s about finding inner confidence and belief in yourself” – a journey clearly reflective of his own personal development as a musician. “It’s a personal album,” he confirms, “and ‘If’ is probably the most personal song. It’s the one I’ve had for the longest and the one that helped me decide the tone and direction for the album. It was a long time in the making, but things sort of came together nicely after that song.”

‘If’ is one of four singles to be released in the lead up to the album, each of them alongside a video that will be put together to make a 15 minute short film to tie in with the album’s launch. “It was fun to play with the visual narrative for that alongside the music”. Cosens’ acknowledgement of his creative licence comes with a side of humble self-awareness, as he notes that this is a difficult time for many in the industry. “For artists like me, it’s easier to adapt. There’s still an outlet, still opportunities to create and put things out there, but that’s not the case for most. The people behind the scenes who make things happen, they need our support.” I asked him if he had any reservations about putting out the album in such precarious times. “Sure, it worries me that I might not be able to put on gigs, but you get to the point where you realise – this isn’t going away. Things might not get back to normal, whatever normal is. You have to adapt, you have to put things out there. There’s likely to be no gigs for a while, but we have to push through.”

Finally, I ask Ed about his wider influences for the album, and whether it would resemble the sound he created with his band. “There are hints of the sound that I have made for my record in the songs I contributed a lot more to in the last two Reverend and the Makers albums. I think that gives an idea of where I’ve gone with it. I’m influenced by other Sheffield artists like Richard Hawley, and then musicians like Dan Auerbach – I was listening to his solo record at the time I was writing. It’s not easy to describe your own music, but the album definitely has a singer-songwriter feel; it’s very real, very personal.”

Ed Cosens’ first single, ‘If’, is out Friday 16th October and available on all major music platforms. His album Fortunes Favour is due for release early 2021.

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