The south London polymath appeared in Frank Ocean’s ‘Nikes’ video and writes fuzzy pop songs ‘that people don’t need but might want’ – watch his new video for ‘Social Sites’
Cosmo Pyke (that’s his real name) is an 18-year-old songwriter and multi-instrumentalist from Peckham. Raised on a diet of blues, jazz, hip hop, and neo-soul, he writes warm, lo-fi songs that he describes as “spacey, beautiful, and lazy”. His songs draw less on other music and more on his everyday experiences growing up in south east London: reading books, going to pubs, playing football, and other simple pleasures in life.
Besides being a musician, Pyke is also a skater and spraypaint artist as well as a model. He was profiled on Dazed earlier this year, and also made an appearance in Frank Ocean’s “Nikes” video. “I’ve become a lot more clued up about fashion this year,” he says, “It’s definitely given content to write about. Whether it’s been positive or negative, it’s all about the moments.”
Pyke’s newest release is “Social Sites”, a song about an ex-girlfriend and social media’s role in a relationship. Its video fits the laidback vibe of the song, shot in his home borough and the surrounding areas, as well as in his grandmother’s house. There’s a retro feel to the video, seen in the 70s wallpaper that lines the walls and the analogue film stock used to capture the footage. The track features on Pyke’s forthcoming debut EP.
We caught up with Pyke to talk about his music and his attitude in life. Read on for a quick Q&A and watch the video for “Social Sites” below.
Tell us about yourself.
Cosmo Pyke: I’m a singer-songwriter living in Peckham Rye. I enjoy skating, making music with my friends, and painting. I’ve just finished studying music at The BRIT School in Croydon and now I’m just out here trying to be a freelance musician. I’m inspired by all types of things, from books that I’m given by my dad, or even just kicking ball with a kid in the adventure playground. It’s all applied.
Tell us about life in south east London.
Cosmo Pyke: It’s a wavey life! Going to the pubs, cycling about, always bumping into people that you know, no matter where you are or what you’re doing. It’s seriously quiet as well, so you can basically get away with anything you want to do.
What is ‘Social Sites’ about?
Cosmo Pyke: It’s about my ex-girlfriend, and the social networks and observations that surround a relationship. I drew from daily life experiences I guess, which is a big theme throughout the rest of my EP.
“(South east London is) a wavey life! Going to the pubs, cycling about, always bumping into people that you know, no matter where you are or what you’re doing” – Cosmo Pyke
What about its video?
Cosmo Pyke: The video suggests the act of messaging in a much more primitive way. Throwing paper airplanes about with 70s-style wallpaper inspired by my granny’s house – which was where we shot some of the video – is a nice way to look at it and the absurdity of over-dressing and vanity. Most of the cast are mates that I went to BRIT School with. We shot it on a 16mm analogue Bolex, and also a digital Bolex, which gives the theme of the late 60s/early 70s steeze.
How’d you end up in Frank Ocean’s video?
Cosmo Pyke: Charlotte Roberts, one half of The Mushpit magazine, cast me about a year and a half ago. It was a cool, crazy experience.
What are you working on next?
Cosmo Pyke: I’ll be working on writing more songs, involving more loved ones, creating art that people don’t need but might want. I want to learn the production side of things, maybe even going to art school depending on how busy I am. I want to concentrate on developing and reinventing my musical styles.