The Cost Talk Fighting, Loving, and the Cure
Apparently, one night, years back, I told the Cost that I really liked their music but their name sucked. In typical Cost fashion, they didn't give a shit and kept the name. Lovable yet combative, the Miami foursome plays post-punk tunes filled with heartbreak that stick to the inside of your skull and help you get a good cry in when necessary. "If you want to put it on a fucking menu," singer and guitarist Manny Roman reluctantly said of their band's focus, "my blueprint is to adopt -- it sounds cheesy, dude -- a Cure audience." And if you worship at the altar of Robert Smith, you will likely enjoy the Cost's songs.
The band consists of four recognizable characters: There's Roman with his sweet smile, curls, and round glasses, bassist Nathan Molina, totting a camera and starting fights, guitarist Julian Navarrete who has the longest, straightest hair maybe ever, and Danny Calle, the sweetheart drummer of the band. Their scrappy ways have sometimes kept them from completing shows, but they've survived, so far, on a genuine interpersonal connection.
After about four years together, the band is playing a show on May 1, at Churchill's Pub, which is where we met up with the guys a few weeks back. The conversation revolved around what objects they've struck each other with lately and about the pure love they feel for their bandmates.
New Times: You guys are still together, but you're always starting fights.
Collectively: Yes we do.
Julian: I think that's the reason we're together.
I agree with you, I think that's a healing thing.
Danny: It's a family process type thing. Fight, then next day make up.
Julian: We've learned how to make it part of the band. Part of what we do.
And what have been the damages so far?
Julian: Besides bodily harm?
Nate: Several guitars.
Julian: Nate stabbed me with a tube. Like a pipe. Nate's lost several teeth to Manny.
Nate: A skateboard.
Danny: We've all punched each other in the face more than once.
So Manny, you hit Nate in the face with a skateboard?
Manny: On his birthday. It was at home.
Julian: For the amount of fighting or bickering we do on stage, it's much worse in private.
Do think this affects the music you make? Are you better able to make music together because you're a bunch of assholes who hate each other?
Manny: I wouldn't agree with that...
Julian: It helps, we definitely have no shame or qualms with telling each other what we don't like in the musical sense. If Nate doesn't like something that I'm doing or vice versa, there's absolutely no...
Manny: It does ruin the atmosphere at practice, like if somebody's like mad, like Nate's mad or Danny's too tired...
Julian: We're very grumpy.
So, Danny, that's your deal? You're too tired?
Julian: That's his excuse.
Danny: Well, I work ten plus hours a day.
He's the adult.
Danny: I play the physical instrument. Unlike you jerkoffs, I use my four limbs.
Manny: I dance!
Danny, you're the most mature.
Danny: I have very immature moments. But people see that I'm very serious...
Manny: Down to business.
Danny: Obviously, I have my immature moments, I get into fights with these guys, sometimes I'm not in the mood to play at all. But I think that kind of brings it to a point where it's harder for us to make music, but at the same time, kind of creates a little tension to work harder to create a good song. If there wasn't any tension, about somebody not liking something in a song, we wouldn't get to something we all like.
Julian: Compared to other bands that we've been in the past, I definitely say the songwriting process for us is equal share sort of the deal. All of our opinions are equally important. Which is rare. Usually songwriting is confined to a couple cats, but with us, sometimes to our disadvantage, all of us having equal opinions works.
You all do seem opinionated. You are the sole lyricist, Manny. You are angst-y, Robert Smith-y. Where does that come from?
Manny: Mostly influenced by getting dumped.
Nate: He needs to get laid to write.