Nicole Alvarez Talks About the Importance of Radio with Mondo Cozmo

August 7, 2018

By Scott T. Sterling

KROQ joq Nicole Alvarez is obsessed with the new Mondo Cozmo EP and it’s title track, Your Motherf---er. And therein lies the rub.

Despite the blatantly NSFW song title, Alvarez cites it as her favorite song of the moment. So much so that she’s played it twice on-air, despite the FCC-baiting title.

She playfully chided him about the profane title when Alvarez caught up with the artist at L.A.’s Republic Studios, where Mondo Cozmo was slated for a private performance that was being filmed for a mystery project later that night.

“I value my job, so I made sure to radio-edit it. But it’s just so difficult when you love a song, and the title is ‘Your Motherf---er.’ Thanks for that,” Alvarez joked, bopping Cozmo on the leg with her notes.

“I really struggled with it,” he admitted. “I love the song, and I love the lyrics of the song. If you read the lyrics it’s actually really just a beautiful love letter.”

While it might seem like he’s thumbing his nose at radio play with such a title, that’s hardly the case. Mondo Cozmo’s initial break came when his 2017 single, “Shine,” got picked up and played in regular rotation on stations like KROQ.

“I’ve been doing this since high school,” he explained of his musical career to date. “I never had the ability to get to radio, it seemed like. The songs weren’t good enough. I had to learn how to get there.”

He got there with “Shine,” which on the strength of radio play hit No. 1 on Billboard’s Adult Alternative Songs chart. It also helped Mondo Cozmo connect with his new fans, who reached out to let him know how the song affected their lives.

“You could see people just attach themselves to the lyrics. I started getting these messages, because they heard it on the radio. Just amazing stories. I just met this guy in Canada he hired a band to come play the song at a funeral. I was like, ‘You should’ve just asked me. I would’ve come up!’”

Alvarez also used the opportunity to let the artist reveal the man behind Mondo Cozmo, including his birth name (Joshua Keith Ostrander), the definition of who—or what—exactly comprises Mondo Cozmo, and the first music to make a distinct impression on him growing up: Nirvana’s In Utero album.

When faced with the question which of his songs would he want preserved forever in a time capsule, Mondo Cozmo went in an unexpected direction.

“I want to say shine, but I’m going to say ‘Plastic Soul,’” he revealed, citing the title track from his 2017 debut album. “I want to put it in a little box and send it out to space. I just love the idea of it.

“ I want to play Red Rocks. I want to play Radio City Music Hall. I want to open up for Pearl Jam,” he enthused when asked about the Mondo Cozmo bucket list. “Bands from that time period.”

Mondo Cozmo will be bringing his sounds to Los Angeles on Sept. 1 when he appears at the two-day 21+ Made in L.A. Festival.

Hear his single "Shine" on KROQ Locals Only Sunday nights!