The title of Cosmo Jarvis’ latest album, Think Bigger, seems a pretty tidy summation of his creative ethos. With three albums under his belt (and a dozen or so singles, all accompanied by ambitious, storytelling videos) the singer-songwriter has just turned his attentions to film, writing, directing and starring in his first feature, The Naughty Room.

The 22-year-old first came to many queer listeners’ attention with Gay Pirates, a tale of same-sex love on the high seas that came with a memorable video and even got Stephen Fry’s seal of approval. It’s but one of dozens of characters Jarvis explores in his songwriting.

“A lot of my songs offer quite specific stories, and I suppose I should be a bit careful, because when you do that you reveal a lot of your own views and opinions. I’m very opinionated, so I suppose I have to hope that my opinions are shared by at least a few people,” he told the Star Observer.

Opinionated is an understatement. Just look at the video for Sure As Hell Not Jesus, Jarvis’s take on the scourge of paedophilia in the Catholic Church that’s at once creepy, hilarious and blisteringly angry.

“It was pretty hard finding a church [to film in] for that one,” he chuckled.

Jarvis’s videos are famously low budget affairs, with the singer enlisting friends and family members to realise the grand visions in his head.

“If I was on a major label, they could easily have spent about 30 grand on a video, because that’s what people think they cost – but they don’t have to. You use what you can.”

Of course, if he were on a major label, chances are they wouldn’t allow him to make a blackly comic video clip about endemic child abuse in the Catholic Church.

“Gay Pirates, too – I never would’ve been allowed to make that. And the next single, Train Downtown, is a story about a good or a justified act of terrorism. The song takes place in a made-up world where free will has been crushed by the government, but even despite that, I’ve been told it probably won’t be played on radio.”

He admitted that he fought constant pressure from within the music industry to make his music less divisive, more palatable to the masses.

“Every single day. Syncing your music with films and TV can be really profitable, and my management looked into doing that with a company in the US. They came back to us and said I shoot myself in the foot by making my songs so specific. This sync company wrote me a brief to follow with instructions to write a song they could use: ‘Think happy. Be jovial. It’s a sunny day.’ What’s the point of writing a song in that way? It’s bullshit.

“I ended up writing a song about how contrived it is to write a happy song.”

INFO: Think Bigger out now.

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