SeeYouSpaceCowboy, ‘Coup De Grâce’ | The Album Story

SeeYouSpaceCowboy‘s Connie Sgarbossa guides us through the creation of their bold and brilliant new collection, ‘Coup De Grâce’, out April 19 via Pure Noise Records.

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Connie Sgarbossa has been waiting for the chance to make a SeeYouSpaceCowboy album like this for a long time. Though the band had never stuck to one style across their nearly decade-long assault, there were a lot of factors that meant that a project of the artistic grandiose of ‘Coup De Grâce’ couldn’t just materialise. For one, and she will be the first to admit it, she simply didn’t have the mental capacity, spending a large stretch of the last few years battling addiction on and off and just trying to just about keep her chin above the water. But now, with a fresh perspective and a clean mind and body, she has harnessed the creative capabilities that had to lie dormant until the right moment.

“There is this notion that music saves lives,” she states. “I always felt it would be cathartic to make the sort of album we were made with [2021’s] ‘The Romance Of Affliction’. But the truth is that I still OD’d and was at death’s door two weeks after we finished recording it. It didn’t make me feel that much better. It was a very temporary fix, and that really disappointed me.”

“Then when it came around to making this record and being clean and not in that place, I was like, ‘Okay, maybe just screaming into the void isn’t as helpful as it once was’. Perhaps I’m maturing a bit more, and that was just delayed because of the shit that I was dealing with for so many years. This album is way more creatively ambitious because of that.”

And that may be the understatement of the year. A concept album taking place on a dancefloor in the middle of a seedy lounge club at the end of the world, ‘Coup De Grâce’ is a tour-de-force of love, lust and longing. Allowing Connie to express her passions for everything from Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge and German expression cinema to graphic novel classics such as Sin City and the art form of burlesque, as well as plenty of nods to the hardcore scene, it’s a unique moment in time propelled through a lens of scene-leaning brilliance. It is sexy, sinister and sensationally constructed. An album that builds the sort of world that you wish you could fall into, it is also a piece of art that keeps you on your toes. It’s SeeYouSpaceCowboy at their most vibrant and vicious, and Connie couldn’t be more ecstatic that they could bring it to life.

“This entire story is my thing. Every outfit that you see the band wearing is something I went out and found. Every shot in every video came from me running around and saying what was next. Being a creative director for other bands is my dream job, but doing it for my own was really nice, too. Knowing that this is what we were moving towards, this is what we wanted to happen. It was really motivating for me because this feels even more advanced than anything else we’ve done.”

That’s why Rock Sound have sat down with Connie to peel back the layers of every aspect of this fantastically bold collection of songs and see what secrets lie within…


If you were to go to a SYSC show in 2019, you would have needed to have all your wits about you. It was a total warzone. Coming out of the local San Diego hardcore scene, violence was always the order of the day, which is why the band’s early material felt so frantic and fierce. However, throughout the last few years, as they have travelled further afield, Connie has noticed how the mood at their shows has changed. More people were there to jump up and down, sing along and dance like no one was watching than throw fists on either side of the pit. Though she was initially unsure of this shift, Connie realised that embracing this new way of performing meant they could also embrace the sort of musical influences they adored, which wouldn’t have been possible in the past.

“I missed the violence,” Connie laughs. “But I think I have embraced things more and more, and that’s what made me think about how the front of the room can be fun. That’s what clicked in my mind. Let’s make this all of this even more dancey. Let’s make this even more fun.”

On one side, that came from returning to their very early roots, throwing in even more of the sasscore elements that defined the likes of The Blood Brothers. On the other, it meant expressing their love for 00’s UK indie, with the sort of foot-tapping beats that Bloc Party and Foals were known for dealing out. It even meant plunging into the music of the time the record takes place, writing smooth lounge tracks to serve as narration and interludes at the same time. The result feels like a celebration of everything that alternative music has to offer. From Alesana to Killing The Dream, Ceremony to The Red Light String, being so open to many means of expression meant that the colours splattered against this ambitious canvas could sparkle all the more.

“Cowboy has always had this incessant need to change after every album. We need to imbue it with something different, and because I wanted to do something more ambitious, this was the right time to push forward in this way. If we’re going to do this, then we are going to commit. We will write an indie rock song. We will write lounge songs. There are still songs that have breakdowns, but there will also be driving bass and music to shake your ass to. It just has to be an extension of us. That’s the most important thing.”


When you look at the names that SYSC hit up to appear on ‘Coup De Grâce’, it would be easy to say that it was simply a selection of some of the finest talent the scene currently has at its disposal. Yet it is much more than that, as each guest star was selected because they fitted the song they appeared on perfectly. Kim Dracula’s sporadic uniqueness is readymade for the chaotic thrills of ‘Lubricant like Kerosene’, Courtney LaPlante’s ability to switch between sensual melancholy and guttural devastation lent itself beautifully to the drama of ‘To The Dancefloor For Shelter’, and the Emery-esque melodies of ‘Rhythm And Rapture’ were tailormade for nothing,nowhere.’s emotional pipes.

“It wasn’t a whole thing of going through the industry and having managers talk to managers,” Connie admits. “I texted Courtney, and she said yes. I DM’d Kim, and they said yes. nothing,nowhere. was a case of calling back to my roots because I love SoundCloud rap. There was a methodical reason for all of them. We didn’t go into this thinking that we would get a bunch of features or anything. But there was a thought process when it came to it, making sure that they did fit in thematically and it made sense.”

The final guest is also our narrator, embodied gorgeously by iRiS.EXE, who croons soft, sepia-toned jazz and lounge at the start, middle, and end of the album’s scorched tale. One of the very first ideas that Connie shared with the band concerning this concept is a voice that feels like home base within the twists and turns of the record, a tranquil and timeless guide to a world going up in flames.

Though having so many voices involved in this macabre tale would be a lot to take in for many a band, for SYSC, it stems from having one foot always in the underground. Alongside Connie, you will also hear guitarist Ethan Sgarbossa, bassist Taylor Allen and drummer AJ Tartol throw their tones into the mix. Creating such chaos, alongside inviting so many other powerful voices into the mix, is something that Connie thrives within and only allows her creativity to blossom even more.

“It comes from a love of screamo,” she smiles, always stoked to talk about the music that has guided her over the years. “It would always feel like the craziest thing ever for me listening to bands like that, hearing everybody with different cadences. It’s something that we wanted to carry over into Cowboy, and we definitely push ourselves and write crazier vocal parts because of it.”


The idea behind ‘Coup De Grâce’ is that you are watching a little piece of paradise away from all the outside world’s mayhem. In the same way that burlesque clubs offered an escape back in the 1920s, this particular establishment that we find ourselves in is shelter from an apocalypse. Different stories are playing out within its walls, all being observed and retold by the band, with the flames of oblivion edging ever closer to the door. For Connie, this environment represents two different parts of her. A pair of characteristics that combine decadence and danger, intimacy and intensity.

The first is hardcore and the solace that it has provided for her throughout her life. Knowing that no matter what, there is a show to be found where you can express yourself freely has always proved to be a crutch in her life, even in her darkest moments.

“The idea of the world burning down around me and me saying, ‘I fucking hate my life, I hate everything, I want to go to a show’. That was true for me as a 14-year-old kid, and it’s true for me now. That played into the concept, but I also wanted it to be separate from that. I didn’t want it to be in the way that hardcore bands speak about unity all the time and having each other’s backs. More of a metaphorical way, with the dancefloor as the focus.”

The other path that we go down is one of love and lust. Despite being non-monogamous for many years now, it is only since becoming clean that Connie has realised that such a lifestyle was actually a massive part of her rather than a reaction to her addiction. Now, rather than feeling shame and guilt for feeling a certain way, she feels freedom and pride in allowing her feelings to thrive. From a one-night stand turning into a lasting connection to focusing on how important sex and love can be when it feels like everything else is crumbling around you, she felt comfortable writing songs about the sheer thrill of physical touch, even if it is found in a way that many don’t conform to.

“I have the desire for all of these things, and now I can talk about it. Non-monogamy can be really romantic. It can be crazy. It can be an explosion of feelings. It’s something that exists regardless, and you can’t just sit back and pretend that it doesn’t. It’s about how chance encounters can change into something inside you more than it was supposed to. I’ve been able to now write about concepts that echo my life and the partners I have had. It’s something that I enjoy even though there are people who will look down on it. A core part of me pisses off a lot of people, but that’s just who I am.”


The idea of romantic connection without boundary is displayed within the picture that adorns the cover of ‘Coup De Grâce’. Two women are locked in a passionate embrace with nothing else in sight – just this moment of closeness, with smiles creeping across their lips as they lean towards each other. It’s the most crisp and direct artwork that SeeYouSpaceCowboy has put together, and there is a reason for that.

“This is an album that is an acceptance of things rather than a critique,”
Connie nods. “It allows for darkness and sultriness and sexiness. It is a very frank look at what we do behind closed doors where nobody can judge us. These spaces are for us where we can feel safe. But then there is still a bit of danger there, much like at a hardcore show where you could also get your teeth knocked out.”

The title works in the same way. The definition of a Coup De Grâce is a death blow, a knockout finish. For Connie, those blows come in the form of things that are much more intimate. A look across the room, a hand brushing on the small of your back, a word that tells you that things between you and another have changed forever. Though on the outside of this club, the Coup De Grâce is the world burning to ashes, inside, it is much more personal. Much like Shakespeare wrote ‘These violent delights have violent ends’ in Romeo & Juliet, here the actions of the characters the band have created move in ways that could have devastating repercussions. But where’s the fun in not dipping your toes in?

“It can all mean so many different things to me, and that’s what I liked about it,”
Connie states. “It became the perfect representation of these moments in time, be that throughout the course of a night, or the course of your life. It’s a word, a phrase, a moment, a look. Those are the things that I cling onto.”


The thing that you should never forget about SeeYouSpaceCowboy is that nothing is forever. By the time the smouldering wreckage of ‘Coup De Grâce’ has subsided, the band will already be thinking about who they want to be next. Though many may wish they would be a specific version of themselves for more than just an album cycle, that will never be a reality. The band will always be whatever Connie and Co want it to be, and if that doesn’t slot into your perception of them, then that’s tough luck.

So make sure that you absorb every single second of this stunning piece of work, a modern classic in the making. By the time you have gotten your head around every nuance, every reference, and every romantic swoon, SeeYouSpaceCowboy will already be far off in the distance. It’s up to you to try and keep up.

“Cowboy is not for anybody else but us,” Connie concludes proudly. “It’s an entity and representation of the people in it. We have always done what we have done, and it has always been satisfying to me at the time. These albums are postcards of my life, and that’s what they will always be.”

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