Talking with Guitarist Keenan Cosner about Messing’s Debut Album ‘Couldn’t Be Better’

Keenan Cosner
Photo: Mac Hunt

Atlanta-based pop-rock outfit Messing releases their debut album, Couldn’t Be Better, a collection of songs about trying, and often failing, to grow up. Messing’s lead guitarist is Keenan Cosner, who dazzles on the album.

Vocalist Mac Hunt shares, “A lot of the songs were inspired by my time and experiences in Atlanta’s music scene, but as a whole, they tend to capture images and moments that 20-somethings can universally relate to. It’s fun, it’s not pretentious, and it’s not trying to be something it isn’t. It’s our first record and we’re really proud of it.”

Keenan Cosner
Messing | Photo: Brian Manly

Produced by TJ Elias (Manchester Orchestra, Grouplove, Walk the Moon) and recorded at Big Trouble Recording Studio, highlights on Couldn’t Be Better include “Lesser Bars,” “Trashcans,” “So What, Whatever,” “Mugshots,” and “Be Fine.”

Messing’s sound, vaguely reminiscent of Third Eye Blind, blends elements of new wave emo, pop-punk, and ‘90s alt-rock into tasty, evocative music brimming with beaucoup vibrant energy and captivating leitmotifs.

Guitar Girl Magazine spoke with Messing’s lead guitarist, Keenan Cosher, to find out more about how she got started in music, her guitars, and her definition of tone.

What three things can’t you live without?

Music, weed, and other loving people.

Who is in Messing and which instrument do they play?

Mac Hunt is the brains, lead vocals, and rhythm guitar, Cooper Greenlee plays bass and does some vocals, we got Laura Wilson on keys and some vocals, Anna Messick on drums, and then I play lead guitar and do some background vocals as well.

How did you get started in music?

I’ve been playing guitar and teaching myself since I was about 10 or so, I played in my first band when I was 18 and then I’ve just been in it all, writing for myself or playing in any projects that would have me.

Where are you from?

I’m from all over, my parents moved a lot while I was growing up for reasons related to the church, so I’ve lived in PA, MD, FL, SC, NY, Costa Rica, and Belize, and now as an adult, I live in Atlanta.

Did your hometown impact your sound?

I think not having one and teaching myself all have an impact on how I play and perform now, I wouldn’t know how to define it though.

What kind of guitar do you play?

That depends on what day it is! But I love to play either my Epiphone Wilshire reissue or my Burns Cobra.

What is your definition of tone? And is your tone changing, or remained pretty much the same?

For me, tone is about sounding big and full, trying to fill out every edge of every chord and make every lead note cut through at the same time.

What inspires your writing? Do you draw inspiration from poems, music, TV, or other media?

I listen to a lot of other artists, and I listen to experiences I’ve had and experiences the people around me have, and I just mix and match my feelings with my ideas till it sounds right.

How do you define success?

Success is doing what you love, and success is not giving up.

What can you share about your writing process?

I personally start by writing music structurally or just individual parts. I try and flesh that out into a song shape and then I add the melodies and words I want.

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