Interview: Cosmic Boys

French techno pair Cosmic Boys recently returned to UMEK’s renowned 1605 imprint, following their successful collaboration with the label boss that went straight to the top spot on Beatport.

The follow up is an all-original offering in the form of their new Paranormal EP, with more than enough potential to continue their run of good form.

We spoke to the duo about the new release, what’s to come from them in the next few months and how they manage both studio time and DJ sets when working together.

You just returned to 1605 for your new Paranormal EP, tell us about the studio sessions that led to this release?

At that time, we had just finished our collaboration with UMEK called Evolution which is currently charted No.1 on Beatport. Afterwards we went back to making our solo tracks and soon finished a couple we thought UMEK might like, so it was only natural that we offered him this EP, and we were delighted he wanted to release the tracks on his label 1605.

How did the interaction go in getting the tracks signed?

We sent UMEK a message on SoundCloud after the tracks were finished and he replied very quickly to say that he’d like to sign them. It was a great moment for us!

Other labels you have released with include Kuukou, Legend and HE-ART, what kind of things do you consider when looking for a label?

Kuukou is Simina Grigoriu’s label who often gives us feedback on the promos that we send her, so it was a natural progression for us to start sending her some of our unsigned tracks. HE-ART is run by Oscar Aguilera who we had been speaking to over Facebook, and we made the tracks he signed in tribute to our friend Charles. Legend is our own label, so we release on it quite regularly as it’s great to have the freedom to release whatever we want on our own imprint.

You also head up your own Scander imprint, though we haven’t seen anything on there since 2018. Will it be making a comeback soon?

Scander focuses on minimal, which is a sound that right now we aren’t really focused on, as currently we are really enjoying making and playing energetic techno. Legend is our platform for releasing techno tracks, so right now that’s our focus. We have lots of ideas for Scander, but we don’t want to lose the momentum of Legend, and don’t want to lose our focus by taking on too many projects all at once.

Let’s talk about your 2020 release schedule, what other labels might you be putting tracks on this year?

We have a remix for Ryan Michael Robbins which will be released in May on his Fierce Animal Recordings label, and that will be followed by a new EP on our label Legend. We also have a nice surprise lined up for Legend that will arrive at the beginning of summer, right now that’s a secret, but we can’t wait to tell the public more about this project!

And what kind of influence has COVID-19 had on your production schedule?

We are fortunate to have a full calendar until the summer, as it gives us a few months to work on new tracks and refine our techniques to see our new inspirations. Legend also takes up a lot of our time, and we have some cool ideas that we have now got some time to work on. Our moto is always to take advantage of every situation and question ourselves to try and be better in both music and life.

Being a duo, how do you manage to control conflicting opinions when making a track?

We have different personalities, but when it comes to production or a DJ mix we share a near identical mindset. (A bit like the merges in Dragon Ball Z haha!) It’s very rare that we disagree because most often our influence and individual styles compliment each other. Both being on the same page in our vison for music means we know where we want to take it.

And what way do you handle DJ sets, track for track or split the set time into larger chunks?

In our DJ sets, we each have a specific role. One of us is on Traktor and generally works on queuing up 3-4 tracks at a time, while the other is on Ableton Push so we can add our own snares, claps, hi-hats or vocal samples. This combination allows us to work the mix differently, and treat our DJ sets more like a live performance. This makes each of our shows unique, as the possibilities are endless, and we really enjoy this creative style of playing live.

Cosmic Boys’ Paranormal EP is out now on 1605.