Xceed-Interview-Cosmic Boys

Interview with Cosmic Boys: “We are not just playing the same records as everyone else”

In occasion of their latest release on UMEK’s 1605, we spoke with the French duo Cosmic Boys about how their project started, their different type of live set and their future projects 34

France has always been a very active country when it comes to electronic music and it’s where some of the biggest names of the industry actually come from. Still today it offers talent and innovation, like the ones of Cosmic Boys. They met at a young age when both were already into music and started their project after a collaboration on the label Scander. They are two very prolific producers, and in their live shows, they always try and deliver some different, merging creativity with technology, and never repeating the same sound.

We chatted with the French duo in occasion of their latest release on UMEK‘s 1605 talking about how their relationship with both the artist and the label started, what are their main inspirations, their studio and live set and their project for the upcoming future.

Xceed-Interview-Cosmic Boys-Nantes
Image: © Cosmic Boys

Sebastian, Gaby, how did you two meet and when did you come up with the idea of your Cosmic Boys project?

This goes back to over 9 years ago. We are both from Montpellier, in France, and before meeting each other we were already DJs and we were both producing music. Sebastien already had his label Scander and Gaby signed a track on the imprint, which is how the first contact happened. Soon after we became friends and we decided to start making music together. This is when Cosmic Boys was born… and we’ve never stopped since.

And why did you decide to define yourself “Cosmic”?

“Cosmic” is a good description of our music and also of our personalities. Sebastien was sleeping when he first thought of the name. He woke up at 4 in the morning, called Gaby straight away and just said “Cosmic Boys”. We agreed it was the perfect name for us. It sounded like a no-brainer!

You are French, and we all know that France has always had a very large and important electronic music background. But where does the passion for techno music come from, what are your musical roots?

We have been listening to electronic music from our childhood. From Bonzai Records, Thunderdome, to dance and trance style in the ‘90s. What really marked a turning point was Le BarLive, which was one of the best after-parties in Europe. Many things about this event inspired us… especially the resident DJ Cebb.

Xceed-Interview-Cosmic Boys-GECNIV
Image: © GECNIV

You are also very prolific producers; between original tracks and remixes you have a very large backlog. Where does all of your inspiration come from?

Our inspiration comes from what we experience in everyday life. It can be an event, something we see in a film, or something as simple as listening through a new sample pack. We are fortunate to work in a partnership where we spark each other’s creativity.

How is your studio organized, what can’t absolutely miss in your equipment?

We use Mac and work with “Logic Pro X” plus an “Apollo Twin” interface from Universal Audio. We also use a MPK49 master keyboard from AKAI and the monitors are Yamaha HS7. We work a lot with Software Synths like Sylenth from Lennar Digital and VST Diva, but there are also many others. Rather than having lots of different bits of equipment, we try to know every synthesizer perfectly, so we can make the most of these capacities and transcribe the exact sound we want to create.

And your live set “is a blend of mix in 4 tracks by Sebastien synchronized with the Pad by Gaby”. Can you explain this better?

In our DJ sets we each have a specific role. Sebastien is on Traktor and generally works on cueing up 3-4 tracks at a time, while Gaby is on Ableton Push so we can add our own snares, claps, hi-hats or other samples. This combination allows us to treat our DJ sets more like a live performance. The possibilities are endless, and we really enjoy this creative way of playing live, as it means we are not just playing the same records as everyone else… we add our personal touch by making edits on the spot.

Xceed-Interview-Cosmic Boys-Live
Image: © Cosmic Boys

All your productions get to the top of the techno rankings of Beatport. Being always on the top, what’s your opinion regarding rankings in general? Don’t you think they influence too much the choices taken in the industry?

We are happy that our music pleases and is played all over the world. It’s the greatest recognition of our work. Many DJs or even simple amateurs mainly listen to what is going on in the top of charts, because there is so much new music it’s almost impossible to keep track of all of it. Nowadays charts are a good way to filter what is good, as recently not everything in stores is actually worth buying. Beatport has no quality filter, so checking out all the new releases often means listening to bad music rather than good. Charts are often the DJ communities shared opinion on what has a good sound, but of course everyone still hunts for secret weapons.

It’s exceedingly difficult for people with talent to get noticed because these days the industry doesn’t only consider how good the music sounds, but also looks for social media followers. It’s sad that music alone is not all that matters, but instead, people are looking for the full package. We know it’s tough for new artists, as we had to go through all those tough times ourselves, but if you stay strong and have talent, then you’ll make it. Social networks are important for development because they are a great tool to communicate and share music directly with fans, plus connect with other artists of a similar mindset. With a little more time and research, we can find great artists of the future, and we are always on the hunt for new talent… especially for our label Legend.

Talking of which… where did the idea of opening your own label Legend come from? Do you consider the launch of a label a kind of turning point for an artist’s career?

We already had our label Scander, focused on minimal style, and through that imprint we reached the No.1 position on Beatport several times. Over time we felt the urge to orient ourselves towards techno, so the idea of a new label was growing. We waited two years before launching Legend, which was a real springboard thanks to the Hype category on Beatport, as it gave us the possibility of being visible quick… whereas before, it was necessary to sign on a major label to have that instant visibility.

Continuing talking of labels, you have just released your latest EP on UMEK’s 1605. How did you get to this release?

We were already working with 1605 after making a track in collaboration with UMEK. As soon as we finished off that track and went back to working on our solo music, we decided that we wanted to make some more tracks that we hoped UMEK would love to play in his DJ sets. As we already had a good idea of what UMEK loves to play, we did what we do naturally, without the need of asking any questions. When UMEK heard the tracks he agreed to sign them, and the rest is history…

How did your relationship with UMEK start, and how was it to collaborate with him?

We love the style of UMEK and 1605, so we think it already fits our vision of music. We spoke with him a few times via Instagram and we then sent him several projects we had been working on. He particularly hung on an “Evolution” and we started to work on it as a collaboration.

In the future we could expect more…

We’re already in the studio preparing some new demos for UMEK which could possibly end up in some co-production if he likes them. The advantage of working with an artist like him is that our musical visions are similar, so it’s easy for us to collaborate.

In these days of lockdown, we’ve been watching a lot TV, and we saw that your track “Jarvis” was featured by Greg Berlanti in the season Black Lightning on Netflix. How was it to hear your track on a movie?

It’s a pride and an honor! Especially because we love the DC Comics and Marvel universe. Their series and films are super inspiring for us. We called the track “Jarvis” after Sebastien’s French Bull Dog, another member of our Cosmic Boys family.

For those who are missing clubbing, an alternative to TV series are the many DJ set streamings. Have you done or are you programming any?

Yes, we made one, TogetheratHome. In these complicated times, you have to know how to somehow adapt yourself… live streaming also allows you to keep the link with the audience, that we currently really miss.

When things will go back to normal, hopefully soon, which are going to be your next steps and what’s on your calendar?

Go see our families first, and meet our friends over a good meal. Then continue our projects for our Legend label, and see our fans again in clubs and festivals around the world. We want to celebrate together as soon as possible, we really miss connecting with people! But we are certain that sunny days are coming… and in the meantime, we have to behave well and we hope all our fans are safe!


(Cover Image: © Cosmic Boys)

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