Cosmo's Midnight & Matthew Young interview each other, share collab It's Love
Their new single is Cosmo's third for the year, and Matthew's first since his debut Fruit EP in 2018.
Matthew Young and Cosmo's Midnight come from two very different pockets of electronica, from two different places. The former is a New Zealand-based pop musician who shared his debut EP, Fruit, last year; lush with Kate Bush covers and tall-standing moments of pop brilliance that really centred his name in New Zealand's scene. The latter, meanwhile, are Sydney production twins who at this point, need no introduction; going from strength to strength with a littering of singles since their debut album What Comes Next in 2018.
In saying that, however, they both represent the futures of their respective sounds. Cosmo's approach on slick, hip-hop-intertwined electronica is amongst the country's most creative and consistently brilliant, building themselves a name as a keen collaborator whose collaborative reach spans throughout the US, Europe and Australia, while Matthew's electronic-backed take on shimmering pop occupies many lanes at the same time - all united to create a sound that is distinctly of the New Zealand rising star.
Today, sees the pairing come together. It's Love is a perfect combination of Cosmo's forward-thinking prowess in the electronic world, crafting a production that layers their groove-filled blend of electronica and hip-hop with Matthew Young's charming vocal, which moulds itself into an almost soulful take on his trademark pop - perhaps a side-product of having Cosmo's funk blend underneath. It's smooth R&B brought to a new level, and Matthew Young is the perfect musician to help execute that on a vocal-level - it's a match made in heaven.
"It's Love with Matt is pretty much a mash of styles we've enjoyed over the last few years, from manchester sound to disco and funk," says Cosmo's Midnight on the track. "The song came about so quickly, we just had this crunchy beat going and cosmo played this really aggressive funky bassline that just sets a really strong pace."
Dive into the track below, with an interview between the two groups that talk about... a lot. It's really a lot, but worth diving into:
Patrick, Cosmo's Midnight (P): Ok, I’m going to start with a silly question: what is either the last thing you wrote in your iPhone notes or the best thing you wrote in your iPhone notes?
Matthew Young (M): Ah man, the last thing I wrote in my iPhone notes was the last question I was going to ask you. But that’s a bit boring. Actually the last thing was a drawing, that’s because I went to the doctor, and it’s a drawing of my tonsil. I'm pointing out where I think I have an infection, and then he told me again that there was no infection there...for the third time. Yeah, so I made my tongue pink, and there are even bottom teeth.
P: Yeah, if I was a doctor, I would find this very clear.
M: But before that (in notes) is actually all the things I wanted to talk to him about that tonsil. So I don’t know if that’s the weirdest or the best. I mean, it’s pretty good.
Cosmo, Cosmo's Midnight (C): That’s pretty good. Notes go pretty far. They cover almost everything. I have lots of like jokes that aren’t funny yet. I put them in there to stew. And then I come back, and I'm like, “is it ready yet?” ...and I'm like “no”.
P: Jokes you’ve made, or jokes you've heard of?
C: Jokes I’ve thought of.
P: If I hear someone say something profound or funny, I usually write it down. Like a friend of mine said, “I’ve got last night stuck in my throat”. And I found it funny. It was because he was coughing a lot and I was like, I’ve got to write it down and save it for later.
C: That’s good. It’s like someone’s out there putting quote marks around you all the time.
P: I’ve got some, (for when) if we go to another country and stuff.
M: Ah right, like little phrases. Can I use the restroom?
P: No, more like when we’re addressing audiences and stuff.
M: Ah, like, ‘can we please put a pause on this song, I need to use the restroom?’
P: Yeah I’ve got one for Korea and one for Indonesia.
M: That’s great. Hopefully one day I will have those. In Korea, it would be ‘please point me towards the Bulgogi Beef Store.’
P: Do you ask for that, or is it BBQ? It’s like do you ask for Korean fried chicken in Korea, or do you just ask for fried chicken?
C: Yeah, like in Portugal, do you ask for a Portuguese tart or just a tart?
M: Ok, my turn for a question. This is a dumb one too. It’s kind of triple-barrelled. Being twins, do your sneezes sound the same? Do you need a mirror for trying on new clothes? And also do you hate twin questions?
P: Um, I feel like, even though we’re pretty similar...
C: I hate twin questions that aren’t those… You’re the only one that has put a spin to a twin question ever.
M: Yeah, hey, so do you need a mirror, like can you just say, ‘hey can you try on this shirt I want to know what it looks like?’
P: Yeah, a lot of the time. Close enough yeah, close enough.
C: Yeah, you’d try it on, and I’d say if it looks good on you then I’ll assume it looks good on me, too.
M: That’s amazing.
C: But Pat’s a bit more like lanky-ish, and I’m a bit more like thick-y, but it still tends to work out.
M: Why do you think that is? Who gets the most nutrition in the womb?
C: Me, I guess. I came out second.
P: Yeah, he had more time.
M: Did they pull you out and say ‘well I’ll leave him in there for a few days’.
C: So what was the second question. About sneezes? Yeah, I’m more like my Dad. Where you just need to make a big statement.
P: It’s more a scream.
P: Um, ok bringing it more to like real questions. How do you feel living in NZ has influenced your life and music?
M: Um, living in NZ’s sick because if the shit goes down anywhere in the world, they don’t even know about us, so we’ll keep surviving. No matter what.
C: I’d say that about Australia, but…
M: Ah, hell no, Australia’s like, fucking huge. And everyone knows it’s there.
P: There’s a lot of world maps that don’t have NZ.
M: There’s a whole Reddit called ‘Maps Without NZ.’
C: Yeah I’ve seen that. It’s a lot of maps.
M: So, living in NZ is great. It’s so breezy, you know everybody. There’s no such thing as celebrities. Which is cool.
P: Except like Russell Crowe, I guess.
M: No, he’s yours.
P: Nah he’s from NZ isn’t he?
C: Everyone thinks he’s American now.
M: Everyone’s trying to pass him along. America would be like ‘he’s Canadian’, and Canada would be like ‘nah, he’s Australian again’.
Um, it's been great. I think musically, it’s interesting because celebrity culture can’t thrive in NZ, so I think pop music is viewed in a very different way. Like you know you aren’t going to be the pop star with everyone chasing you around because ‘my cousin went to school with that person’ at the very least, so it’s more like our weird version of pop music. Just because we’ve been indoctrinated with American culture just like everyone else, but we’re so far away and still have Kiwi culture that’s dumb as hell, in a great way.
P: I guess being so far removed and isolated kind of forces a new kind of creativity on you.
M: I guess it just makes the perspective a little bit warped. It’s like looking through wonky glass.
P: I guess it’s like ‘what’s America doing?’
M: Yeah it’s like, ‘what’s America doing. I better check that out from afar?’
C: There’s no like ‘A-Lister’ from NZ or Australia. It just means people are listening to ‘non-pop’ music. It gives it a chance for ‘non-pop’ music to thrive more.
M: I think it did in the past. It’s much more pop now, but I think it’s because pop has matured.
P: Yeah it’s much more broad these days.
M: Yeah it’s like ‘who really cares about what genre we’re listening to?’
P: Yeah, like if it’s a good song.
M: I feel like the era now is a little reminiscent of the 80s where people were like ‘let's just write classic songs’, pop songs or otherwise. There was such a treasure trove of that. And then the 90s came along and everyone was like ‘let's just make unhappy noises’. And which one of those two things has stood the test of time, you know what I mean?
C: Haha, yeah.
P: Unhappy noises?
M: Like not really in the 90s, but let's just say from ‘97 to the mid-2000 something, when it was like nu-metal. You know, you don’t hear anyone say, ‘well fuck me, let’s bring back nu-metal’. Anyway, I don’t even remember the question.
M: Oh, yes, so NZ is great.
M: Um, ok, I will ask a more serious question. Was the shift away from the more polished pop sound of your earlier stuff, into the slightly looser kind of more instrumental funk-like sound - was that like a breakneck shift? Or was that like a progression where we were like ‘let's take it away from being a little bit more digital to make it a little bit more analog and organic, or rough around the edges?’
C: It was more like a progression. You know we have moved away from just using the computer.
P: And also for our concerts. We moved away from djing to doing a live show. So like you want to make music that you can play. And the thing with just digital music, it’s kind of hard for that to translate to a live show nicely, So if you can do something that’s a bit more jammy and a bit more funky, it goes really well. You know, it’s a bit looser, it has a bit more feeling to it.
C: I just feel that music that can blend the two worlds together, (digital and analog) to me that's the best combination... It just thrives.
P: I don’t think we make super big, conscious decisions. We just kind of go with our gut.
M: Yeah it think that's great, I think that's perfect. I think the era we live in and work in musically is all about sound and tone and it doesn’t matter about instrument choices. As long as its sounding good and it feels good. You want people to disengage the analytical part of their brain when they listen to music.
P: Yeah, you want to make them feel and not think.
C: If a song is just really well made, you don’t need to overthink it. You just become absorbed in it.
M: Like making quick decisions, like this is the sound. Good.
P: Like all the big decisions can be made in the first half an hour to an hour.
C: So this question is what if there was no streaming anymore...what would you go back to? Would you go back to like gramophone or vinyl, or like CDs or cassettes?
M: CD. Purely for the economy of music. It’s like CD can hold more sound and that’s entirely it. I know that’s such a boring way to answer that question, but that’s it. I like vinyl for the packaging, and that’s it.
P: Then you don’t even play it.
M: Like we have a record player, but it doesn’t have that much shine really.
C: Mine’s pretty dusty.
M: I’m not like one of these people who are like an audiophile or a purist. I know when something sounds crap. But music is so good, because it just exists out here in moving particles through space. Moving air, that’s why it’s so good. So CDs great. I can chuck like 20 tracks on that shit.
C: I like cassettes. Plus I love the way they look. Anything with tape.
M: Ok I’ll ask another question. What would you do if you found out you had a triplet that your parents kept hidden away as a backup in case one of you quits the band?
P: I guess if we found out we’d add them back into the band, and then we’d take over the world, because having another one of us…
M: Would you feel a little bit scared of your parents, a little bit betrayed?
P: A little bit slighted, maybe, I don’t know.
C: Part of me would be like that's an amazing contingency plan you've thought of there, but yes I’d obviously feel a little betrayed.
P: What’s that movie, A Clockwork Orange?
M: It’d be so good. You could just take sick days if you don't feel like playing.
C: Yeah I’m assuming that they would have to be a bit of a workhorse. This triplet doesn’t take a spilt.
P: So I’ve got another question. People normally ask who you’d like to work with, so I want to ask who you’d like to see work together.
M: Ah, it’s so hard to not want me in those two things.
P: Well you can include yourself if you want…
M: Well the thing is, two of my favourite artists Peter Gabriel and Joni Mitchell made a song together...so it’s happened...but, if I could have any two work together...uh, man, that’s so hard. I think Young Thug would be in there. For me, Young Thug is, outside of not being a musical genius, he is like the ‘Prince of now’ to me. Crazy vocalist, makes a million songs, super prolific. If Prince were still alive, I reckon that…
C: That would be pretty huge.
M: But Prince on production.
C: And then would it be like him coming to YT, or would they meet in the middle? Or would it be like them clashing?
M: Yeah I don’t think they’d get along, hey. Because that’s like two big egos, and two really prolific and I guess like…
P: And Prince is really musical.
M: Yeah totally, like YT is a freestyler.
P: Yeah that's something I’d love to see. Try to make a ‘what if’.
M: I think YT’s voice would really suit that sound.
P: After hearing that Rage Against The Machine stuff, I’d like to hear what it would be like for Denzel (to play) with them.
M: Yeah yeah.
P: And that could happen, because they’ve just been announced for Coachella. So that’d be cool. Prince is always in our someone you would love to work with.
M: Um, ok. This is a more serious and boring question. Are you guys more about the studio life or the live shows. And you can’t say both equally...it’s cheating to say you like one the same as the other.
P: I know for me myself, I like making music in the studio.
C: Yeah, like the studio is great because that’s where all the creation is done. And that’s where you can be in your most comfortable space, you know you’re obviously not in front of people which is nerve wracking, and you’re worried people are going to say ‘well that sucked.’
M: Yeah like ‘well that sucked’ is my official review.
C: But the fun part is when you have a song that you’ve been working on in the studio and you go out there and they loved it…
P: Yeah, that makes you feel like a God.
C: You have the bad shows as well, where you feel like you didn’t feel like you killed it. And that’s not fun.
P: Yeah, you get like a different type of high from performing live, whereas writing music is a completely different.
C: I get this thing (when) I’m writing music and I get up and do laps around the room and I’m like ‘uh, it’s so good’, but then I’ll listen to it the next day and I’ll go ‘uh, this is so bad’. But at the time, when I was vibing it so much, that’s the funniest feeling. Even if it sucks the next day…
P: Yeah, I feel like the one thing I really like is you go get a coffee and then you just put it on in the car or in the background or something, and you start to get really gee’d up about it, how you’re writing this song and you’re like ‘phwoar, I can do all this’. Having coffee just give you clarity, or gets you excited about stuff.
C: Yeah I like coffee for the taste, but I don’t necessarily need it, I'm already quite caffeinated as it is.
M: Have you ever had coffee with a blocked nose? It tastes like ash.
P: I had a really weird coffee when I was in NY. They were like strawberry, hazelnut or vanilla. And I was like, can I just get a flat white? And they were like what the heck’s that. I had a little Australian elitist moment there.
P: I’ve got one last question, any favourite Manga or Anime series, or one that you’re watching at the moment?
M: Well I really want to start reading Ace the Diamond. It’s about baseball. I just like the sports ones. I may be the only person that likes the sports ones.
C: Yeah, like do you like watching it?
M: Nah, I don’t like watching it anymore. I don't like watching it because the voices don’t match up in my head, mostly because im listening to it in English. But yeah, the English dubs are like so so bad. The English dubs SUCK. So I can’t be bothered with that, so I just stick to Studio Ghibli and all that, and I’m happy with that. But it’s the Manga, Ace the Diamond...you can’t buy it in a studio copy.
P: You can read it online.
M: But then that’ll keep me awake. I don’t like reading things online. Reading is for rest.
C: Yeah, I don’t like reading things online. Even with the Kindles, I’m like ‘where is the paper?’
M: It’s like that tactile thing you know.
P: And you can’t smell a Kindle.
M: Well you can smell it just won’t smell like a book.
M: Ok, I have one more question. So this song took us a while to get done. Should we start a follow-up track now, so we have one ready by November 2020?
P: That’s really pessimistic. But it took a long time.
M: It took a year. It was November last year that we had that last session.
C: We had a bit of downtime.
M: We were all busy.
P: We were busy, but we were also kind of figuring out the direction of the next record.
C: It was kind of the first demo we wrote, right? From like, that’s going to be on our new stuff.
M: Oh, so it was the beginning for you guys right?
P: So yeah, we were doing a lot of thinking at the time, we were thinking about the energy of what the future was going to be.
P: Yeah, we were going to be more like that song, that KC And The Sunshine Band and then we were going to make it more this and more that, and then we decided to make it what is was. Which was just the demo we started with. It felt right, you know, don't fight the feeling.
M: Yeah, I love the song.
P: Since I’ve got the master, I’ve been like...I think we wrote that bridge like 2 weeks before turning it in...
M: The instruments?
P: Yeah, so I think it's one of those songs you have to sit and marinate.
C: That's the whole theme of this whole thing, you know, my jokes were stewing, I was stewing in the womb, and you’ve got to let tracks stew...
M: That triplet was stewing a little bit longer.
C: And his name was Stu.
M: And his name was Stu. Haha, that’s so good. Full circle.
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