What isn’t there to love about Cosmo’s Midnight? Bumping basslines, refreshingly groovy beats, and an exciting mix of collaborations over the years, from Buddy & Jay Prince, to Westside Boogie, Tkay Maidza, and Aotearoa’s own Matthew Young - just to name a few.
Photography by Oli Spencer
Written by Oli Spencer
Made up of twin brothers Cosmo and Patrick, the duo officially formed in 2012, and have been fine-tuning their sound with each release since - each track more refreshing than the last. After a decade, they have made it clear they are proficient production maestros, constantly evolving into one of the most dynamic electronic duos to date.
Following up from their first single of the year ‘Can’t Go Without (My Baby), Cosmo’s Midnight have struck two for two with the infectiously catchy ‘Bang My Line’ featuring Tkay Maidza. The sun-kissed groover explores the funny feeling of waiting for your crush to ‘bang your line’ when you’re too spooked to make the first move yourself. Co-written by Australian psychedelic-pop artist Winston Surfshirt at his home studio, where the guys soaked up the sunshine and played darts by the poolside. The little slice of paradise found its way into the single, resulting in a track oozing in hazy west-coast funk and groovy basslines. The cherry on top of course, is the entrancing and forever funky vocals of Tkay Maidza, a true icon of her own shaking up the music scene with her buoyant blend of hip-hop and R&B.
Whatever is cooking up in the world of Cosmo’s Midnight right now, we are so ready for it. We sat down with the twins to chat all about ‘Bang My Line’, their dream samples, and the healthy competition that comes with working as brothers
Do you guys remember the very first song you ever made?
Pat: I think if I had to really really go back, I do remember, but I wouldn’t almost call it a song… I had some Eminem acapella and a bassline I wrote. I didn’t know what I was doing yet, and I kind of just played them together and I guess that’s a song. I did that when I was 15 or 14.
Cosmo: I remember you saved it to the iPod shuffle after, showing friends like ‘I write music’.
Pat: Yeah I started early, but I was really not good for a long time.
Cosmo: I didn’t even start writing music until almost two years later. I was almost exclusively watching Pat making and writing, I didn’t really wanna get my hands involved yet, I don’t know why. I think the first track I wrote was probably on that Dell computer, it was really hot and had to be plugged in otherwise it would turn off. We’d like rip the audio off audacity, because you couldn’t export, we only had a demo version at the time. I made a song called China Cats, like China doll cats made of porcelain and it was horrible. But I kinda wanna listen to it, I wish I could find it. I don’t know where it is, I just remember it sounding really janky. And even then I was like I don’t know if this is it, but I was just really happy anyway.
Pat: Man, I feel like there was so much more mystic to writing music back then. It was accessible then, but the accessibility now is just off the charts – so much YouTube information, sample packs…back then I was just listening to songs like Daft Punk and there would be a mystery about how they get that drum sound or synth sound. Now you can just google it and someone’s like here’s the pre-set, here’s the drum loop. I love it though, it’s made us improve so much faster.
Cosmo: Enabling is the word of current production, back then you were like in the dark with a match that’s gonna run out of stick.
Did your interest in music happen at the same time?
Pat: We have an older brother, and we were doing the younger sibling thing, kind of getting more into their passions than they are. He was vaguely into DJing for like a week, so he downloaded Ableton, and naturally I was like - I want a go of that. Then I got completely hooked and obsessed. I was maybe a year or two ahead of Cos, but we count the same time.
Cosmo: I was using Ableton but I was doing just mash ups and stuff, I’d get two songs and put them together, it wasn’t really writing - kinda more Girl Talk style… not even that though. Two years later, we pressed tab on the computer which turns Ableton into a writing thing instead of just like a DJing thing. Mind blown, I think it took us two years to press tab!
What is the first memory that comes to you when you think of making 'Bang my Line'?
Pat: Definitely being up at Winston Surfshirt’s house, he lives in the Northern beaches like on a hill and he’s got a sunny mid-century modern house that’s got this beautiful garden and super sunny courtyard with a pool. It just feels like LA, he’s got heaps of cacti everywhere. All I can really think about is playing darts and drinking beer. And then we eventually wrote a song.
Cosmo: Even staying up the coast, the Northern Coast of NSW. My friend’s beach house. We wrote a lot of the track there too. Something about being in sun drenched areas is just inspiring, like coastal areas.
Pat: We always go on writing trips to a beach somewhere, that’s where we get most of our writing done.
Cosmo: It doesn’t feel like work at all, not that music ever does feel like work, but when we were living in separate apartments, I’d come over and we’d write in the corner of the room you know. When you have this lovely view and you’re doing stuff surrounding the day like going to the beach, eating nice food, it just feels so much more organic and part of the process rather than lets go write.
What’s it like working as brothers?
Cosmo: It’s not a struggle to meet eye to eye on the directional aesthetic to music. Sometimes in a band or in a group there might be a bit of compromise, maybe where people are like I want it to sound this way, let’s meet in the middle. There’s a cool combination of what we bring to the table, two styles. And also, you just have that comfortable thing where you don’t have to lie about something being shit. You’ll just tell them you know. Like good bands, they get to know each other a lot and they’re really good friends, but we kind of just cut the chase on that part.
Pat: You don’t have to ever worry about tip toeing over social issues of being not super close. If you think it sucks, we just say that was arse, can we redo that - or do something different and no hard feelings.
Cosmo: And you don’t get defensive about it because you know the other person has got the best interest in mind, having that kind of objectivity of just being brothers. I don’t know if you can be a bit more honest and to the point than you normally could be.
Is there ever healthy competition between you two?
Pat: I think we are just so different. Cos excels in playing bass and guitar and just writes completely different music to me. What usually happens is that Cos will write an idea or produce it up to sound more cosmos midnight-y. What I bring to the table is that I play keys and I sing, so when we combine it’s like Cos is doing a lot of the rhythm side of things. He just plays way different chords and different keys than me. Whenever we get stuck in a certain way Cosmo can switch it up and I can switch what he does up. It keeps us consistent as well as generating new ideas and trying not to paint ourselves in a corner stylistically. It’s kind of like when you have a sculpture and someone will do massive chunks and chop out the initial kind of image and then someone comes in with the chisel and refines and does the detail. Pat’s a very detail-oriented producer, just very technically adapted and good at adding those finishing touches. He works with a lot of artists and producers as well as our projects, so I think it's a good dynamic to have.
What’s been your biggest pinch me moment so far?
Cosmo: Man every day, where I get to not have to do anything and make a new song.
Pat: I think you’re downplaying being a musician hahah!
Cosmo: No, you have to do a lot of work, but you can’t lie, it’s a dream to make this a living - writing music. I have freedom which is what you want in life.
Pat: The only people I hang out with during the week are other music people, they’re the only people that our schedules align with.
Cosmo: I guess also just like little milestones along the way, like damn… people are listening to our music, then we go to a gig and suddenly there’s thousands of people there singing your songs. You just go wow, we made it.
Pat: I think the first ever pinch me moment was when we played Falls Festival in like 2017 or something, we’d never played to a crowd that big. We were just blown away and it was basically when our song ‘History’ came out, it was the first song we really heard thousands of people singing along. It was really odd because we didn’t see anything that indicated why this would be happening. Then it all started spiralling upwards from there. We did 5 Metro shows in a row in Sydney which was just unheard of - quite literally the year before we played this club that had a 200 capacity. Going from that to a theatre like 5 times a row in, you just had to take it in your stride and not get too overwhelmed.
We were also very, very shy people… we would be literally shaking at shows, and going from that to now front manning the band, it’s like I don’t know I’d never ever picked that we’d be doing this. I had to do some speeches at uni and I struggled to do that, so going from that to singing, the vulnerability that comes with putting your voice on records and prescribing meanings and lyrics and all that. It’s a whole other level of revealing yourself, it’s really rewarding, but I never thought I’d get to the point where I felt comfortable to do this.
What is your dream sample?
Pat: We do sample a little bit in our music, but we try to find samples that are so obscure that they’re cheap to clear. I remember once we sampled Jill Scott’s ‘Cross My Mind’, we really wanted to release it – and this was back before we had a name to ourselves, so budgets were definitely not a thing… anyway, we hit up their publishing team like we really love this, and they came back saying $30,000 USD and we were like okay we’re not using it anymore. We ended up getting KUČKA to sing on it and it ended up being way better.
Cosmo: I’m almost so afraid to sample I feel like my entire library of songs is put out of my mind.
Pat: There’s this Michael Jackson song, I think it’s produced by Stevie Wonder, it’s from ‘Off the Wall’. I really like that song as well, I would like to turn that into a beat. It has this slinky high bass pattern, it’s kind of reminiscent of KAYTRANADA, if it were before KAYTRANADA existed. A sound forward for its time as well. I just want to sample one of those estates that are super hectic with their licensing like Marvin Gaye or something. If it were free for all, I’d be like yes! I’m thinking of the disco one. But yeah, something that’s one of those really off-limits inaccessible tracks, I wanna sample them.
Cosmo: I really liked when A$AP Rocky sampled Moby for ‘A$AP Forever’, that was really creative. I like how sampling can reinvigorate a song.
Pat: I like how the moment you sample something it kind of grounds your song into the whole diet discourse, the whole history of music, you’re now on that timeline in a way - sort of a back and forth exchange with artists that may not even be alive anymore. Sampling is really cool.
Cosmo: Yeah you know when you listen to a track with a sample and you immediately feel nostalgic even though you may not know what the song is sampling, it just tickles that part of the brain. When we did the song ‘Can’t Do Without (My Baby)’, it felt like a song that’s lived in, it’s cozy already. Sampling is amazing, there’s more to be done.