IN CONVERSATION WITH COUSN

By Josh FB

The duo COUSN from Bristol comprises of cousins Alfie and Billy Goffey. They are among Bristols finest and most unique artists. Their electric production ranges from House and Acid to Disco and Punk. Through their production they have managed to elevate their reputation. They have played in prestigious events such as Glastonbury, WHP and DC10. The duo provided an insight into their life.

How did you guys get into music?

We’d been in bands and around music our whole lives, but started making electronic tunes together when we were 16 after an eye opening weekend at Glastonbury. The first time we touched a set of decks to a crowd would have been the Pioneer DDJ-Ergo at our mate Fat John’s 16th birthday party. We called ourselves A2B and opened with a birthday tune we made for the man himself, followed by the almost self titled tune ‘The A the B’ – a staple in A2B sets for the next few months until we changed our name to ‘Caped Crusaders’ and always wore sparkly capes. The first proper DJ set we got booked for was 2 years later at the Rabbit Hole at Glastonbury so it was mad it went full circle.

To those who might not know, how would you describe your sound and style of production and DJing?

Our DJ style is consistently erratic, we don’t have the biggest attention spans so we like to jump around between genres, styles and tempo depending on how up for it the crowd is. This definitely reflects in our production as well as it also jumps around a lot of different styles, it’s always been hard to pin point the Cousn sound but we feel it is live, punky, analogue heavy dance music.

Who have been your major inspirations over the years?

We like all things renegade, the people who’ve inspired us the most have always done things their own way, you can tell there’s no label calling the shots on their look or videos, it comes straight from them as artists such as The Chemical Brothers, Daft Punk, Leftfield, Burial and more recently acts like Snapped Ankles, Lynks Afrikka, Giant Swan have been inspiring us.

Did the music production come earlier/later, or did you find the two went hand in hand from the get-go?

Music production came first, we started making sort of slow trip hop tunes in the beginning then as we got older and started going out and experiencing more DJ sets our sound became more club focused. Then when our mates parties started getting more freaky we started DJing at them all and playing out the tunes that we’d recently made, so DJing and producing did eventually go hand in hand.

Although undoubtedly there will be huge changes and challenges to overcome, it feels as if the world is returning to somewhat of a semblance of normality. Looking back how have the last few months treated you guys? With stellar multiple back to back releases it seems you have been busy boys!

It’s been a strange few months, but we’ve been making good of a bad situation. Just getting our heads down and taking the time to make tunes, experiment more and really work out where we want to head as an act. We’ve spent the last few months bouncing around different flats and houses like stray dogs, every place we’ve lived in recently has given us different inspiration just by the space of the room and the surroundings, whether we’re working in a open space with windows or a dark dingy dungeon-like bedroom. At the moment we’re living in a place that has no internet or hot water so we’ve been filling up the kettle, and pots and pans on the hob getting just enough hot water to wash ourselves with a flannel.

Your production style has been hailed as being analogue heavy. Which pieces of hardware have become staples of the cousn sound?

We’re really glad our sound has been coined as analog heavy, we’ve always wanted our music to sound real and raw even when we had barely any equipment. Now our setup consists of, the Micro Korg and Bass Station II which have featured in pretty much every Cousn tune. Recently we got a Behringer Poly-D to make some lovely jubbly chords and a Behringer TD-3 which is a 303 emulator for some juicy acid wobbles. For the drums we’ve got a Roland Tr-8s which we put our own samples in and manipulate the sounds and always use our drummer Tom to add live drum layers on top so it’s always got a live edge to it. We’ve also got a Minilogue and an old Korg keyboard which has a real secondary school music class sound to it. “D-D-D-DJ!”.

Since Mixmag’s premiere of ‘Brain Ticker’, and its success in the summer of 2019; you’ve gathered serious momentum with your subsequent releases, which are consistently dripping with juicy acid melodies. The much anticipated ‘are you with us’ is no different. Do you feel this will become a staple of future cousn productions?

Yeah we’ve always been bang into acid, we grew up in bands so have always wanted Cousn to sound punky and erratic but there’s something inherently anti-music theory about dirty acid lines that syncs well with our punky side. Acid is wrong but so right, it’s never strayed far from where it was originally intended and there’s something so nostalgic about an acid line. Our dads grew up in the Second Summer of Love and through the acid era and used to play us tunes like ‘Higher State Of Consciousness’ and ‘Rockin Down The House’ when we were younger, so been we’ve been drawn to it ever since, and it’ll always have a place in the Cousn sound.

As you commented on during the release of ‘ritual’, even the simplest of our daily routines have required adaptation. With a new show on the prestigious Rinse FM, how have you found the “alternative means of DJing”? How does it compare to the real thing?

We absolutely love doing the Rinse radio shows, it’s the only way we’ve been able to flex our DJing triceps since COVID stopped all the fun, genuinely think we’d have gone mad without them. However since all gigs have stopped we’ve really missed having the energy and interactions with sweaty ravers, there’s no feeling like it. We’ve actually stuck a picture of a crowd on the wall in front of our decks to make us feel more at home.

How has the scene in Bristol faired during lockdown?

Same as everywhere else really, fucked. But Bristol’s always been at the forefront of new exciting music and parties so I’m sure if anywhere manages to weather the storm and come back strong it’s gunna be here in the south west.

Both locally in Bristol and in a more global sense, can you envisage any major changes to the established status quo happening once clubs reopen?

Yeah, to be honest we were feeling like the established status quo was getting really stale, music made from Loopmaster packs and the same rehashed ideas over and over again. One of the positives we feel will come from this pandemic is a huge amount of creativity, and hopefully with that a massive new wave of young producers ready to disrupt this status quo, we can’t wait. We also feel like clubbing and dance music will veer more to the fun side, everyone and their nan is gunna need a huge COVID-safe boogie when this is over.

Cousn ‘Are You With Us’ is out on 28th August

Pre order here

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