During a pandemic, filming a music video seems next to impossible, considering the crew needed. Yet, “Yesteryear,” released by Australian duo Cosmo’s Midnight in preparation for their second album, proves that it can be done.
Composed of twin brothers Cosmo and Patrick Liney, Cosmo’s Midnight formed back in 2012 and, after strong early efforts like single “Phantasm” and EP Surge, released their debut album, titled What Comes Next, six years later. The release, characterized by a medley of R&B, funk, disco, hip-hop, electronic, soul, and pop elements hit the ARIA Album Chart’s Top 40 and helped transform the duo into one of Australia’s top ticket-selling local artists. Beyond their home country, the duo is signed to RCA Records in the U.S. and headlined a North American tour in 2017.
Although some might dismiss Cosmo’s Midnight as a quirky electro-pop band, the duo has proved their chops as producers, remixing Panama, Indian Summer, Anna Lunoe, and AlunaGeorge and earning spots on Ministry of Sound compilations FUT.UR.ISM 3.0 and Chillout Sessions XVIII.
Two singles kicked off 2020: “C.U.D.I (Can U Dig It)” and “Down For You,” featuring Australian pop singer Ruel. Then, “Yesteryear,” a fun ‘70s-esque pop track with more than a hint of psychedelic vibes dropped, amassing over 1.3 million streams on Spotify, and was followed by the lo-fi yet blissful “Idaho” in September.
With these singles in tow, Cosmo’s Midnight put out an announcement about their sophomore album, along with a remix of “Yesteryear” from Brame & Hamo: Also titled Yesteryear, the album will officially drop on October 2nd.
Leading up this release, we had a chance speak with the duo about single “Yesteryear” and their upcoming album.
Your new single “Yesteryear” has one of the more distinctive videos we’ve seen. How did it come together?
So, our friend Jordan Kirk put together an idea to make a video about the process and shortcomings of making a film clip during isolation. It was pretty hard to pull off, as we recorded hours and hours of content that he had to patiently sift through and edit to develop a narrative.
It ended up being really meta, as the whole video ends up being a brainstorming session for what we should do if we decided to do a clip rather than actually being a regular accompanying visual that we would normally do.
For the track itself, what was your approach for putting together the music?
This track came together quite quickly, often our demos go two ways; they can take forever to become a fleshed idea, or in this case, the main hooks and production all get churned out in a few days.
The way we approach most of our music is we try not to plan too much and try to just instinctively react to what we’ve written so far and let it inform our next step.
For your previous single, “Down for You,” you two collaborated with singer Ruel. How did you end up working together?
We actually met Ruel in 2018 when we did our first new live set up, playing a festival called GTM. A year later, we reached out, saying we’d like to write together, and we met up several times throughout the year to come up with and finish off the song. It was real fun writing with him; he’s super excited by music and a hilarious dude.
These tracks are leading up to your sophomore album, scheduled for October. What should we expect from the release?
With this album, we really wanted to be self-sufficient. So, more than ever Pat is in the spotlight, doing many of the vocals for the whole project.
We also took on a slightly more organic approach in the production, using more guitar and bass than ever before and blending it with our electronic production to make a nice contrast of recorded and synthesized music.
We’ve really tried to take our favorite elements of our last album and build on it to make a fresh but grounded sound.
How are you getting ready for your new album?
We’ve been busy getting together all the art with our friend Charlotte, designing our merch, and planning the release. It’s all super scary but it’s also really exciting. We can’t wait for everyone to hear it.
As a group, you pull from several influences – electronic, R&B, and some indie rock. How would you describe Cosmo’s Midnight’s sound?
It’s always hard to describe your own sound, but we try to pull in elements of funk, disco, R&B, psychedelic-pop and house. Hopefully you can hear it all in the album!
You’ve also done a few remixes. What’s your approach for remixing other artists?
Whenever we remix a song, we try to think how we’d make the song if it were ours to begin with. Sometimes, it’s really frustrating with a song that feels just so perfect because you don’t want to detract from the original or make something that doesn’t offer anything interesting or new.
That’s the biggest factor we take into place when accepting remixes – can we do it justice? I often think of Breakbot’s remix of Metronomy – definitely a benchmark of amazing remixes for me.
Prior to quarantine, you had a chance to tour the U.S. What was your experience like on the road outside of Australia?
Touring America is always fun but daunting – it’s so big and there are shows to be had from coast to coast and everything in between.
So, we always need to plan out what cities we’re going to hit and which we’ll save for later. It’s also really fun meeting up with musicians we’ve been talking to online for ages when we have a few days off in between shows.
Aside from the “Yesteryear” music video, what have you been up to while in quarantine? Have you been working on any new music?
We’ve been writing a lot of music that will never see the light of day. Just the other week, we were up the coast and wrote a bunch of surf rock and garage punk tracks just because we were in the mood.
We often write stuff in random genres just to have a go at something new, so we don’t burn out trying to write music purely for Cosmo’s Midnight. I’ve also been trying to get better at cooking and art, but I’ve gotten lazy recently.
Traveling around and experiencing new parts of New South Wales has been a big thing, and I’m glad to have had the time off to visit new places around me.