Producers, no matter which genre they represent, wish they could have a career like Crazy Couzins. What started as a producer collective in 2007 is now a one-person operation directed by Flukes, the classically trained DJ who made a name for himself with tracks like Tinie Tempah’s “Hood Economics” and Sadie Ama’s “Fallin”.
As a four-piece consisting of Flukes, Paleface, Kodi, and Play, Crazy Cousinz took the U.K.’s underground dance music scene by storm over a decade ago, pioneering the style known as Funky House, and scored a hit with “Do You Mind,” featuring singer Kyla, in 2008.
What a difference eight years can bring. In dance music, that’s an entirely different era. Yet, “Do You Mind” got a different type of revival treatment in 2016: Drake sampled the production and snippets of Kyla’s vocals for his global, chart-topping hit “One Dance.”
With that move, Crazy Cousinz saw a different degree of exposure than Flukes experienced at the tail end of the aughts – and it ushered in a new chapter for his career.
Following up “One Dance,” Flukes released a string of tracks, each with its own sound: “Throwback” with Unknown T made a splash in 2018, followed by “No Way” with Lily McKenzie, Yxng Bane, and Mr Eazi a year later. Into 2020, Flukes released “Outline,” a collaboration with Norwegian superstar Julie Bergan.
Illustrating the ease at which mainstream and underground dance music can blend together, Crazy Cousinz has been a festival fixture, performing at Glastonbury, Elrow Festival, Boiler Room Berlin, South Korea’s Cakeshop, Ibiza’s Ibiza Rocks, and Amsterdam’s Appelsap Festival.
Four years off his revival and with no signs of stopping, we had a chance to speak with Crazy Cousinz about his varied career:
You’ve had a pretty lengthy career thus far. How has your sound and approach to production changed over that time?
It’s been incredible to see music and production shift and evolve over the 15 years I’ve been producing. I’ve always challenged myself to learn new things, whether its music software, audio gear, plugins, and instruments to stay inspired and adapt to a constantly evolving music scene.
As a producer and DJ, who influences you?
Producer wise, there are of legends on a broad musically spectrum who I’d consider major influences such as Timberland, Quincy Jones, Hans Zimmer. They all seem to push the boundaries in their music which I always inspire to do. DJ wise I’d say artist such as Black Coffee, Carl Cox, Marco Carola to name a few. I’ve managed to see them all perform in Ibiza and It’s impossible to not come back inspired.
You were classically trained on saxophone and piano from a young age. How does this shape your approach to producing and putting together songs?
My uncle was my music teacher in primary school which was pretty handy, and my parents encouraged me to be involved in music at a young age so I’ve always been into music. On my 13th birthday, I was given a pair of Neumark Turntables and some vinyls. I practiced every day and had a lot of passion for it but never thought I’d end up making music for a living.
Your track “Outline” came out last month. What was your approach for putting together this track?
Creating Outline was one of those rare occasions where everything seemed to fall into place. I created the instrumental and had an idea on the type of lyrics and melody I could hear on it, I sent it to Karen Harding who had some brilliant top line ideas, then played it to Julie Bergan and she loved it and the rest is history.
When it came to selecting singers, how did you end up working with Julie Bergan?
It was great to work with Julie Bergan. We’re label friends at Warner music so we managed to get Outline finished pretty quickly. My A&R Lloyd Murray reached out to her team, she loved it and wanted to be a part of it.
She has a really dedicated fan base in Norway and around the world so it took the track to new depths and channels I knew little about. I’ve found sometimes it’s easy to focus on what you’re comfortable producing however exploring new genres and territories can be just the inspiration your looking for.
How did it feel to have Drake reach out and sample your remix of “Do You Mind”?
It still feels surreal to me, I remember receiving the call and not believing it until I heard it. It was strange because I didn’t get to hear ‘One Dance’ until it was released so the anticipation was insane. I was at a friend’s place at the time of release and I think we played it back to back for an hour just to let it sink in.
How did this help or change your career?
I think it definitely put UK Funky back on the radar, especially to the younger generation now old enough to attend events and parties.
I found I was playing at more festivals and overseas shows. I was also lucky enough to my do first Boiler Room around the same time which helped show the direction I was taking my music and career.
You’re also a prolific remixer. What’s your approach for remixing someone else’s track?
I actually have a pretty straight-forward approach, I do most of my productions in Ableton Live and Studio One. I have a Universal Audio Apollo x16 audio interface, Novation Keyboard, Splice, Soft synths such as Serum and Omnisphere and some plugins for mixing.
I usually start with the acapella then add drums and instruments around the vocals. Sometimes less is more and having a few sounds which work well together is key.
Who would you like to remix in the future?
I would love to do more remixes and collaborations with other house artists. MK, Camelphat, Sonny Fodera, AlunaGeorge, Anabel Englund, Jem Cooke. So many!
What should we expect from you next?
I’m spending a lot of time in the studio creating more music both on remixes and original material. I looking forward to getting back to DJing gigs at festivals and venues around the UK and overseas.