Bobby Lava and Buck Townsend have recently launched a podcast, label and event series, all while meticulously maintaining their cool. We got to sit down with the founders of Cool Contest Records and dive deeper into how they find the right balance between good house music and bad jokes.
What was your inspiration for Cool Contest Records?
Cool Contest originally started as a podcast series featuring 30-minute guest mixes. It was made to showcase house music in a quicker format, with faster mixes, more tricks, with showboating and bravado. The term Cool Contest is a tongue-in-cheek reference to the entire DJ scene, specifically club culture and the politics within the overarching community. Since the podcast, The Contest has grown into a record label, event series and radio show. We fantasize and specialize in classic house, deep house, lo-fi and tech house.
How does someone win the Cool Contest? What happens to the losers?
Listen to the music, support the cause, go to the shows? There are no cheat codes. The losers get awards too, most of this is participation based, you almost don't even have to show up.
What’s the dynamic between Bobby Lava and Buck Townsend?
In the studio we keep the energy high and the ideas bouncing - we have a similar workflow so it's very easy to get in the groove when making records. We're comfortable challenging each other when DJ'ing and producing and I feel that has given us a place in the musical landscape to form our own.
Buck Townsend’s social media alias is DJ Fox News. Who at Cool Contest Records is the weather man? The sports guy?
It's like Bobby is the backup weatherman and Buck was a cameraman but got fired yesterday.
Would you say your imprint’s music reflects Los Angeles hustle, and what sets it apart from the other players in the game?
Cool Contest records was designed to be a white label record distributor, only our labels are orange. We put out tracks that might not be the A side on your favorite label, but we know they work on the dancefloor. They are DJ tools, secret weapons, odd remixes and edits. All of our music is available for free on our website, but we also distribute digitally to every major music platform and sell copies there. We plan to release limited edition vinyl compilations in the near future. I'll text you when they come out.
Describe your label’s sound using only 1980s cartoons.
Inspector Gadget's niece’s Modular rig. Idk Scooby Doo if only Scoob and Shaggy accidentally drove the van into a Barnes & Noble. It's kinda like Smurfs' Village. It’s a hodgepodge of artists with no shirts on.
You guys host Cool Content Radio on Data Transmission. Tell me more about it.
Everyone is playing dark techno n' shit. We want to play feel-good house and make some bad jokes. We always have tracks that our friends never play or tracks maybe not right for the club. It’s a platform for us and other artists to have fun, talk shit, laugh and play whatever songs we need. It's once a month, hosted by Buck & Bobby. And we have a guest DJ do a 30-minute guest mix each episode. Eventually we have major programming plans, but honestly we're still learning how to execute a creative radio show. Tune in to listen to us learn as we go, and take risks at every turn. It's been a fun experience to be committed to a radio gig every month. Data Transmission Radio is the best, we’re alongside some other amazing shows.
Your new podcast features house and lo-fi music. Do all of your guests have tight skateboarding skills?
I highly doubt it. I mean everyone has a Thrasher t-shirt now. Shout out to Skatebård though.
What does it mean to be Bobby Lava?
If you're a former child actor that has hacked the Chinese government and your studio is filled with as many lava lamps that will fit.
Fuck, Marry, Cuddle: Juan Atkins, Derrick May and Kevin Saunderson
Would that guarantee us a collab? Can we get that in writing?
Aside from the podcast, what do you guys having coming up?
We've got our first compilation in the works which will be our first vinyl pressing. We are launching a Sunday night party at Union LA called Sunday Bender featuring many members of the Cool Contest hierarchy.