The Director's Cut: Cosmo’s Midnight - Yesteryear - Magnetic Magazine

The Director's Cut: Cosmo’s Midnight - Yesteryear

Australian duo Cosmo's Midnight break down their fun and danceable new album 'Yesteryear.'
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Cosmo’s Midnight

Cosmo’s Midnight

Australian indie-electronic-pop duo Cosmo’s Midnight has released their sophomore album Yesteryear. Held together by a breeze blend of disco and funk, they collab with the likes of Ruel, LA-based collective Age.Sex.Location & Matthew Young on the record for some sonic diversity with some R&B vocals and pop sheen.

The album opens with a bang with “Unwind” and the title track, going for big disco hooks. It draws you into its cheerful embrace for whatever you might be celebrating right now or for a pick-me-up. However, it does settle down a bit for some smoother jams towards the end of the record, while never losing focus on their goal of creating a fun and danceable LP. As the first track would suggest, this is an album meant to unwind and that is what we would use right now.

To get some more information about how this record came together, we asked the twin musicians (Cosmo & Patrick) to do a Director’s Cut feature. They detail how the collaborations came together and the stories behind these tracks.

Stream the album now and grab your copy here.

1. Unwind

At first this track was just going to be a bopping instrumental, but once we decided it would be the album opener it morphed into a really exciting moment that sets the tone for the album. Pat felt there could be vocals on it, but nothing that would get in the way of the mood, just something complementary like the hook on “C.U.D.I.” “Unwind” is about that moment of realization when you catch feelings for someone. Thinking about them has your mind spinning, “unwound and untied.”

2. Yesteryear

“Yesteryear” was one of the quickest songs to write, it came about really naturally. It’s a song written partially about someone you are struggling to move on from but it’s also an introspective tune. Reflecting back on the years past, memories and experiences both good and bad, and how they shape us into the person we are. We tried to blend these feelings into the production by drawing inspiration from older pop records as well some more progressive records.

3. It’s Love with Matthew Young

We wrote “It's Love” with Matthew Young in New Zealand and it’s one of the few collaborations on the album. Cosmo came up with this super addictive, pulsing bass line over these kind of psych-y wavy chords. We love how Matthew responded to the track; his voice was the perfect match. He's a very serious songwriter especially when it comes to lyrics, so we let him take his time stringing together his story. “It's Love” is about how a relationship can bring out the best in each other, but also as you get more comfortable being around each other - sometimes you bring out the worst.

4. Have it all with Age.Sex.Location

“Have it All” is a really confident, flirty track, “I know you think it's good, I'm going to make it better for you.” This one was so fun to write, we came up with the core idea in one day with John Ryan and Shungudzo Kuyimba, who are both super talented and so fun to work with. They were really pushing us and telling us to trust in our ideas and explore every avenue. We also recruited some of the performers in Winston Surfshirt to lay down some super fun brass stacks for the breakdown and final chorus. One of my favorites from the record.

5. Ice with Stevan

So “Ice” came about by taking another song from the album and tonally pitching it around to see if it would inspire any new ideas. It ended up becoming such a wild fusion, Reggae, R&B and Psych. Stevan sings about meeting someone new, putting up a front and feeling nervous about showing your real self, but then ultimately having confidence in your personality and not caring if you look stupid. We wanted to take the opportunity of the album format to throw a total curveball with the outro. It was originally meant to be a bridge, tying back into a final chorus “all I want to do is kick it with you,” but instead we wanted to spin it into a momentous outro. The solo keys ramp up with the tempo, with Pat's vocals floating on top, suddenly it all crashes down into one of our favorite moments in the album. Stevan had no idea what we'd done so hearing his reaction to the outro was so affirming.

6. A Million Times

The labor of love, this track took a very long time to fall into place. It went through so many iterations until we arrived on the version that exists now. Originally the song was this little 30 second demo that we just couldn't flesh out into a proper song. One day we had a session with Jarrah (Panama) and we obsessively workshopped this song into what it is today. This one was inspired by the likes of Elton John and Todd Rundgren and tells a story of the moment leading up to someone confessing their feelings for you, and the relief you felt when it was requited. Where everything is optimistic, wide-eyed, big, new and exciting - you could never possibly get over it.

7. Down For You with Ruel

We met Ruel a few years ago at GTM. He joined us on stage for an impromptu on-stage collaboration. We immediately knew we had to write a song together. The stars didn’t align until a year later, but we made up for lost time and wrote “Down For You.” In the studio we were basically talking about how you end up doing things you don’t want to just because you like someone (very ala Bobby Caldwell’s “What You Won’t Do”) - and it all just flowed from there. We had the song basically done that day, but had to back n forth a bit to finesse the details. Ruel’s a great guy and has taste in music that would make 17 year old Cosmo’s Midnight a bit envious. It was a wholesome experience getting to know him and writing “Down For You” together.

8. The Get Down

This song serves as a refreshing little oasis in the record. It's a tasty foot-tapping, little not-quite-interlude that we wanted to make just tie together the two halves of the record.

9. Time Wasted

The shuffle-y beat that forms the backbone of this track was actually recorded in London, and was pretty much an instrumental for over a year. One day I was driving along listening through demos and the whole song's melody and lyrics just popped into my head suddenly. I had to pull over and record a voice memo then and there, singing “my shadows getting too long.” The song revolves around the idea of investing your time and energy in someone that may not deserve it. The feeling of wasted time can sometimes creep up on us (especially in isolation), and on a larger scale this song is meditating on that idea. As per usual we like to pair depressing lyrics with super upbeat production.

10. Idaho

"Idaho" was also one of the fastest songs we wrote. Our friend Joey (Young Franco) was around and we were playing demos to each other. He had this drum loop he'd made, and as soon as I'd heard it I knew exactly what type of song I wanted to write. It's a funky and laid back song about that grass is greener syndrome everyone feels. The inability to be content about your current life. Sometimes you need to go explore an alternate perspective so you realize how good you've really got it. We recruited Stevan from “Ice” to help out with backing vocals, which really just glued the whole song together.

11. C.U.D.I

So we spent New Years Eve at Last Dance (a warehouse party in Wollongong), and had the next morning after recovering at the beach. Exhausted and burnt we drove back to our studio space in Sydney that afternoon to sit on the balcony, drink San Pell and recover but we ended up writing “C.U.D.I (Can U Dig It).” I had this idea running through my head on the trip back home and got it out then 'n' there. Everything came together really quick and naturally, just me on the keys and Cosmo jamming on the bass. We got the idea out and left it fresh. Cosmo we wanted to capture the midsummer feelings we were having over the new year.

12. We Could Last Forever

"We Could Last Forever" was so fun to write. Our friend Michael came up with this line which, I ended up vocoding “Let's Groove, Let's Dance, Let's take this chance together We could last forever,” from there the song just opened up. Asta, who is a super talented songwriter and has performed in our band, also workshopped the topline with us. Cosmo then went wild with the bassline, there are some really fun licks in here and we really wanted to have at least one fade out on the record so here it is.

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