INTERVIEW: COUSN | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Taking place at a purpose-built venue within Gateshead Stadium on Friday 4th and Saturday 5th October, MAINYARD sees veteran promoters Shindig bring a huge line-up to the region. On Friday, Fatboy Slim appears alongside Gorgon City and COUSN. Having been hand-picked by Fatboy Slim himself to join his nationwide tour, COUSN will be bringing their unique take on electro to Shindig for the very first time. Starting out producing music in their native Bristol when they were just 16, the duo’s sets are packed with their own unreleased tracks which draw from disco, house, acid and punk. Previously playing to a more intimate crowd in Newcastle’s Cosmic Ballroom, we asked them what we could expect as they take on the biggest and best production the city has to offer.

For people who aren’t perhaps familiar with your performances and releases, how would you describe your style?
We describe our style as a boiling pot of past sub cultures, we’re heavily influenced by a lot of 90s dance music and have a real DIY messy approach to making music and playing out. I guess if we had to pin it down it would be a blend of punk, house and disco, but we take inspiration from a much broader selection of genres and really enjoy playing stuff which wouldn’t fall into those three categories. We’re always trying to stay away from playing or making ‘safe music’ and love anything with a bit of character and personality.

What was your musical upbringing? You’ve previously said that Fatboy Slim was one of the reasons you got into producing music, what was his influence and how has he shaped you as musicians?
He’s a huge influence to us and has definitely helped us develop our music into a more live sounding production. His music can be really tongue in cheek sometimes which is definitely something we’ve taken on. Also, the energy and fun he captures in his DJ sets is something that we try to replicate for our own shows, he just always looks he’s having the best time playing to a crowd.

How has that style changed since you first started producing and DJing? Or have you always tried to stay consistent?
We think for an artist’s music to stay consistent it basically means they’ve run out of ideas. We’re constantly looking for new and interesting ways to make our music and never try to make the same song twice.
We started when we were just 16 so naturally our style has changed quite a bit in certain ways, especially in the DJ sense. However, musically we’ve always been into making different types of tunes ranging from Trip Hop through to House, Techno, Breakbeat and through to Jungle and Hardcore tracks. The goal is now to be able to go through all these genres in our live show whilst keeping our own sound and identity.

Your recent touring schedule has taken in Glastonbury, Motion and Printworks. What have been the highlights on your journey so far?
Glastonbury was a massive highlight for us. We actually had our first proper gig at The Rabbit Hole at Glastonbury when we were 18, so it was really good to come back and play five sets over the weekend now that we’ve got some music out there.

The Fatboy Slim Tour was a huge highlight, the experience of playing at these arenas on a revolving stage was extremely surreal. However, the best part of the tour was following Norman’s massive tour bus in our mate Pat’s little golf and meeting such funny characters along the way.

It’s been an excellent year for new music. Which tunes are currently taking pride of place in your record bag?
Fantastic Man has been putting out some wicked tunes, we’re also really into JoeFarr at the moment. We’re getting into doing much heavier sets, blending beefy techno with punky breakbeat has been really fun. His tunes work well for that. Also, the new Mind Enterprises song ‘Monogamy’ has gone straight into our record box, super fun tune. And of course, Elliot Adamson has been putting out some bangers. Loving his albums this year.

Although Shindig is one of the North East’s most revered clubbing institutions, Mainyard is a new concept entirely. What are your memories of clubbing or performing in Newcastle? And what do you expect from Mainyard?
We played at the Cosmic Ballroom a few years ago which was wicked. It was our first time playing at a club outside of Bristol, so we were pretty nervous before hand, but everyone was so welcoming, and the crowds were well up for it. Moscrop took us under his wing afterwards, it will be good to be back for sure. We’re really excited to play at the Mainyard and expect it to go kick off as it’s such a great line up.

Having started the project when you were only 16. What advice would you give to your younger selves?
Don’t try so hard to make music that sounds ‘cool’ and just have a bit of fun experimenting. That’s actually a bit of advice that Norman (Fatboy Slim) gave us when we were around that age when we sent him one of our tunes after getting his email, it was crazy to even get a response so that advice has stuck ever since. 

Buy tickets for Fatboy Slim, Gorgon City and Cousn, taking place on Friday 4th October by clicking this link.

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