Meet Real Cosby, a local producer making dynamic, retro-futuristic, experimental house
Real Cosby's new four-track EP, MmmmLuvv, is a dynamic, mind-blowing masterpiece of retro-futuristic experimental house in the vein of acts like Daphni (aka Caribou) and Four Tet. The elastic bass lines, disembodied vocal samples and organic sense of sentiment make it eminently listenable. This local producer (aka Paul Banker) immediately grabbed our attention, and so in advance of his set this Saturday night at the Meadowlark as part of a DJ Babyshoe-hosted evening of electronic music called Fresh Produce, we reached out to him via e-mail with some questions about his new EP, which he answered along with some insight into his creative process.
Westword: Your first EP was more hip hop-oriented, while the new one has a more pronounced house vibe. What brought about that change?
Real Cosby: I love of lot of different sounds and styles. I will definitely make more hip-hop style beat music in the future. I think the change initially came from playing out and seeing how live audiences reacted. I always got a good response, but I felt like I wanted to make something people could dance, or at least move to. I don't know if I've succeeded. My music has always had a kind of chill-out quality that I can't really avoid -- but I was intentionally speeding up the tempos quite a bit and working more with driving, four-to-the-floor beats. The other difference on this EP was that, with the exception of the first song, I didn't sample any of the music (just little vocal bits). I felt like sampling was getting to be a crutch, and I really just wanted to challenge myself to play all of the music and come up with all the synth patches.
Is there any significance to the EP title?
"MmmmLuvvv" is the fourth track on the EP and was the first one that I finished. The title comes from the chopped up the vocal in the middle of the track; it kind of sounds like it's saying "mmmm, love." It's just nonsense, really, but, to me, it kind of describes the feeling that you shoot for in making electronic music. It's just about the feels and making all the different elements come together in a satisfying way. I love the feeling when that happens.
What's your starting point for creating a song?
I'm always trying to figure out new ways of doing things. But it usually starts with a single phrase -- percussion or a sample -- and I'll usually try a bunch of different things (warps, effects, etc) until I get that one phrase sounding interesting. Another key has just been finding really choice samples to start with. On the first EP, I found this really unknown LP (with only like a thousand views on YouTube) called "The Rainbow Sound of Bianco, His Harp and Orchestra." It just has the most dreamy, ethereal sounding harp. It really sampled well, and I ended up using it on a couple tracks. Finding those gems is definitely an important starting point.
Who are you listening to right now?
Right now, there's so much great beat music coming out of Denver that I've been listening to more local music than I ever have. Producers like Rumtum, CC/NN, and Groove Cereal (Fort Collins) are all making really amazing stuff. As far as more big time acts go, I've been digging the tracks I've heard from the new FaltyDL album and the new Burial EP; also, the new Action Bronson mixtape, Rare Chandeliers, is super dope (and free).
Is there a fake Cosby out there we need to be aware of?
If there is, good luck to him.