“People now can make the versions of songs that they want to hear,” Mr. Laposky said. “Along with this shift in production technique and sensibility, the audience for these kinds of songs is growing. Hip-hop is so established now, that when you hear a harp coupled with some synths and an 808 drum pattern, it sounds natural.”
But especially in New York, where it’s extremely hard for an unknown DJ to make a name while competing among the Steve Aoki and Mark Ronsons of the club scene, it’s important for DJs to distinguish themselves from the masses.
Mr. Gerard moved to New York from Columbia, Missouri in 1997. He started listening to hip-hop when Dr. Dre’s The Chronic came out, and made beats for his brother’s joke rap group. But it wasn’t until he came to the city, attending New York University on scholarship, that he got serious about producing and DJing. Between Comparative Literature studies, he honed his turntable skills at parties and stayed up nights making beats for rappers who would never actually use them.
It wasn’t until he made a “mash-up” of “Yeah” by Usher and “Take Me Out” by Franz Ferdinand, that he started getting attention from popular music blogs like Discobelle and Nick Catchdubs (former Fader editor/current owner of Fools Gold Records). Cousin Cole is now becoming a recognizable DJ name. His remix of Soulja Boy’s “Crank Dat” became a surprise hit and was played on Hot 97 and Power 106. (“I’m really disappointed that I didn’t get to hear that on the radio,” Mr. Gerard said. “It would’ve blown my mind. Made my day. My month. It still did.”) He now has the attention of major hip-hop stars, whose engineers are recommending him to join in remix projects.
Mr. Laposky started DJing with Mr. Gerard at now-defunct bars in 2004. Mr. Laposky had a different DJ partner at the time; they called themselves the Rickshaw Brothers. On one of the fliers, Mr. Laposky introduced Mr. Gerard as “Cousin Cole” “’Cause I wasn’t exactly a brother,” Mr. Gerard said. That’s where Cousin Cole got his DJ name.
“He’s got that Midwestern earnestness that I relate to,” Mr. Laposky said. “I’m partners with him because he’s dedicated to his craft and is a perfectionist.”
“For a Neil Young song I mixed it like 10 different times,” Mr. Gerard said, “I had it mastered, I didn’t like it, and then I mixed it again. I don’t even know if I like it now, but at least it’s done.”
“Cole is someone who keeps me on my toes about DJing and producing,” Mr. Laposky added.
Mr. Laposky grew up in Cherokee, a small town in Iowa. He played basketball with an old school disco/early house DJ Willie Beamon, who turned him onto the tables. “We used to throw parties for the farm kids with a couple of cd players, a tape deck, and the local prom DJ’s sound system,” he explaine
d. He moved to Kansas City for art school in the mid-90s. There, he befriended well-known Detroit house producer Theo Parrish and bought a pair of used turntables. “I put DJing on hold for a few years when I moved to NYC in early 2001, so I could teach myself some music theory and learn the basics on a few instruments,” Mr. Laposky said. He is currently the leader of an electro-acoustic orchestra called the Oratai Ensemble and has composed soundtracks for PBS documentaries and Court TV.
“I’ve got a piece I’m composing for a young Dutch fashion darling,” Mr. Laposky said about his other projects. “I’m half-way done with recording the second album with my chamber ensemble.” Flagrant Fowl is also working on a follow-up to Tambourine Dream (TD-2, as they’d like to call it) and other remixes. “We’ve got some original bangers that will make flapper girls go crazy!” Mr. Laposky said.
The boys plan on making some hip Brooklynites go crazy this weekend by throwing a record release party at Studio B tonight. Their friends, DJs Pandemonium Jones and Rezound, will be spinning along with Pocketknife and Cousin Cole.
“It’s great to be celebrating with friends who are talented DJs and have a repertoire that encompasses the atmosphere we’re going for,” Mr. Laposky said. “I think people are going to respond to Tambourine Dream in a really positive way.”
Here is a link to Turntable Lab’s page for Tambourine Dream, where you can listen to some of the tracks and buy the EP.
Here is a link to a promotional video Mr. Laposky made for Tambourine Dream, which reworks a scene from Sofia Coppola’s Virgin Suicides.
Here is a link to Studio B. There, you can buy tickets to tonight’s shindig, where the EP and mix will be on sale.