Cosmic Kids

Who are you and what do you do? How long have you been working musicians?

We are Cosmic Kids. We've been best friends since high school, and we have been making music for the past 3 or 4 years; DJing for a bit more.

What is your educational background? Are there any schools, courses, or books you recommend?

Ron: We both have a varied background. I have a degree in Political Science and very little music training from school. Currently I am applying for a master's in Human Factors, it's like design and psychology. I did take a group piano class at a community college recently, I sort of got what I needed from there and got out. I think it is beneficial to have knowledge in something completely different than music. It can add to it in ways you would not even expect.

Dan: I went to film school and got a BA in film and television production. Still do some post-production work on the side. I recommend that everyone take Mr. Fouts' astronomy course at Santa Monica College.

What hardware are you using?

We have a modest amount of hardware, but I think it's fun being limited. We have a JUNO 6, Korg Monotribe, Korg microKONTROL, various effects devices, Macintosh laptops, and an iPad.

Ron: I like tinkering with hardware, and I like using my hands. I don't necessarily have a set idea on what I am trying to do; I just find a sound that I like, and sometimes I'll just give it to Dan and he will do wonders with it. The iPad is nice too because it allows me to manipulate things with my hands in an unorthodox fashion. For example, this app called Samplr allows you to manipulate pitch and linear movement in real time and record it. The aleatoric aspect of this can yield some interesting results.

What software are you using?

Dan: We use Logic Pro. I don't really know the inner workings of any other software because I've never taken the time to learn anything else. I feel like we are able to accomplish everything we want in there. It's definitely the most essential musical tool we own because I personally have never learned how to put music together without it, so I'd be lost for a bit if Logic disappeared from my life.

We are big fans of SoundToys. We use Echo Boy, Filter Freak, and Pan Man in pretty much every track. Soundtoys are great because they really help give character to otherwise stale/dry sounds. I've been using a Korg Mono/Poly emulator, NI's FM8, and u-he's Ace. I just find that those have a lot of the types of sounds that I personally like. It would be super cool to have a real Mono/Poly, but right now I'm cool with the emulator. It's pretty efficient and I can stay pretty organized with it. Ron's been messing around with a DX7 emulator and some sampler software on his iPad and we've been getting some cool sounds from that as well.

What would be your dream setup?

Dan: Honestly, at this point, my dream set up would be in an actual studio, and not my apartment room. I've had neighbors get irritated with the noise a few too many times. I also want to get to a point where I'm more technically skilled with hardware, and as a musician. I feel like I'm still just figuring everything out as I go. As I said, an actual Mono/Poly would be great. I've also had fun messing around with a Roland SH-101; one of those would be cool too. It would also be great to have a session drummer and a guy who knows how to record drums like it was 1977 on staff. It would also be cool if they could read my mind.

Ron: I remember when I was little my dad would play this cassette by new age artist Ray Lynch. The sounds were so weird to me, I just imagined all these smooth, white instruments making the sounds, like if Dieter Rams from Braun designed it. I guess that would visually be my dream setup, but I'm not sure how it would sound.

Can you describe your creative process? Is there a particular routine or schedule you stick to?

It's definitely essential that we have a piece of musical inspiration to start us off. It's very difficult for us to start with nothing. That's what is great about doing a remix because there is already an idea there. If we are working on an original, we usually start off with a sample from an old record. Sometimes we may end up ditching the sample that sparked the track in the first place, but it's important for us to have something to work off of. We usually always lay down drums and bass first. We are, after all, making dance music, so it's important for us to establish a danceable groove before moving on to the melody. After that it's pretty much just trial an error until we find the melodies and sounds we like.

Where do you shop for and discover music?

Amoeba Music is really close to us, so we are there a lot. There are some other great little shops in and around Los Angeles that we love digging at. We also have a vast network of friends that like to share new and old music through Facebook and AIM.

Any highlights from your latest musical discoveries?

There is this Jose Marquez remix of "La Mezcla" by Totó La Momposina on Basic Finger Records that is amazing to play out. People always respond so well to it. I'm surprised it's not a bigger hit.

What's brewing in your studio?

We have an EP coming out this month on Let's Play House. The A-side track was a collaboration with Fingerpaint (Tyler from Classixx). It was pretty fun to get his input and guidance throughout the process of making the song.

Any production tips & tricks you'd like to share?

I find it really valuable and fun for us to try and recreate parts of tracks we are stumped by. You end up accidentally finding unique sounds of your own in the process.

Where can we find you on the web?

SoundCloud / Facebook / Twitter /