It was a late Saturday night on February the 25th, when Cosmo’s Midnight, the twin DJ beat makers from Sydney Australia, would perform their latest emerging internet hit single “History” at Newspeak. The fans and pedestrians alike of the Montreal quarters had just ran frantically the day before. The rain had surprised the urbanites who were finishing their late week errands and rituals. Franglais hipsters in wool jackets and rotund residents running to the underground to escape the cold soak pouring fast. Car beeps at full volume and window wipers at full speed. The rain had dissolved much of the dirty stiff slush barricading the boulevards and disorganized parking spaces on an atypical late February weekend. The city smell came back. The chill making its way. The vibe uncertain. The greyness dimming later. Rush hour was early, and happy hour would have to wait.
The electricity on my block had shut down several times just two hours before I had to catch the metro at nine o’clock in order to make it to the show early, leaving me with complete darkness and a low energy phone. At eight o’clock, only after fifteen minutes of power restoration, I realized that light and time were of a higher priority than reviewing my notes. In a controlled panic, I quick-stepped to the nearest drugstore to purchase a pack of tall candles, a giant cheap pack of small candles, and LED multi-purpose flashlight, a travel alarm clock with a light and date tracker, and three packs of AAA batteries before returning to my pitch dark apartment, and using a small keychain flashlight to navigate my territory. I turned off my phone to save what energy was left the second I installed the batteries to the conveniently smartphone-sized clock. I made candle holders using the two shot glasses I had in the cupboard, wetting paper towel sheets to use as a cement foundation inside two wider recycled jars to catch the dripping wax while also using my homemade lanterns to light the smaller candles, all the meanwhile keeping an eye on the travel clock. I was not going to let the elements keep me from making the show at ten. My energy was high, and I had accepted the challenge. The leftover food in my still cool fridge would be eaten cold and unspoiled. I would not go on an empty stomach and with non sense of time. I would not skip the night, and in defiance, I would not let the night skip me.
At quarter to nine, the power had returned. There was enough time to charge my phone halfway and get myself organized by quarter after to just catch the metro in time to be at Newspeak by ten. Not as early as I had planned to make it, but on time nonetheless.
The entrance to the venue was a typical thick black club door on the side of brick building on St. Catherine’s Street, with no sign and two built security guards standing in front – one with a welcoming hospitality, and the other wearing a balaclava ski mask carefully observing. This must have been it. I proceeded up the two story staircase only to find several barmaids, employees, stage technicians, and one lone DJ on the stage mixing beats to an empty dance floor. This could not be it. The employee shirts reading ‘Newspeak’, and the same logo flashing on the back brick wall, however, confirmed otherwise.
I sat down on one of only two stools alongside the back bar of Newspeak before ordering a ginger ale from one of the petite barmaids who all appeared to be in their early twenties. When I asked one barmaid if the DJ performing was Cosmo’s Midnight, she informed me that it was Cerise, one of the opening act DJs, and that Cosmo’s Midnight would begin later. I decided to order another ginger ale before asking the same barmaid if she listened to any electronic house, or trap, or dubstep herself. She spoke like a true electronica fan, referencing Flume and Aluna George, and the FU.TUR.ISM albums. She kept repeating the phrases “positive vibes”, “good vibes”, and concluded by bashing techno.
Not five minutes later, one barmaid bravely approached the centre of the dance floor, alone, and swaying her tiny hips back and forth to the beat. Not five minutes later after that, another young female of the same height and build joined by her side to Cerise’s continuing low-volume stream of remixed beats over the duple time moderate tempo. Not even one minute later were the two dancing met by a taller, lean man appearing to be in his late twenties, who joined in, forming a circle, waving his hands to the legato alla breve. Cerise had come alive, crescendoing the bass, showing off his technical prowess, stirring in remixed polyphonic pop choruses, synthesized monster truck sound effects, all the meanwhile keeping the tempo steady. Then trumpet notes crescendoing over synthesized high pitch frequencies. The layers of beats stacking together with each bass beat, all still in the same key. One. Two. One! Two! Higher! Higher! One beat silence. Then the drop.
The music was now a steady flow of female voices in a tonal harmony over an echoing bass every two measures in a four time feel. The voices becoming fainter, preceded by high fast triplet synthesized frequencies, giving the bass a break. A light saber sound coming and going. Then fast snare drum beats. Back to two time feel. The beats coming and going. The DJ scratching a vinyl now and then as grace note duplets. He turns the volume up. The lighting technicians then switch gears and change the tone from blue to pink and blue behind the veil of mist and speakers. At that second, Cerise added a monophonic pop chorus singing her billboard hot 100 hit over his manipulating electric beat symphony, dancing all around her. The sounds teasing her. Getting louder. It quiets again suddenly. She sings her chorus again. The bass creeps up becoming the beat, joined by pinching low frequency polyrhythms. The bass moving up. The low pinches step back and let the harmonic waves flow for four beats. The drums sound, and then kickoff in four time. Her voice then returns just as another beat. Then a popular hip-hop chorus takes the melody. The beat continuing. The bass controlling. The vibe growing.
It was eleven by the time the venue started to fill up. Security guards checking around for mischief. Young adults dressed in Saturday night dance attire under their warm wind-breakers, getting their first round of drinks. Decompressing. The beat slowly rising in tempo. Who among them would start the dance off, I wondered. As the tone of repetitive triplets swayed up and down in a two time feel, so did the intonation of the conversations.
They were feeling the vibe.
By eleven thirty, Cerise was replaced by Tibe, the second act. The beat remaining. The volume increasing. The crowd was increasing now to a hundred people and steadily growing, getting their second and third round of drinks. I had decided to switch to seven-up.
The light then became bright red beams behind the silhouette of the DJ. The vibe was starting to take control of the laughing conversations as the crowd moved to the dance floor, the beat of the bass notes vibrating against my kneecaps resting against the board of the bar pass. With Tibe performing his remixed beats of shifting disco funk melodies with hip hop choruses, the crowd began to close in tighter as they swayed and bobbed their heads to his four time feel.
“I love the change of genres,” said Ryan Biddles, in-house technician at Newspeak, when asked what he liked about the music. “It’s funky. You can always feel the vibe, and it’s good music. It’s always changing.”
As Tibe continued on, the people were now faint shadows in the light. Some standing, but most swaying and dancing heavily to the beat. They were helpless. The vibe would take no prisoners. They would soon become the vibe themselves.
A sequence of synthesized melodies one beat, and the next, six bars of a pop chorus in a whispering accompaniment to a two time feel again, drowning out the single bass drop that resonated the dance floor that would come again. By then, Tibe was in complete control of the vibe, and the vibe had reigned as king. Then a long steady drone. Blue lights. The drop again. Suddenly a new hip-hop chorus, as figures of dancing silhouettes began to surround the DJ who remained centre stage, bobbing his head in front of the sound podium, moving the beats in circles.
It was now one thirty in the morning, and a roaring applause from the sweaty inebriated crowd of yesterday night’s dancers were now packed by the hundreds. The cheers were immediately interrupted by bright blue and green lights and a symphony of electronic beat melodies in a faster tempo. The entire crowd was now dancing and jumping. Couples and dance partners making out with each other, and the rest making love to the vibe. Cosmo’s Midnight had begun.
Not long after taking control of the vibe with their music would the lone twin on stage begin to perform the duo’s new single to a thundering cheers from the jumping crowd, as the Liney from Sydney had sparked an electronic fire that early Sunday morning that was far from ending any time soon.
With continued rising international success, Cosmo’s Midnight has garnered a solid internet fan base with their debut single “Phantasm” featuring Nicole Millar, followed by their debut EP release “Surge” on the indie label ‘Yes Please’ in 2013. After remixing several artists including Panama, Anna Lunoe and Aluna George, they were signed to Astral People after winning a Future Classic remix contest for Flume-Sleepless. Not long after in 2014 were they then signed to Sony Music Australia, touring in Australia, the U.S., and Indonesia to their credit. The duo then released two singles featuring Polographia before releasing “Snare” featuring Wild Eyed Boy that same year, which was included in Ministry of Sound’s 2015 compilation album FUT.UR.ISM 3.0 and Chillout Sessions XVIII. Their second EP Moments, released in 2015 with Lido and Kero Kero Borito’s Sarah Midori Perry and featuring Flume and Fetty Wap on vocals, reached number two on the iTunes electronic music charts. The twins then collaborated with Kucka that same year to release their second latest single “Walk With Me”, which clocked over fourteen million plays and counting. They have since performed their growing electronic repop beats on the festival stages of Splendour In The Grass, Big Day Out, the OutsideIn Festival, and Field Day, playing alongside Porter Robinson, XXYYXX, Cashmere Cat, ZHU, and Alison Wonderland. In 2016, the duo attracted thousands of fans to live sets on the nationally touring Listen Out festival.
Now over a month since they premiered their latest single “History” on Stereogum, Cosmo and Patrick Liney’s new tune posted on Soundcloud has already reached over 317k plays, 14.3k likes, close to 4000 replays, and comments consisting of monosyllables, positively connotative expletives, variations of the spelling of the words ‘yes’ and ‘yas’, even more variations of ebullient emojis, and one very early comment by a fan reading “jesus worth the wait”. All, and counting. All unwritten bygones.
One could comment in the future that Cosmo’s Midnight made history this year, and that person would literally literally be right, more than once.