Cosmic Cowboys are an Italian DJ and production duo from Venice. The boys have been DJing for over 15 years ago, but it’s through their productions that they’ve come to the senses of those outside Italy.
Their latest EP, out now on Acumen and Timid Boy’s always on-point Time has Changed label, is a fine indication of where they’re at too. We checked in with them for a quick natter recently, just as the EP was set to drop and two label showcases in Barcelona, with Galaktika on Friday and Rotary Cocktail on Saturday.
by Stephen Flynn
“Being a DJ duo is not always easy but a friendship like ours is stronger than every little fight that a career in the music might bring from time to time.”
We’d like to start by asking about Venice. What was it like as a place to grow up for electronic music?
Venice is a special place. It doesn’t matter that we grew up here and we know every centimeter of its narrow streets or if we are see the sun disappearing over the horizon reflecting its red light over the lagoon every single day. Each time is just as great as the very first time and these intense emotions have always been such a huge inspiration for our music. There’s this quote from Friedrich Nietzsche that says “If I had to find a word that replaces music I could only think of Venice”, and beside our personal feelings about it, Venice is definitely a perfect place for writing music. And, of course, electronic music is becoming more and more a big part of the musical output that the city can offer.
Where did you guys go clubbing then? How do you look back on those early days?
There was a time where the area around Venice was one of the hotspots for house music in Italy, so we had the chance to listen to many amazing artists from all over the world playing very different shades of electronic music. We spent every weekend dancing in front of the DJ booth of those legendary clubs, dreaming about playing our music on those same decks one day. Unfortunately the whole club industry in Italy had a very hard period a few years ago and many of those clubs are now closed. But more than ten years after we still remember some of those crazy nights with a smile on the face.
What DJs and producers have influenced your sound more than any others? And why?
This is the kind of question where the best and only answer is “too many to name them all”, but we’ll try our best to focus on the ones that strongly inspired us during our discovery of electronic music. Our sound is always very melodic but at the same time its mood is extremely versatile and this is definitely because our influences come from a very wide range of artists and styles but if we could write ten names probably Dj Deep, Derrick May, Silicone Soul, Trentemoller, Carl Craig, Sasha & John Digweed, Ripperton and Kollektiv Turmstrasse are the ones who would fit better into the list.
How would you describe the mood of the city around that time in terms of music?
The mood back then was surely more house oriented but both progressive and minimal techno were starting to draw more attention from the crowd. Labels such as SAW, Azuli and Defected were definitely setting the trends around that time but labels like Bedrock or Yoshitoshi as well as M_nus, Plus 8 and Cocoon were gaining a huge exposure season after season till we got the Cadenza revolution that marked the Italian scene for several years.
Has it changed much since for the better and the worse?
It’s changed completely. The music, clubs and crowd are way different nowadays, but it’s hard to say if it the scene changed in a good or a bad way. Some problems are just the same as they were 10 years ago and some have got worse but there are many good things too. Excellent new events are starting every season with great promoters that really care about quality music in some smaller and more intimate venues. This energy we feel around us is a great way to bring Venice to the next level of the international club scene and we strongly support all these new projects.
Can you tell us a bit about getting involved in Time Has Changed? How did that one come about?
We’ve always liked the sound of THC and everything started very naturally a few years ago when Acumen and Timid Boy asked us to prepare a demo. A few weeks later we sent them over this pack called “Miraggio” that got released a couple of months later together with a lovely remix from Marco Resmann. The release was a big success and so we always planned to have a follow up on the label. It took us a couple of years but when we finished “Perseus” we thought this was the perfect track for the comeback on the label and we’re happy to be back.
What is it about the label that made you feel it’d work well as a place to release your music?
THC is a strong label that has always released stunning music and Acumen and Timid Boy are great guys, very professional and crazy enough to work with us. So it was love at first sight. When we decided to release “Perseus” we all felt it was the right decision when we started working on it and now that the release date is getting closer we are excited about having this track out on THC with a fantastic remix by Betoko.
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