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Interview: Cousin Cole

Cousin Cole has been a Lab staple for years. His past collaborations with Pocketknife under the name Tambourine Dream have classic written all over them and his recent solo work can be heard all over the world from BBC Radio to Tim Sweeney’s Beats In Space. Cole also was one of our winners in our last Legitmix Remix Contest (sign up for the ongoing contest here) and having DJed with him a few times it is safe to say dude just knows what he is doing. We had Cousin Cole on Turntable Lab Radio last month and now we follow up below.

Turntable Lab Radio 025: Cousin Cole

Tell us a little bit about your background as a DJ / Producer.

I started producing in about 2000, making rap beats. Some of those became the soundtrack to my brother’s movie Just To Get A Rep

I had been DJing since 98, but just house parties until my first bootleg record came out, and I started to take it more seriously. I had to get Serato just so I could play my own shit. I remember one time before that just playing some off a discman hahahaha.

Your remixes have been blowing up the internet lately and you definitely don’t do flavor of the month picks. What is your process and thoughts behind those?

Basically anything that I mess fits two conditions: I like it to begin with and I see something I can do with it. Sometimes it feels like the song is trying to be something else, and I just try and help it get there. On that Rihanna “Nobody’s Business” edit, I just brought out the 90s house vibe I felt was latent in the song. Other stuff I like so much that I just listen for what I could bring to it.

But I do feel like some of the stuff that’s really blown up has been the more flavor of the month stuff, which is kinda unfortunate but what are you gonna do? The way music on the internet works right now, thanks to hype machine, and to a lesser extent soundcloud, the bigger the name the more people will give it that initial listen. And then mashups get exponentially more exposure — DJ Whoever’s Drake vs Lana Del Rey or whatever will come up for everyone searching for Drake plus everyone searching for Lana. And BTW there is nothing easier than putting rap vocals over an instrumental… MAKE A EFFORT!

What does your studio look like these days? Any secret weapons we should know about?

My studio is basically just my computer and a little midi keyboard. I can’t really play but it’s nice to get more of a natural feel versus drawing shit onto the piano roll. And a few months ago my girl gave me the Arturia Microbrute, which is an awesome new analog synth with a lot of flexibility.

We have had this discussion before but let’s expand on it a bit. Your remixes, personal taste, and soundcloud reflect who you are but there isn’t a very linear path in your selections. Do you feel this hurts or helps when someone is checking your music out?

Honestly, I think it probably hurts me in some ways… I know for me, there is so much music out there and so little time to go through it all that I tend to jump to conclusions based on the first thing or two I hear from someone. So I expect everyone else to do the same thing with me. Someone who’s into baltimore club isn’t necessarily going to be a Bruce Springsteen fan, so if they hear that first they might write me off.

It seems like “cool music” is becoming more stratified lately (and ”open format” is almost just a euphemism for Top 40) in contrast to a few years ago when eclecticism was seen as a virtue in itself. There’s nothing wrong with diving super deep into one thing, but I’m curious if we’ll see a return to djing that crosses a bunch of types of music.

Turntable Lab Radio 025: Cousin Cole

DJing around New York for sometime now, how do you feel things have changed in the recent years?

No one requests freestyle any more.

In your episode of Lab Radio we got a sneak peak at some upcoming releases. Can we expect a new project soon?

Yeah I’m working on it! I’ve got a ton of almost-done tracks I’m trying to finalize, including some of the stuff from the mix. Some of that stuff will probably come out under a new name though!

More immediately, I’ve got a remix for Congo Tardis ft. Sam G coming soon on Gold Whistle, my Manicured Noise remix is finally getting a vinyl release, Nacey & I are finishing up a followup to our Misun Summer Bootlegs series from last year, and Phi Unit and I are working on So Emotional 3.

Top 5 DJ records currently

1) Bok Bok – Da Foxtrot, His new stuff is so dope to me

2) Beek – Like This Like That, And if you’re feeling it y’all should support him here:

3) DJ Youngin – Too Much Remix, One of the MANY lesser known but still super dope Jersey Club producers.

4) Detroit Swindle – 64 Ways Feat. Mayer Hawthorne (Kerri ‘Kaoz’ Chandler Vocal Remix)

5) Popcaan – The System, Produced by Dre Skull. Nothing gets me more hype.

Top 5 listening records currently

1) Sananda Maitreya – Ornella Or Nothing, This is Terrence Trent D’Arby’s new name & man it’s a great song.

2) Alice Smith – Another Love, Because I’m depressed hahaha.

3) Jerome Lol – Always ft. Sara Z, <3 4) Womack & Womack – New York City, Best band of the 80s. Plus… NEW YORK IS STILL NUMBER ONE!

5) K. Michelle – VSOP, I played this at midnight on NYE and no one was feeling it but me hahhahahha.

Top 5 tracks you produced

Really I’m more psyched about all this unreleased stuff I’m finishing but…
1) Blunted Dummies – House For All (Cousin Cole Remix)

2) Amen Amen

3) Manicured Noise – Metronome (Cousin Cole Remix)

4) James Blake – The Wilhelm Scream (Cousin Cole Alternate Version)

5) Bam A Lam (Black Betty)
Get more Cousin Cole remixes at Legitmix

Free for all, talk about anything you want. shout outs, all that good stuff.

RIP Matt Stackswell

Turntable Lab Radio 025: Cousin Cole

Thanks to Cousin Cole for the interview and doing Lab Radio. You can listen to his episode here and keep up with him via Bookface, Soundcloud, and Twitter. Special shout out to Really Nathan for the photos and TTL NY Staff for putting up with my terrible jokes.

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Rest In Peace Matt Stackswell

Earlier this month I got a text from the homie DJ Day late at night… a little too late. Thinking the time difference from West coast to East coast could have been a factor it was only upon opening the text that I would learn the unfortunate news. Matt Stackswell had passed away. Having only met him a hand full of times, it was through the internet that I personally kept up with him but knew of his ties with the rest of my DJ family, Soulstrut, and of course Turntable Lab. Knowing I couldn’t do the justice of a proper remembrance, Doc Delay got at me with this very touching letter. Rest in Peace Stackswell, you will be missed.

I sit here on this gorgeous day next to a beautiful lake, surrounded by friends who play tennis and wake surf, yet I feel a pounding guilt. While I worried about whether to eat lobster or perfectly grilled pork loin, my friend Matthew Brenner lost his life.

Matt Stackswell

I met Matt 5 years ago when he walked into an east village record shop where I worked. He recognized from my handwriting that I was a (former) graffiti writer. He asked for my Nom de plume, and I reluctantly replied, “Delay.”

Matt’s bright blue eyes lit up, and he said,”ohhhh that’s yoooouu!” One of a small handful of people that would even care, Matt followed up with a barrage of questions that referenced a life I left behind a decade earlier. A couple days later Matt emailed me photos of pieces I couldn’t even remember doing.

Matt’s enthusiasm for art and music was something I once shared. Watching him light up when going through photos or records reminded me of myself before I found out how insignificant I was. His interest was a monument to what I had given up.

As the years passed I developed a friendship with Matt that extended beyond our common interests. He would seek my advice on things ranging from career to technology -relationships to cuisine. It was flattering that Matt would turn to me for guidance, and I always tried my best to oblige.

I saw Matt struggle with his lack of work options in DC and encouraged him to pursue something more long term. I suppose it came as no surprise that he would leave Washington for the big apple like I had 10 years earlier

Much like Matt, when I decided to move to New York, I left behind a great girl that loved me. I told him that was something I regretted, and I know his relationship with lily was the hardest thing for him to leave behind.

His metamorphosis was unshakable. I remember that momentum and saw it take root in him. He moved north with a new determination and new goals.

As Matt settled into New York I would see him less and less frequently. I expected that, and wanted that for him. I wanted him to thrive like he should and chase any and all of his aspirations. Even with both of our hectic schedules, Matt managed to see if I wanted to meet for a beer at least once a month, and I always knew when I saw him I’d be greeted with a bright smile and genuine interest in what transpired since we last spoke.

Sometimes the enthusiasm wore on me and I sneared at it as if it were a petty quality. My cynicism was a badge I wore to represent my experience. Little did I know that Matt’s unapologetic interest would be the thing I most admired when he was gone. A charming and contagious joy there is not enough of in this world.

– Doc Delay

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DJ QBert @ TTL NYC In-store! Friday January 31st 1-3PM EST

This Friday Turntable Lab NYC x Thud Rumble will be hosting the scratch master himself, DJ QBert! Q will be doing a very special in-store performance of music from his upcoming album as well as discuss the project and meet / greet the fans. The event will be held at our East Village location (120 E 7th st) from 1-3PM Eastern Time. We recommend arriving early as space is limited.

QBert is currently running a very ambitious Kickstarter campaign to further develop his latest album. The perks are pretty outstanding and the concept behind the album stands to be one for the books. Get more information here and check out the video below.


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A Fresh Start, please.


What happened to the ol’Lab Blog?

For retail business owners who experienced it, the Financial Crisis / Fallout (2008-) has become the defining moment of their current existence. You either died, withered, or changed.

In 2009 that Ratboy hit us like a skate truck to the face. All of the sudden, it was a reality that we had fight to the death. Driven by necessity, we attended one of those retail conferences / seminars that we thought we were too smart for.

The conference was an eye-opening experience: bunch of midwestern small-business men and slimy mousse-using types banking 8-digit revenues with horrendous websites and urls like “your(enter a business)”. They were using the Dark Arts.

At this conference, we were introduced to this Dark methodology of ecommerce that utilized things like 3rd party fixers and Google SEO seduction (which are the standard now, but not 5 years ago). We took the knowledge home and put it to practice.

What’s this have to do with the Lab Blog?

We turned the blog into a tool at the expense of our core readership and we apologize for that. We had to do it. Personally, whenever I visited the new iteration of the blog, I felt like a part of me died. The capitalistic stream drove away Lab favorites like Roc, Lloydski, Boy Genius, etc. However, it was working… traffic maintained and business flowed, it was just not the right traffic (Labheads).

On the back of one of our best holiday seasons, we have decided to take the blog back and relaunch it in the old Lab style. We’ll still have to pay the bills with product announcements, but we are going to bring back the voice that got stuffed into that hidden room in the basement and got fed a couple skittles a day.

Turntable Lab

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Labstagram Holiday Giveaway

With the holidays here and finding gifts proving hard for some the classic go to is a gift card. As we announced last week The Lab Gift Card is a sure fire bet for being the best parent of the century.

With that said, we have something special for the Instagram crowd. The Lab is giving away a $50.00 gift card via the Labstagram (@TurntableLab). You have to follow some simple rules though….

1. Follow us on Instagram (@TurntableLab)
2. Like the photo shown below.
3. Tag a friend in the comments of the photo.

The winner will be chosen at random and announced on Friday. Ganbatte!

Turntable Lab Gift Cards

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Black Friday Is Here, It’s Strictly Business

You can feel the tension in the air! 2013 is nearly gone and it’s time for that holiday rush. While we don’t condone Wal-Mart type stampeding and I’m sure we will hear a few “WORLD STAR” shouts on this year’s oncoming viral videos, we DO condone the use of our DISCOUNT CODES on your purchases! Keep me in mind we do have a few restrictions

Starts today, Wednesday Nov 27th, & ends Tuesday December 3rd.

Strictly biz

Take advantage of Record Store Day’s Black Friday releases (click on the image)


And if you need it, Turntable Lab’s Trusty Holiday Gift Guide is here to help! (Click on the image)

Holiday Gift Guide 2013


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