COOL COMPANY: FUTURE R & B OR JUST THE FUTURE? by SAMANTHA DING
Cool Company is a Brooklyn-based writer/producer/performance duo comprised of Cool Yan and Fat Matt. Thanks to RFB volunteer Samantha Ding for this interview.
RFB: How would you describe your music to someone?
Yan: It’s forever changing, but I would say right now it’s a Neo-Soul hip-hop vibe, with a good amount of funk.
Matt: I wouldn’t describe it, I would demand that they listen to it. It sounds like what you hear when you type “Cool Company” into Spotify. it’s under the umbrella of pop, but we definitely have songs that branch out into a bunch of different genres.
RFB: When I went on your Spotify I think that you described you as “future R & B,” but I didn’t know exactly what that meant.
Matt: Well, the “future” part gives us a lot of options. It’s like, the reason you don’t understand it is because we’re not in future yet.
RFB: I really like one of your songs, “Beneath the Lights,” which talks about feeling down even though you have everything you want. Is what it describes derived from your own experiences?
Yan: That song was written when I was in kind of a funk. I felt down but I didn’t really know why because on paper I didn’t have any reason to be upset or anything. It’s just me kind of talking that through to myself. I don’t know if I was trying to figure anything out, because I didn’t really have any problem with that feeling. I feel like that isn’t an uncommon way for people to feel.
RFB: I think it’s definitely not uncommon for people these days especially in big cities like New York.
Yan: it’s like when you’re surrounded by the most people you’re the most lonely, they say.
RFB: I also like a lot of your music videos, like the one for “Summer Sickness,” which was kind of trippy. Where do your ideas for your music videos come from?
Yan: I really like the direction we ran with that. Our director turned me into a dog. The video was directed by one of our roommates (and friends). He was the one who thought of that idea and he knows us well. We like to keep things playful. Not that we don’t like to be serious, but we don’t like to take ourselves too seriously.
Matt: We like to be a little confusing with our videos. there’s so many videos that are formulaic, and we want to do at least one thing in each video that’s new and will make someone say, “Whoa, what is that? I don’t understand.”
RFB: Do you work a lot with your friends and your roommates?
Yan: Yeah. the building where we live in Bushwick is a hub of creatives with lots of other bands. There is a DIY performance space there as well. we play a lot of shows and practice there. Those are really cool. I guess the building just attracted the right type of people.
RFB: Is that open to the public?
Yan: Yeah definitely. Just don’t throw up on our bathroom floor or smash our toilet and rip off the lid and throw it in the trash. That happened in our first party. That’s how I knew we were on the right track. If people did this at our first party they must have had a good time because that doesn’t happen at a lame party. [laughing]
RFB: Who are you guys listening to nowadays?
Matt: We have an official playlist on Spotify, called “Cool Runnings.” I’m listening to Masego’s new album a lot and this girl called Cleo Sol who I really like—she has these string arrangements in her music I’m trying to copy, well, emulate. Also Kadhja Bonet; she was on Anderson.Paak’s new album on the first song. And Anderson.Paak of course, his new album is pretty good.
Yan: I’ve been listening to Burna Boy a lot lately. He has a nice Afrobeat kind of sound; that’s been on repeat for the last month or so. We also like a lot of local artists, of course, because we work with a lot of them: Cook Thugless, NanaBCool, Kota the Friend, Troop Brand–the good music kind of finds you.
Check out Cool Company on Instagram @coolcompanymusic. See them live at their residency at C’Mon Everybody until the end of March.