|Cosmo's Midnight / Courtesy of Cosmo's Midnight|
By Jon Dunbar
Australian electronic music duo Cosmo's Midnight is coming back to Korea for another tour, but this time in the form of an online performance streamed for the Busan International Rock Festival. Despite multiple visits prior to the pandemic, this time the band enjoys extra fame, following a collaboration last year with top K-pop group BTS on the song "Fly to My Room."
"This performance is going to be a very special one," band member Patrick Liney promised The Korea Times. "We've been able to make it extra unique and vibey just for this show."
Characterized by a gushy smooth groove punctuated by vibraslap and woodblocks, Cosmo's Midnight traces its origins back to a remix Patrick's twin brother Cosmo made late at night and titled "Cosmo's Midnight mix."
"From then on (the name) just stuck because it felt natural and the rest is history," Patrick told The Korea Times.
"I have no idea why Cosmo got the cool and interesting name," he added. "I was originally going to be called Cyprian (meaning 'from Cyprus') but they ended up calling me something way more normal. Probably to balance out the hectic-ness of Cosmo."
|Cosmos Midnight / Courtesy of Cosmos Midnight|
The band started in 2012 but debuted officially in 2017, releasing its first full-length album "What Comes Next" in 2018 and follow-up album "Yesteryear" in 2020. In August this year, the brothers released the single "Titanic."
They gained a serious windfall last year after producing and co-writing a BTS song, "Fly to My Room." According to an article on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, their Spotify account gained an extra 40,000 monthly users thanks to the collaboration.
The song addresses the frustrations of the pandemic and travel restrictions, with lyrics written by BTS members RM, Suga and J-Hope. The Liney brothers co-wrote the demo for the song with writer Joe Femi Griffith and corresponded frequently with the Korean idol group throughout its production.
Patrick contributed one concept that resulted in the memorable lyric, "Broken is beautiful," when he brought up the concept of "kintsugi," a Japanese concept of highlighting or emphasizing imperfections.
"The idea of kintsugi was floating in my head that day for some reason. Maybe it's because my dad had accidentally broken some pottery I made while at university and I was looking up ways to mend it. The idea of recognizing the beauty in mending something broken, and highlighting its history and flaws rather than hiding it really resonated with me," Patrick said.
"In Jimin's verse he sings about how lockdown has renewed appreciation for small things. I feel they wove that little concept into their lyrics over 2020 lockdown anxiety perfectly."
Patrick said he's been coping with the pandemic by switching his focus to writing and staying creative, including doing some free-hand ceramics and painting while exploring new music he's discovered. "It's still hard to stay motivated without re-energizing by being outdoors, so we take breaks from music to avoid burning out," he added.
"Unfortunately live performances are basically a no-go until Australia hits a high vaccination rate. The good news is that at the rate we are going things should be opening up pretty soon!"
So when Busan International Rock Festival invited Cosmo's Midnight to participate, Patrick and Cosmo were ready and willing.
"Unfortunately, international travel is all but impossible right now, so the next best thing was to join in virtually. We would definitely always prefer to come visit, especially since Busan is a city we've been wanting to explore for a long time now!" Patrick said.
"We really want to go to Busan next time we visit Korea, but I still feel like we've barely scratched the surface of what Seoul has to offer."
Cosmo's Midnight has played at Itaewon venue Soap twice, as well as Hongdae's V-Hall and the Hangang Breezeway in Nanji Hangang Park with EDM artist Flume.
"We'd always dreamed of playing in Korea but we had to wait until it made sense to tour there," Patrick said. "The Seoul club scene is pretty renowned amongst our peers, especially places like Soap and Cakeshop bringing in so many amazing artists over the years. The food, bars, coffee and nightlife had us hooked straight away, but when we were in Seoul for a week to play with Flume we had more time to sink our teeth into travelling all over Seoul and finding more esoteric places. We can't wait to come back and do more!"
|Cosmos Midnight / Courtesy of Cosmos Midnight|
Meanwhile, Busan International Rock Festival, after taking last year off, returns this year with a hybrid online-offline event. This weekend, the festival offers live performances at Samnak Ecological Park by seven domestic bands, including the legendary punk band Crying Nut and Busan local heroes Say Sue Me, as well as six prerecorded live clips from six bands located both here and various locations around the world. Along with Cosmo's Midnight, other bands participating from overseas include Texan dream-pop band Cigarettes After Sex and U.S. indie rock band Hippo Campus, both of which also have a history of touring Korea prior to the pandemic.
Visit fb.com/busanrockfest or busanrockfestival.com for more details about the festival, and go to cosmosmidnight.com to sample the band's music.