Yesteryear

Cosmo's Midnight

Yesteryear

"I think it's been a double-edged sword," Cosmo Liney tells Apple Music of not being able to tour or travel throughout 2020. "It's allowed us more time to reflect on the album because we didn't have any shows we had to churn things out for, but it's also hard because there's been no way to gauge reactions to it along the way." Made together with his twin brother Patrick, the Sydney-based dance duo's second album has expanded on the sound, richness, and instrumentation of their 2018 debut, What Comes Next. "For our first record, everything was produced on a laptop," says Patrick. "It was very digital; everything was clicked in and very precise. When we started playing live, we wanted to bring that sensation of the fluidity and the looseness and make it a bit more jammy—it's more natural and fun." Yesteryear is immediately feel-good and bright, and though some songs deal with less-than-happy themes, it's intentionally masked by dance grooves and positive vibes. "We don't necessarily write about how we're feeling at the time," says Cosmo. "We've always wanted to write upbeat music that makes us feel good. It has to have a groove locked away in there." And while there's no specific story or overarching idea, it's an album about growth and relationships. "There's a lot about how you grow as a person and how you treat yourself, and also your relationships with other people," says Patrick. "It's about taking lessons from the years past and growing up and shaping yourself anew right now." Below, the Liney twins talk through each song on their sophomore record.
Unwind Patrick: ”We wanted to set the tone of the record on this one. So it's combining a few different elements on the record. We've got the vocals from a whole bunch of different tracks, we've got the disco drum pattern and the mad funky bassline. We just wanted to come in with energy and just establish ourselves like this song right here is our album. Basically the song is about when you meet someone and you're totally infatuated and it has you spinning out. But it's a bit unrequited. It's like you're really into them and they're not. And you're just saying, 'Please don't cut me up and rip me apart.' So it's a bit complex, but you wouldn't know because it's a dancy pop song. We like to have that duality.”
Yesteryear Patrick: “It’s the title track, not just in name. It encompasses the whole theme of the album, of nostalgia and looking back, thinking of yesteryear, and it's all about acknowledging what you've done to come to this point. It's an optimistic track. The chorus is addressed to a person: ‘I'm shaking you up, so, baby, we let go.’ And it's addressed to yourself, as if you’re talking to yourself and you're saying, ‘I'm moving on. I'm going up and I'm leaving my past behind, but I'm also not forgetting it.’ You're acknowledging what's shaped you into the person you are today.”
It’s Love (feat. Matthew Young) Patrick: “Matthew Young is stupidly talented. When we were in New Zealand for Laneway, we went to his house and recorded the song there. He's a very deliberate writer, he picks every lyric very carefully. Every word in that song is very intentional. I love how he's so good as a songwriter; it's very different to my kind of songwriting where I kind of feel my way out. He has a vision and he knows exactly what he wants.”
Have It All (feat. Age.Sex.Location) Cosmo: “We were in LA doing a songwriting session with John Ryan and Shungudzo, trying to jam out as many songs as possible. So these songs are like very off the cuff, and we were just really in the moment. And we’d been drinking a lot that day. We had this demo where it was like, ‘If you want it you can have it,’ but a very different idea. And then they added the melody. So we were all singing the chorus and trying to record as many exciting sounds as we could behind it. And down the line we got a trombone and trumpets for a disco breakdown that really pulled it in for the final chorus.”
Ice (feat. Stevan) Cosmo: We wanted to make sure that this record wasn't just like the last one. I think that's the great thing about an album: You can have all different genres. This song is actually ‘We Could Last Forever,’ but we pitched it down, added the drop into it, and then it was like, ‘Whoa, this is a brand-new song.’ And then we sent that to Stevan and he just came back two days later with this cool song. I just love that intro; it's really fun and it set the tone for the whole track.”
A Million Times Patrick: “It's kind of about when you have a person you're really obsessed with being around and you want to tell them how you feel but you're worried that it's unrequited. But then they actually confess their feelings for you too, and it's that moment in time where you first confess your feelings for each other. I was trying to have really super hyper-precision, the focus on that exact moment. And then the chorus is that big kind of speech and he's excited and wide-eyed really in the moment.”
Down for You (feat. Ruel) Cosmo: “This album was very much supposed to be about Patrick's voice at the forefront. So we wanted to be very selective with who we collaborate with to make sure it's a good crossover and it really brings something to the fold. So when we went to write with Ruel, we were very confident that we could find something to do together. He'd just released a few tracks that we really liked, and we ended up meeting up with him after his tour and Groovin the Moo. It started with just the vocals and keys, and Pat kept shifting around trying to find where the vocals sit well. Eventually we locked in the drum groove and it is what it is now.”
The Get Down Patrick: ”We wanted to pull people back into the dance vibe. It's kind of like a live set, to be honest. In our live set we start with a big-song theme song and a few huge dance tracks, then we'll get to lower-energy tracks, or we'll explore a different energy before building it back up towards that crescendo at the end. That's kind of what we do on this album. So 'Ice,' 'A Million Times,' 'Down for You,' which is still upbeat, but they're not big dance songs. So 'The Get Down' is kind of our segue way back to that. It has this slapping-keys intro and then the drumbeat slowly plays in, and it's just a fun song to sort of get you back there. It's like a little breath before the next section.”
Time Wasted Patrick: “The demo was an instrumental for almost a year. We were trying to find a home for it, but nothing really felt right. One day, I was driving my car and listening to the demos, and out of the blue this whole melody and the lyrics came to me. I had to pull over the car and get my phone out and I recorded the voice memo right there. It's kind of weird how songs pop into your head randomly. We have a few eureka moments on the album, but it's rare. The song is about feeling like you've wasted time with a person. It’s like, 'I've put all this effort into our relationship and cultivating what we had, and it's kind of all for nothing.' It's about regret and it’s quite melancholy, but it's very upbeat and simultaneously feels really fun.”
Idaho Patrick: “It's about that concept of how the grass is always greener. Going somewhere because you feel like you need a change, but when you get there and you're like, 'Oh my god, the grass is greener where I left, so I'm going back now.' You have to have the ability to be content with what you have right now, but we're often thinking, 'Oh, it's better over there where that really grassy green bit is.' And that's Idaho. It's so mountainous and beautiful, and Sydney has the beaches and it’s hot all the time. You fly to Idaho and as you touch down, you realize you want to go back to Sydney.”
C.U.D.I (Can U Dig It) Cosmo: “It’s the oldest track on the album. We actually wrote it after going to a party down the South Coast on New Year's Eve and we just came back to our studio that we were renting in Redfern. It was such a nice place, we had a huge balcony. We were there with our friends and just started playing some music as all our gear was already there. All our friends sang on it—we wanted it to sound like people singing, not singers singing. It was such a fun song to write. And we love the steel drum, that little bit of tropicana.”
We Could Last Forever Cosmo: “Conceptually, we wanted this one to fade out—technically fade-outs could last forever because it's just on a loop and it just slowly fades into the distance. The verses are about being obsessed with this person so much, and her friends are like, 'You need to give her some space, you need to chill.' But then it also captures that moment of dance floor romance. So I think it's one of the best romances you can have. Whether it be for five minutes and then you never see that person again, I feel like some of the dance floor interactions that you have throughout your life are just so important. It's just that feeling at that time. You don't need to say anything, or even know the person, but you're like, 'We could dance forever.'”

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