April 22, 2017

Cosmic Crates Lay Vinyl on Tape for a Fresh Take on Classic DJ Form

It’s rare to find an act that embodies the values of the past while embracing and pushing trends into the future. Cosmic Crates are the dusty dubplate in the sea of sale vinyl… they’re a find. Everything from the concept to delivery of this dissected analog duo embodies the journey that becomes a dance record. Channeling mixed influences, the duo connect their Detroit to San Francisco project in a unique way. Built on the art of the mixtape, Cosmic Crates spin exclusively wax then lay it on tape for a series of sets that you should be following.

It all started when the two shared a house on Detroit’s infamous 8-mile. Andrew Thomas and Brian Anderson were both familiar with the sound, but the city would make a lasting impact. It’s easy to tell, their approach to selection and delivery was influenced by the classics. Frequent visitors to the iconic motor city shops Record Time and Melodies & Memories, it’s no surprise that a Cosmic Crates set contains a healthy blend of old and new.

For a couple of house heads, [Detroit] was magic. Norm Talley and Delano Smith upstairs at Vivio’s, Beatdown at Agave, AL Ester at The House Bar, late nights and early mornings at The Works… we were literally surrounded by talented DJs and Producers who we looked up to and learned from.

Even after Brian headed west to San Francisco, their passion for vinyl kept a strong connection. vinyl is just more physical which we think leads to blending and mixing more by feel. The two stick to wax tracks and rotary-mixers for the Cosmic Crate project. ‘Vinyl is just more physical which we think leads to blending and mixing more by feel’ they told us after putting is plainly; ‘we really, really love records.’ Over three years the duo have delivered a steady stream of tapes all in top form. Their meticulous approach to the records and recording result is a vibed out blend of groove meets class.

We are down with all DJs who make people dance. What we’re doing with Cosmic Crates is a narrow slice of dance music history that we wanted to shine a light on. Mixtapes were everything in the early days of all this, and this project is our tribute and way of saying thanks to all of those DJs who were making mixtapes this same (sometimes painstaking) way starting in the 80s and through into 2000. Some of those tapes changed our lives.

Their concept-centric process facilitates a cross-country b2b build on the foundation of analog quality and crate digging. Truly dedicated to the art of DJing and process behind it, Cosmic Crates are one of the few acts delivery a story through the mix. Admitting to a typical pull of over 50 records per mix, it’s evident that these aren’t your normal club sets. After over somewhere close to a half century of digging, these guys prepping a mix is much more detailed than your modern Ableton producers sample-bank.

Usually how it works is one of us will suggest an idea like black labels vs white labels and then we’ll both spend a week or two going through our collections and pulling records that fit. We’ll also buy new records to mix in. All of our mixes are recorded in one take, from vinyl to cassette tape, and then digitized for upload. That’s why you’ll hear every crack, pop and mistake. The rawness is important to us. The A side / B side concept is sort of a like a cross-country B2B set where we each play for :45 minutes.

Blending disco with house, their tasteful selekts are a reminder of the past but always on trend. On the hunt both online and in store, the guys frequent the mixtape shop for a fresh few for each set. When asked to list a few record that remain in rotation, the Detroit blood runs deep. Names like Theo Parrish, Moodymann, Omar S, Rick WIlhite, Andrés are timeless presses and still pack what’s needed.

If you need a steady mix of records that you won’t find just anywhere, Cosmic Crates are the act to follow. Hinting at upcoming gigs like a ‘freaky space disco’ in San Francisco soon and Detroit for Movement, try and catch their vinyl-only set. If you can see it stream the wax on the CC YouTube channel, you’ll want to smash the ‘subscribe’ button on that one. Keep tabs on these two as the scene swings back to value quality over quantity. It will take more that laptop and insta handle to impact the next wave of 12″-friendly stateside house music and Cosmic Crates are armed a ready.