Anyone who lives in the Sydney, Australia suburb of Petersham is used to the continuous drone of airplanes flying overhead. Lying directly underneath the flight path of arrivals and departures from Sydney Airport, it’s a sound that twin brothers Cosmo and Patrick Liney, better known as the dance duo Cosmo’s Midnight, are accustomed to hearing while crafting their viral dance tracks in the home they share. Despite the constant stream of people departing Australia right above their heads, the brothers never had the opportunity to leave the continent and visit the United States until music became their ticket out just last year.
“We’ve been pretty Australia-bound for most of our career,” explains Patrick with bleary eyes and matted hair during a recent early morning chat. “It’s really cool to start crossing over.” Just last week, the twins reached a new level in their career when they signed a deal with RCA Records in the United States thanks to the buzz that they built from the ground up that later morphed into a series of viral streaming success. “Walk With Me” has notched a cool 19 million plays across all platforms, while newest single “History” is climbing up the Australian charts and is well on its way to becoming a mainstream hit.
If Patrick and Cosmo have anyone to thank for their stellar run, it’s their older brother; he got into making mashups as a hobby and passed his musical interest onto the twins. “We started experimenting with producing in high school and it was just really terrible at first,” laughs Cosmo. “We made some bad stuff that I don’t want to remember.” At the time, the brothers were experimenting on the Ableton music production software, trying to discover a unique sound that they could expand on while also using artists like Justice and Deadmau5 as inspirations. “The goal was to figure out exactly how they produced, so at first we tried to emulate a lot of artists that we liked. We’d hear one song and try to make something like that,” notes Cosmo. “Our early stuff isn’t 100 percent original. At the time it was more about learning technique.”
After a few years of experimenting, once they were confident in their sound they began uploading music on SoundCloud. “Things started popping for us when we started to get some followers,” says Cosmo. “We had this small following of about 4,000 fans, and then we started getting good feedback from other producers around the world. We thought, ‘That’s not bad, let’s keep going.’” The twins did just that and caught the attention of a manager thanks to a remix of fellow Aussie Flume’s track “Sleepless.” The superstar producer soon became a fan of the twins. “I think he carved a path for other people in Australia looking to make it in electronic music,” notes Patrick. “Before him, music coming out of Australia was very band-focused. It’s cool how much of an impact he’s made on the whole world; he essentially birthed this genre. Flume has always been really humble and is all about bringing people up and giving them a voice.”
Two weeks after reflecting on their origins in Petersham, the twins are out of Australia and playing a series of dates around the United States during their second-ever visit to North America. At a recent concert at Brooklyn’s Rough Trade, they drew a large crowd of New York-based fans who discovered their music through streaming services like Spotify without much of an initial push in the U.S. That’s something that’s about to change after RCA swooped in and snapped them up, one of a few labels who reached out after the success of their recent single, “History,” a dance track that ruminates on a past relationship and is complemented by synths with a dash of R&B thrown in.
“When we wrote ‘History,’ we were down in Melbourne for our birthday with a few friends,” remembers Cosmo of what would become their breakout track. “We had a session scheduled with a topliner friend of ours, but had gone out the night before and had a bit of a rough one, so we walked into the studio really hungover. We sat down for four hours just talking and trying to get over how we felt and started playing a rough demo.” From the first take, lyrics came easy. “There was so much energy in it. It felt good.”
The twins wound up sitting on “History” while waiting for another chance to record vocals with a friend. “We finished the track in LA and worked on it until we thought it was perfect which was the hardest part,” says Patrick. “You can get the main idea out quickly, but the details take forever. The fact it’s gotten well over a million plays in a month on Spotify, we’re just super excited and happy about that.”
It’s through that meticulous process that Cosmo’s Midnight are working on an upcoming album, an opportunity they don’t want to blow as they continually create and throw out tracks and create again. “We’ve got some songs laid out, but we aren’t going to settle for anything being less than perfect,” notes Cosmo. “We have a playlist we keep updating every week with tracks we make that we like. The ones that stay in there for months are the ones worth working on and continuing with. That’s the process… filtering out stuff and going from there.”
Now, with RCA in their corner, “History” continuing its rise, and a growing global fanbase, Cosmo and Patrick are getting ready for whatever may come next, including flying over their native Petersham more and more. “It seems like there’s a bit of a spotlight on Australia right now,” says Patrick, the shine of which is no doubt on him and his brother. “I’m glad the buzz is translating overseas.”