One of Atlanta’s most beloved and daringly extroverted staples, Cousin Dan, is a busy guy. While the maintenance of a glowing stage and polishing of a cod piece surely have been priorities, Cuzzin has been dutifully working on his new album Ivory Sensations, preparing for a tour and landing some big gigs. BANG! spoke with the neon synthesized lady-killer himself about all the commotion.
BANG! How did Daniel Scoggins create Cousin Dan? Would you say Cousin is an alter-ego of sorts?
Cousin Dan Cousin Dan is most definitely an altar ego to Daniel Scoggins. I like to think of it as an exaggerated part of my personality. When I first started making this kind of music there was no real project or future in mind. I had recently graduated with a BFA in Sculpture from SCAD and was pretty burnt out on the whole fine art thing, so I started to find different outlets for those creative urges. Initially I was just messing around in my apartment making beats and recording funny little videos to make my friends laugh on the internet. After I had a couple of songs under my belt I decided to try out some open mics around town, and basically did that once or twice a week for a couple of months. The reaction that I got from those open mics is what made me think that I could do this. I have always been a pretty outgoing person, and performing in front of a crowd seemed to come pretty naturally for me. So after a year of playing various art shows and saying "yes" to anything that came my way I began to develop a little bit of a name for myself and was able to land some good opening gigs around town. It's basically all downhill from there, as I played more shows I was able to figure out what did and didn't work for me, and my live show/look began to really shine though. First with the addition of my mirrored codpiece, and then my personal light up dance floor, and then I started ripping phone books in half and popping balloons on said codpiece.
BANG! What can we expect in Ivory Sensations that we haven’t seen/heard from you before?
Cousin Dan With Ivory Sensations I am trying to show people what I'm really made of. Right now I am mostly known for my hilarious stage show and tongue and cheek humor, but I am searching for more than that. Getting shot back in November was a real wake up call for me and it's made me realize that I am ready to step up every aspect of my game. So it is my plan to put out an album that really means something to me. I think my sound has matured and my lyrics are coming from a place that is closer to the heart. I want people to be like, "Damn, Cousin Dan is really goin' in on dis shit!"
BANG! Some would describe your live shows as performance art. Are your antics on stage fueled by the content of your songs, or do you harness that energy from a different place?
Cousin Dan I definitely consider what I do performance art. It's hard to pinpoint where I dig out all these emotions on stage but the whole performance feels pretty therapeutic for me. I'm not really sure how to explain it, but I feel the need to really perform these songs. My facial expressions and dance moves are basically a visual representation of how the song makes me feel.
BANG! I understand that Red Bull contacted you for the Sounds Selects series. Could you elaborate on how that all happened?
Cousin Dan The other day I got a call from a local promoter who is working with Red Bull here in Atlanta. He told me that they wanted me to be a part of Sound Select project, which is designed to to promote emerging musicians and elevate local music. Obviously I said yes, and the ball is just beginning to roll. It's really cool that things like this exist and I think it is exactly what I need right now.
BANG! Humor and wit play a big part of the Cousin Dan experience. Obviously you take this very seriously or you wouldn’t be as far along as you are, though. Where does the line of distinction between seriousness and comedy fall for you?
Cousin Dan Humor definitely plays a role into what I do. I think a big part of the attraction toward Cousin Dan is that people see a guy up on stage all by himself just totally going for it with no regard as to what anyone else thinks. I think that kind of confidence can empower and inspire people not to be afraid of who they are or who they want to be. I take what I'm doing seriously but I don't take my self too seriously. There is a pretty delicate line that I am dancing on, but I think I'm moon walking right down the center of it.
BANG! What do you feel Cousin Dan’s place in the Atlanta community is?
Cousin Dan Atlanta has been my home for six years now and I really feel like they have accepted me as one of their own, I feel like one of their own. Shit, I even have an A-town down tattoo on my shoulder. This city really has my back and I want to do my best to represent it well. I don't know exactly where I fit in, but it feels good.
BANG! In regards to your Florida Tour at the end of July, how do you plan on breaking in new scenes?
Cousin Dan I have done a handful of shows around Florida and the response has been great. The first time I went down do Destin I sold all of my merch and people sang along with some of the songs, which was really crazy and cool. I don't really have a strategy as to how to break into new scenes, I just show up, do my thang, and hope that they are ready to get down with the Dan!
BANG! With your new album, what have you found yourself gravitating toward in reference to themes and inspirations?
Cousin Dan As cheezed out as it may sound; I think this album is inspired by life, the search for love, and a hunger to reach that next level.
BANG! Synth-pop/ new age music has certainly accumulated a rising number of contributors in recent years. Why do you think the genre is attracting more and more fans/artists?
Cousin Dan I think people are burnt out on a lot of the pop music of today, which may be to the fault of such a heavy saturation of dubstep and djs. We live in a time where it's all been done, and I think people are ready to revisit the best of what was going on in the 70s and 80s but armed with the technology of today.
BANG! When all is said and done, what do you want Cousin Dan to have contributed to the world?
Cousin Dan I just want to be the best I can, takin' it to the limit. Hopefully I can create something that lasts and inspires people to have the courage to be the person that they are meant to be.
Hear the newest single Something In the Water, off of Ivory Sensations here: