Spotlight On: Twin Cousin (Doug English + Ross Regs)
If life as an artist is a struggle, Doug English and Ross Regs, who operate under the moniker Twin Cousin, make it look effortless. From the beginnings of their friendship to their approach in the studio, these young guns have allowed things to run their natural course. Quickly rising through the ranks of the dance music scene in Detroit, the dynamic duo is known for their eclectic style behind the decks playing a blend of hard-edged house and techno. Their sound was made for the dancefloor and as their crowds continue to get bigger and bigger, their heads don’t. Some of the most down-to-earth cats you’ll meet, Doug English and Ross Regs are just having a damn good time and it’s apparent when they’re behind the decks. We caught up with the boys to chat about their influences, the collaboration process, production goals and upcoming projects. And for a special treat, they gave us the exclusive premier of their newest remix!
EXCLUSIVE PREMIER: Who You Runnin With (Doug English & Ross Regs Remix): Lennart Richter
Doug English: Our number one thing is we just let it happen and don’t try to force anything. We just try to feel it while we do it. The vibe feels us more than anything else, which is why we started working together in the first place. We had this connection at first and we kinda clicked more than anything else so we try and maintain that feeling anytime we’re DJing or producing. It’s the best way to be creative I think.
Ross Regs: Yeah I think for us that’s how the whole thing started— we never had a “sit down and put our heads together” moment. Even our friendship developed that way— it just happened and then we kind of realized we were on the same page (musically speaking) and it kept growing from there. It was all an accident— not intentional just very organic.
DE: The first time we linked up was completely on accident. We both showed up at the same spot (to play) and then randomly decided we were going to do a B2B set together and I knew what he liked/ what kind of music he played and he knew what I liked to play but we had never put it together until then. It was on the fly and it just went from there.
RR: That first time we went B2B is a good metaphor for our friendship and how that developed because we were seeing each other every once in a while and it was always on point. One night we just connected and we had seen what each other was doing and we ultimately agreed on something we didn’t even have to agree on. It just felt right.
Your latest release together was “Credo” any inspiration/concept behind the track?
DE: The concept was “let’s just have some fun in the studio” and our entire production process is like this. We pick a noise, a sound, an instrument, playaround with it and if it doesn’t sound good we scrap it and if it works we build on to it and we usually spend hours building elements of the song. After several hours we had a song [Credo] we liked so we ran with it.
What software/hardware do you guys use to produce your music?
DE: We use Ableton for most of our production and we use hardware as much as we can. We personally don’t own any hardware but we have friends who own some Moogs and Korgs that we sample a lot.
Growing up in the area, how has the music scene in Detroit influenced your sound, if at all?
DE: It was always an escape. I grew up in the suburbs so I would go downtown and get to interact with people who were more open-minded and willing to accept different ideas. It’s always been a safe haven away from all of that…especially from some of the suburbs where everyone is kind of raised a certain way.
RR: I have to be extremely thankful for my parents because at a very early age they would push a lot of different music on me. It wasn’t forced but I grew up in a home that was very musically liberated. I was the kid that was 9 years old listening to classic rock and stuff like that. I didn’t listen to pop shit and they helped me be more open-minded and like music that was way beyond what most young kids listen to. I got in trouble in music class in 5th grade for bringing a Led Zeppelin C.D. to class. I also hung out with older kids so when I was in middle school these kids I grew up with were going to Movement Festival and that was my first time hearing about it and I was like, “Yeah I need to check this out…this sounds cool.” That was 2007 and then 2008 really sealed the deal for me—seeing James Zabiela, Anthony Attalla and these local guys kill it. Being that young and seeing it was eye opening and made me realize that I wanted to do this.
DE: It was like, “Holy shit, this exists?”
RR: Ever since then it’s been a can’t-miss religious experience every year
Any insight if you’ll be playing Movement Festival this year?
DE: It’d be a dream come true but I don’t like to expect anything.
Are there any labels/artists that you guys are really diggin right now?
DE: When I was in Denver I started listening to Bondage (records) our boys Need & Necessity turned us onto their style and Mother (records) is solid too but then like there’s a lot of labels we’ve been listening to for years that are still killin it. Awful records is another good one.
RR: What I’ve been turned onto lately is like Outplay (records) anything like Heist, Dirtcrew, UltraMajic… anything Jimmy Edgar or Detroit Swindle do I pay attention to. As far as real house/funky stuff, I would say Daniel Leseman, Loz Goddard. So I’m either on one side of the extreme or the other…
But a lot of your sets are like that—very eclectic.
RR: Yeah definitely. We listen to a lot of RnB especially old school stuff and if either of us hits a roadblock in the studio, we always have a breakthrough when we listen to stuff that’s like the exact opposite of what we’re going for.
DE: There’s no chemistry there. The music we listen to for inspiration has nothing to do with the sounds we’re trying to create in the studio but it’s really nice to draw upon the differences.
RR: My brother has been rapping and we do hip-hop on the side and it keeps you really fresh and well-rounded. So we’ll do something like that and then we’ll go back to house and techno and it makes it sound that much more intense. It’s always good to have an influence from something that you’re not normally known for.
Any production goals for the year?
RR: We were in Denver at the end of last year to open for Get Real at Beta so we were there a couple days before the gig hanging with our homies—kids we’ve known for a bit—Need & Necessity and Option 4, who hooked us up with the gig. So we jumped in the studio and it was very effortless—we just jumped into it and took turns rotating and recorded everything. What happened there in 10 hours was crazy—we ended up finishing two full songs and a third on the way. So that happened very organically and it’s a start of a really good thing. As far as goals, I want to get those tracks signed. You guys will hear it in upcoming sets. So that’s the goal—to make the music flow and happen naturally.
DE: Our goal is to go with the flow. It’s my motto in life to take it easy.
Any releases or tour dates readers should know about?
DE: I’ve got something on Jungle Funk Recordings– samples Biggie joint I did for Jerome Robins and Faruk Orakci remix on Nasty Funk (another record label to look out) and another collaboration with Bruno Furlan and a track on Audiophiles 1- year compilation. We’re also doing a compilation album for Sleazy G called “Future G House.”
RR: We’re curating this new thing taking more aggressive house and fusing it with grime and hip-hop. Basically taking edgier sounds we’re known for and using a bunch of new MC’s and we’re trying to fuse the genres together. So instead of just putting vocals over something we’re making hybrids. There’s a lot of new talent coming thru with that. We’re trying to grab a bunch of guys working hard. I think this will help to bring underground house techno crowd in with the more hip-hop crowd and it’s nice because it’s not a niche market it’s just good music no matter who listens to it.
You can catch the guys headlining at Grasshopper Underground on February 26 with Need & Necessity and SuperDre. Event details here