Welcome to COSIGN, where I’ll present a group of fresh and invigorating talent that does more than just add to the conversation of who’s next, they advance it! There’s something intangible they possess. It’s more than just hustle. This collective group simmer on the edge of fame and notoriety not only because of their skill and ambition, but because they did more than just wish on a star.
In an era where everyone makes beats and everyone is trying to “change the game” (as the young folks say) it’s quite refreshing to meet a production duo who actually makes music simply for the love of it. Not to get signed, or to bag beaucoup hoes, but just out of love and appreciation. Crazy right? Like, who does that? Well, these two!
Say wassup to Allan “Algorythm” Cole and Darien (Flwrpt) Birks, better known as The Stuyvesants. The bonafide music nerds began their friendship in the 7th grade, which was around the time their parents put them hip to Parliament Funkadelics, Al Jarreau and other greats. Since then, both Maryland natives, went diggin’ in their parents prized record collections, and actually read the liner notes of CDs.(Pause for reaction) These two are seasoned analog boys living in a digital world creating soulful music laced with authenticity and cut with plush samples so above caliber even the young Jaden Smith had to J-down. Read about the unusual place they draw their musical inspiration from, how they became “The Stuyvesants” and why getting a deal isn’t the ultimate goal.
So guys, tell me about your earliest musical memories.
Darien: The first thing that pops in my head I would say is Parliament Funkadelic. My father was a hippie-stoner and that was the music he would listen to. He played football too, so that would get him fired up for games. Just around the house and on the weekends, he would play his Parliament Funkadelic records. So, like, I’m a kid and I literally know the words to all of their songs. It’s like super weird, I was 7 or 8 years old trying to put people onto Parliament.
Allan: I remember I was a kid, probably 10 or 12 years old, maybe even younger. I was in my parents car and we were driving back from my grandparents house and they had the radio on and were playing this mix that had a bunch of music that at the time, I didn’t know what it was, but it just caught my ear. That memory stuck with me. Then later on maybe towards 2000, 2001, I was going back in my parents record collection and stumbled onto Gang Starr and it turned out that, that was the song! Now this had to be 1992 or 1993 or something when I first heard it. I remembered exactly where I was and everything.
How did you guys come up with the name “The Stuyvesants”?
Darien: We both recently got out of relationships. He broke up with his girlfriend a month before I broke up with my girl.
Darien: [LAUGHS] I know right. Me, him and my other friend would chill at my apartment and listen to records. We wanted to figure out how we could bring our love for design and music to music. We we’re already old souls, everyone is in the club and we’re here listening to Willie Hutch. So I said, lets create a fake group from the 70s. We came up with a list of 100 names and they were good, but they weren’t that good. Most of the groups in the 60s and 70s were called “The Temptations” ”The Persuasions” and we were like alright we’ll be the something. So then we said let’s be ”The Bedfords” and then we said no, let’s be the “Bedford-Stuyvesants.” No let’s be “The Stuyvesants” We made 70 tracks on that first record. We sampled folk music, Theater 45, stuff that really had never been heard before. We wanted to test the limits because we didn’t have anything to compare it to. Next thing, people started to like it and it blew up, so sh*t, we had to keep the name. [LAUGHS]
Where do you two get your musical inspiration from?
Allan: If you go back and watch old episodes of “Moesha”, “Martin” or “Fresh Prince” the background music, in between different scenes, going back and forth, not the theme music but the background stuff, especially “Moesha” that show always had really good background music. I don’t know who the producers are, or where it’s coming from, but the music just has a certain quality to it.
Darien: We’ve been inspired by background music in the show “Mr. Bean” from the early 90s. “The Cosby Show” background music. Infomercials! If you listen to Infomercials they play really good chords.
What’s your music process like?
Allan: We’re working on a new record now. When we first started working on it, it’s always difficult. It’s weird because we allow it to become what it needs to become. In those beginning stages, we might be doing a little bit of everything where we’re watching T.V or reading a book an idea will spark up from that. As we get towards the end, we start to get a sound of what we’re going for and so depends on where that sound comes from. I compare it to sculpture. You have this big huge rock and you start chipping away at it and eventually it turns into the sculpture that’s there, almost like you’re revealing it. It’s kind of haphazard how we get there.
So what’s the ultimate goal for the music? I thought the record deal was the ultimate goal for all musicians? Is that not the case?
Darien: Yeah. You’re right. It is a labor of love, a passion project for us, pretty much. Right now, our goal is just to get our music out there.
Allan: For us right now, it’s just about getting more people to hear it. Right now, we give all this music out for free and it’s all just about having that effect on people, that’s the most exhilarating part of it for us. We both have full time jobs, we’re both designers, so it’s not dire that we make a ton of money from it, we’re not opposed to it either. The goal is to make sure that people who are looking for this music is finding it and getting it.