Computers are pretty good, right? If you can’t even begin to imagine life without them, the answer’s probably yes, generally speaking. But if you’ve ever asked Siri for the weather forecast and been greeted with “dialling: your ex“, you’ll know we’re not quite ready to welcome our new robot overlords just yet – some things still need that human touch. London producer Couros is all about bringing that humanity to electronic music: eschewing the inch perfect, almost clinical feel it can be prone to, his music is organic, deeply felt and refreshing. “I don’t want to be poring over graphs and treating music like a mathematical equation – I want everything to sound human“.
Currently based in London, Couros found himself drawn to electronic music after finishing college and moving to the capital. “I was a guitarist when I was younger, and for a few years that’s what I really wanted to do. It was mainly guitar music I was listening to then, too – stuff like Fleetwood Mac, Stevie Ray Vaughan“. It was Jamie Lidell that really turned him on to electronic music for the first time. “He was the perfect crossover experience for me, the way he was mixing soul singing with synths and that kind of production… I fell in love with it, and started to move away from ‘guitar music’ after that“.
After a period spent honing skills and uploading to Soundcloud, it was PMR Records that gave Couros his break. “I was really into Jamie Woon, and he was signed to PMR, so my manager suggested I send them some music I was working on, hoping they’d be keen for me to do some remixes of Jamie’s stuff.” As it happened, the label got in touch saying they wanted to release the music, which culminated in an EP, Jupiter, landing in mid-November on sister label PMR Beat Club.
Jupiter crosses electronic music with soul in a way that sounds as poised and considered as it does warmly human. “I find the music that’s really stuck with me over the years is music that can be played live by musicians – it can still be electronic, obviously, but I’ve never really moved on from stuff you can play on an instrument. I wanted to take that idea further, so not just the instruments, but the mix, the production – everything has that slightly imperfect, human feel“.
Yet to make his live debut, Couros has big plans in that area. “I’m a huge fan of live music, I’ve been going to gigs as long as I can remember… the challenge for me is how I can translate something that’s just me in the studio into something that really connects in a live setting. I’ll be playing my favourite parts of each track, but maybe I’ll introduce a few other musicians too. For me it’s all about the visual concept of playing live – I think it’s just as much about what musicians are playing what instruments as it is about the whole experience… what are you getting from the live show that you don’t get from just listening to the record?“
Unsurprisingly, he’s really into the art and visual side of making music too. The EP art is his work – “I’m not a Photoshop expert by any means, but I’m lucky to have friends I can pass stuff on to for them to tweak“. Perhaps even more unsurprising is his dream collaboration: “it has to be Damon Albarn – he’s my absolute favourite artist, but especially with Gorillaz, the whole concept behind that and how they presented it live is just fascinating to me“.
So what’s next? “We’re looking at some live shows in the new year, hopefully around February time. I think the next bunch of music will take the form of an EP, but it might not!” EP or otherwise, don’t sleep on this one.
Volume #16 is out now.
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Words by Matt Moody