Cousin Dan
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Cousin Dan

Atlanta, Georgia, United States | SELF

Atlanta, Georgia, United States | SELF
Band EDM




"6 accessories Cousin Dan won't rock the dance floor without"

You know him and you love him, he is Cousin Dan. This Saturday, March 3, the “scientist of love" goes down to the Basement where he’ll aim his laser-guided melodies deep into the nether regions of the night. “F Bomb” is the brand video he’s premiering, and it's all about a day-in-the-life for Cousin Dan. There's a dice game, a knife fight, motorcycles, a lot of ladies, a lot of dancing, and a laboratory where he brings his sexual Frankenstein to life.

But before the mustached Adonis takes the stage to unleash his Vocoder croon, bathed in a spectacle of lights and smoke, there’s much prep work to be done. Before the weekend gets underway, Cousin Dan breaks down a list of his top 6 stage accessories.

1) Cod piece: The cod pieces have become a Cousin Dan Symbol. There’s a new, second generation cod piece that’s still mirrored, but has a triangle shaft that comes out and clips into a vintage Casio VL keyboard that I play through my guitar pedal, so it floats in front of me — I’ve dubbed it the key-rection.

2) The dance floor: This is number two on the list for obvious reasons. It’s a one-of-a-kind personal dance floor with multi-colored changing lights that are sound-activated and change color with the beats, and smoke comes out of the sides.

3) Leopard-print Spandex pants: They don’t leave a whole lot to the imagination.

4) Hair and mustache combo: It’s more of a priority than an accessory.

5) The laser glove: It’s a glove that shoots lasers out of four of my fingers, and when I point it at my cod piece it creates an explosion of lights that shoot everywhere.

6) The earring and sunglasses combo: The crucifix earring is my nod to George Michael because people say I kind of look like him. … And the sunglasses? Well, anyone who can pull off wearing sunglasses at night is automatically cool. - Creative Loafing (Crib Notes)

"Cousin Dan :: F BOMB"

Ever since unexpectedly seeing him perform last May before a MOVITS! show at the EARL (and being so mind-blown I can't remember anything I saw after) I've had a very hard time explaining to people the now phenomenon known as COUSIN DAN. Was it Electro-Hillbilly-R&B? Southern-SexJam-Synth? Or was he the musical equivalent of KENNY POWERS? My stab at STEREOGUM-styled genre-fusing failed miserably, the EASTBOUND AND DOWN comparison fell flat with ladies, and a later attempt at comparing him to a mythical half-man, half-junglecat creature just made no sense at all. I finally settled on "COUSIN DAN is awesome and will undeniably be famous," and that was apparently good enough to convince people to check him out.

Flash forward almost a year and COUSIN DAN is well on his way: The blogs are buzzing; DALLAS AUSTIN has taken notice; He's being flown around the country for private shows; And a new video that *almost* captures the essence of his live performance dropped this past Saturday. Check out F BOMB below and for-the-love-of-God go see him live in the little venues he plays around ATLANTA while you still can. I fully expect him to be stealing the spotlight on the next KANYE album. - Esperanza

"Cousin Dan Rocks Star Bar"

Last Saturday at Star Bar, Cousin Dan gave a performance worthy of 20 dollars for the unbeatable price of $5. It was a small price to pay to dance along to poppy Auto-Tuned cheesiness that ingeniously tied together skilled musicianship and satirical performance. Could it be that Dan has put out the record Kanye should have thought of when he released his Auto-Tuned miss 808s & Heartbreaks?

Cousin Dan came to the stage and enveloped the room in a cloud of fog and lights. His dance moves were amazingly smooth and the fancy footwork on "Internet Girlfriend" was surprisingly nimble for someone who tends to operate as many as three pieces of electronic equipment per song as he makes a farce of mainstream music's corny themes. It's like making fun of cheesy ’80s hair metal mixed with how we will eventually reminisce on the cheesy Auto-Tuned pop of the 2000s. Somehow, Cousin Dan manages to make his music completely guilt-free. With balloons and glow sticks sailing around the room during "Internet Girlfriend," he projected the ingredients every pop star must have: charisma that oozes out of every pore, a genuine intensity, and cool confidence that makes wearing spandex pants, a silver crotch piece and sunglasses seem absolutely acceptable. As the goodness progressed, everyone from the seen-it-all hipsters to the twentysomething bro-dude and his thirtysomething cougar clamored and climbed over one another to soak in a bit more of the Dan aura. By the time he got to his soon-to-be-classic "I Walked With Jesus," the Star Bar was in a frenzied state of the most comfortably chaotic dance party. Then Cousin Dan began to rip at the seams of what looked like a Bible, but was really a cleverly disguised phone book. As he ended magnanimously with a remixed and 808 beat-laced version of "Free Bird," complete with the ultimate rock god guitar solo, a friend of mine leaned into me and said, "I don't know whether to laugh at him or just shut up and dance. But either way this was awesome!"
- Creative Loafing (Crib Notes)

"Cousin Dan Has An 'F Bomb' In The Works"

Atlanta’s most extravagant synth-pop icon Cousin Dan has a new video in the works courtesy of Studio 8, the same team that brought you the Coathangers’ “Trailer Park Boneyard” and “Hurricane."

While he has a few early homemade videos still floating around the Internet, the fixings of the “F Bomb (Scientist of Love)” video seem more fitting of the Cousin Dan persona of now — a disco codpiece sporting, leopard print wearing ladies man of sorts.

Though I missed the crew working with a projection by Pablo Gnecco (which apparently doubled Dan while he performed), I did catch a few other scenes from the shoot at The Goat Farm on Sun., Nov. 13. The chronology isn't clear, but an overall Weird Science meets Dr. Frankenstein theme clearly drives the plot. - Creative Loafing (Crib Notes)

"The Black Sheep Of Atlanta's Dance Scene"

In every family, there's at least one weirdo. Atlanta's musical lineage has adopted a new one: Cousin Dan.

A transplant from Dallas, Texas, 24-year-old Daniel Scoggins puts on a nutty, dance-demanding live show complete with lasers and fog. Thumping, instantly catchy beats back Scoggins' vocoder-altered vo­cals for an electro-pop feel. But paired with an outfit that looks like an extraction from a hair metal icon's wardrobe and a rambunctious, two-stepping persona, Scoggins doesn't quite fit that genre. He's created his own.

Last April at Laserbeam Kitty, a regular dance-pop event at the High­land Inn Ballroom Lounge, is where Cousin Dan's fancy footwork first de­buted. He'd been toying with mash-up music in the vein of Girl Talk, but had written one original tune. When he performed it and the mostly idle audience was receptive, something clicked.

"When that song came up, I was like, ‘Yes. This is what I need to do. I need to do my own stuff. I want to do stage performance and be awe­some,'" Scoggins said.

Cousin Dan snowballed from there, and now the Atlantan per­forms regularly. But before Laser­beam Kitty, a few unconventional outlets played host to his test drives.

"I'd get on Chat Roulette — it was brand new then — and I'd talk to people and show them the ‘BB Gun' video and watch them laughing and stuff," he said.

In the homemade video, he's not wearing his typical getup. But his er­ratic dance moves and the fact that he's alone in his basement studio in a tank top jamming pretty hard to his own song is enough to elicit a few chuckles.

"That was probably the 20th time I [recorded the video]," he laughed.

He also tested Cousin Dan at Java Lords' open mic night.

"People are mostly playing acoustic guitars and I plug in and get down, and people are dancing right there in the coffee shop," Scoggins re­called. He said the Little Five Points coffeehouse is where he really got his "kick-start."

Scoggins' day-to-day is as charmingly odd as his performances: He helps build sets for museums lo­cated throughout the country.

"It's a big company; there's a welding area and a woodworking area, and I'm in the scenic depart­ment," he said.

Scoggins' latest project is con­structing life-size trees. A graduate of SCAD Atlanta, Scoggins puts his education to use with Cousin Dan, too. He built his own mini-stage. "I got a piece of scrap plexi from where I work…built a box frame, got some lights for it and bada bing, bada boom! I did the little system for the smoke to come out on the side. But woah," he said with eyes wide. "When I built that thing, I was in love. I wanna sleep next to it."

Though Scoggins' performances are a bit campy and certainly giggle-inducing, the music is irresistibly danceable.

"I see it as the art has taken a lit­tle bit of a backseat to the music. But I kind of see it as making a big ball of the two — my building the costumes, I feel like that's art. I've got the per­formance art along with the music. I'm trying to manifest it into one big goo ball," he explained.

Scoggins said his boredom dur­ing lifeless sets by bands prompted the idea for a more entertaining set.

"Unless the music is really awe­some, you're kinda like, ‘Eh, let's go smoke a cigarette outside.' I wanted to do a show where people are like, ‘What? Lasers? F--king dance floors and ripping Bibles in half?" he said. "I wanted something that people want to stick around for and watch and have fun."

The Bibles, by the way, are really phone books. (It's 2011, what other use do phone books have?) Scoggins swore he doesn't pre-rip them. He also offers an electrified, pumped-up version of Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Free Bird" at his show, during which he typically dons a sleeveless denim vest, shiny gold leggings and hand-crafted disco ball briefs.

"I got my laser glove, and I need­ed to bounce the lasers off my junk, so that's what I came up with," he joked.

Scoggins said, in general, his over-the-top act has been well re­ceived.

"If you go balls to the wall and you're having a good time, people will pick up on that energy," he said. "People are out there for fun; they're searching for fun. So you know, give it to ‘em — that's what I say."
- The Signal

"Best of Atlanta- Spandex-Clad Dance Floor Freak"

An outsider performance artist with insider appeal, Cousin Dan rocks ridiculous stage-wear and makes simplistic, addictive music videos for his synth-based electro jams. Underneath the leopard-print spandex and diamond-studded codpiece lurks a master craftsman with irresistible pop hooks for appendages.
- Creative Loafing

"From Metal to Metallic: The Cousin Dan Story"

By day, while lounging in his basement off Boulevard Southeast, Daniel Scoggins may be wearing jorts and a black tee cut into a tank top. But by night, before heading to East Atlanta venues like Star Bar, 529 or the Earl, Scoggins slips on an earring, leopard skin leggings and a mirrored codpiece. This is Scoggins as Cousin Dan, a musical persona that’s emerged over the course of many open mic nights, inside his basement and with The Flaming Lips’ Wayne Coyne as moral support. Purge talked to Scoggins about who inspires him musically, how he creates his own stage props and what to expect from his upcoming debut.

Purge: When did you start recording music?

Daniel: I started this project, I would say last summer. That’s when I started messing around with beats and making songs.

Purge: And when did you first take it to the stage?

Daniel: The first show I ever played was with Laserbeam Kitty. I don’t think they’ve been doing it every month anymore, but it’s an electronica party in the Highland Ballroom that a friend of mine was doing. He asked me if I wanted to do some deejaying and some video and he was like, We should do something together. I was doing more, like, mashup-style beats and I would just play live on my machine and I would add rhythm on a couple of tracks. After that first Laserbeam Kitty show we played April, I wasn’t really doing the stage much. I started doing open mic at R.A.T. Gallery and Java Lords, Blue Frog [Cantina], mainly Java Lords. I was just writing these songs and playing the open mics and from there it was just like, I go to shows, then show leads to show leads to show, and then it just kind of evolved.

Purge: Were you still at SCAD at that point?

Daniel: No, I had just graduated. I was making music while I was at SCAD, but I wasn’t doing anything with it. I was just at my apartment, where I was living at the time, and I had just gotten this hardware and software that would allow me to make the ideas in my head come to life.

Purge: What were you studying at SCAD?

Daniel: I got a BFA in sculpture. So yeah, in sculpture.

Purge: And so you’ve been writing songs for a little bit by then.

Daniel: I’ve been playing music like most people play music when they’re 12 and they get a guitar and stuff. I was in a couple of bands, but I never really played any shows. I played one battle of the bands when I was in high school, and I did another school show with a metal band and instrumental stuff. With Cousin Dan, it’s like the first time I’m like writing songs. I did some hip-hop, I used to do rap, I would make beats. I did some of that in high school, but I never was writing songs or performing songs of my own, just playing guitar in other stuff.

Purge: Who are some of your biggest musical influences?

Daniel: My taste in music really varies. I like stuff like reggae and New Wave. I like metal. I like jazz and blues and ’70s, ’60s rock. I’m all over the place taste-wise, and I think I’ve taken it all in and then started to put out what I feel inside with this. There’s a big ’80s influence in my music and lot of New Wave influence – but specific bands, I mean, it’s hard to say. I mean, I love Prince and Bowie and Led Zeppelin and a lot of different stuff, but my stuff sounds kind of like, in this day and age, more like Chromeo; I get compared to Chromeo a lot. But yeah, the influences are all over the place.

Purge: Do you remember what you were listening to right when you were starting to write songs?

Daniel: Mostly my record collection. I don’t buy as many records as I used to; once you get to a certain point it’s like, I don’t have room for any more. I was probably listening to a lot of Bowie and a lot of Lou Reed and, I can’t even say for sure, but even indie stuff like Passion Pit, Discovery – stuff like that too.

Purge: At this point, do you feel like Cousin Dan is still a bedroom project or more like a communal experience?

Daniel: It’s definitely not a bedroom project anymore. Although I do everything at my house, I’m pretty serious about the act and making music. It’s really what I want to do with my life, and feel like I can do it. I’m trying to take it to the next level with my stage show, and I feel like I found my sound to an extent, but I feel like that’s always evolving. I’m still listening to the songs I first wrote, and the structure and the songwriting – it’s like man, I don’t really like those songs anymore. You just learn. You get better at songwriting the more you do it. But no, I’m definitely trying to get out there and do the thing for real.

Purge: You’ve already once been called “the black sheep of the Atlanta dance scene.” Do you agree with that assessment?

Daniel: I’m not really sure what that pins me as, know what I mean? What do you think? What does that say to you?

Purge: Well, to be honest, I don’t really have an impression of the Atlanta dance scene. I wasn’t entirely sure if there was one or not. [laughs] What’s been your perception of it so far?

Daniel: The Atlanta dance scene is not popping. There are some good electronica and dance bands around, but as for the scene, I don’t really know of it. You have a lot of deejays in the electronic dance scene in Atlanta, electronic dance bands are definitely here, but it can be far and few between. Like how the Black Lips sound – there’s a bunch of bands doing that rock and roll, garage rock, ’50s kind of stuff. But I feel that the electronic scene is still kind of young here. Nobody big here has come out of Atlanta from the dance and electronica scene or pop dance music that I can think of. Of course we got the hip-hop and the rap, and then we got some more rock and indie kind of stuff, a lot of indie folk too. But I feel like the genre that I’m in – I kinda wanna be the band that’s breaking out of Atlanta that’s electronica, dance-y. Black sheep-wise – I don’t think that’s a bad connotation for me. I wasn’t too sure but it sounded cool. “The black sheep of the Atlanta dance scene.” I’ll take that.

Purge: I find the disco aesthetic to be kind of polarizing – like, if I tell someone that my favorite group of all time is the Bee Gees, I usually get really quizzical looks. Since you perform with a codpiece, tell me what is it about the disco aesthetic or even the dance aesthetic that really appeals to you.

Daniel: You know, I wasn’t even necessarily thinking about disco. With the codpiece I was thinking more funk-meets-metal, because a lot of metal bands wear costumes or have different kind of leather and straps – kind of like KISS, even though I’m not a big KISS fan or anything. The funk group Cameo, there’s one video in particular where this guy wore a red codpiece. I was just taking from stuff that I think is cool and trying to make it my own. The codpiece being mirrored like a disco ball was really to complement my laser glove. (It’s been out of commission for a little while but I’m getting it fixed.) It shoots lasers off my fingers. And so I got this laser glove, and then I started making codpieces – but the reason I mirrored it was because I could shoot the lasers off of the codpiece and back into the crowd. Mirrors are just so clean and shiny, and I think it goes hand-in-hand with the kind of dance music that I’m playing.

Purge: How did you go from, I’m going to get/make a laser glove to alright, I need something to bounce the laser off of?

Daniel: My birthday was coming up, and I was on the Internet looking around at lasers, before I had a lot of lasers in my show. I saw this laser glove, and I was like, “Whoa, this is just awesome. I want to shoot lasers off my fingers.” I got that, and then I was like, “Boom. Mirrored codpiece, lasers – like they’re not gonna know what hit them.” One thing kind of leads to another. I got this 3 feet-by-3 feet dance floor that I built; I hooked the lights into the Plexiglass and made tubes to have smoke come out the sides of it, and that was a major thing. Then the next thing I got was a laser show. I got this laser and two other lasers coming out the sides, and actually this [motions to his left] is the newest edition of the new codpiece, with a keyboard that hooks onto it. My friend does art with mannequins, and she had this bottom half. I bought if off of her and then put the tights on it … I have not played any shows in it. I have one song that I’m writing, that’s new and this thing goes with. so this is going to be sitting side stage until I’m ready for it. So I’m always trying to blow some minds. That’s the goal, to give people a real show. I think people really appreciate it because you don’t see it as much. I wanted to do something that nobody else is doing – like, you’re going to tell one of your friends that you saw a dude just rip open a Bible in half and shoot lasers off of his dick. [laughs]

Purge: You haven’t been a live performer for that long. Were you nervous initially?

Daniel: When I first started playing,I never really got nervous because I had the kind of attitude that’s like, haters gonna hate, and I’m just going to go for it. I put my hands in front of myself to see if they’re shaking and usually I’m like, “Alright, we’re solid. Let’s do this thing.” I do get nervous, but I just try to harness that energy and put it into the show. as opposed to feeling weird that I’m wearing leopard spandex and wearing a codpiece and trying new new things like earrings and sunglasses and lasers. I think if you have that attitude people will kind of pick up on it. I seem to be good with winning people over that weren’t sure in the beginning because they come and tell me afterward, “I thought you were an idiot when you first came out but you’re fucking great.”

Purge: When is your debut album coming out?

Daniel: The debut album is coming out soon. I got the photos, I got the album art for it, I got a handful of songs recorded. This new song I’m just writing isn’t recorded with a vocal because I haven’t finished it fully yet, but I would like to finish it in the next one or two months. I got my merch together, my t-shirts – I’ve got some ideas for some panties that I wanna sell. Hear me out here: it’s gonna be gray or silver panties with a vector line drawing of the codpiece, so the panties look like the codpiece but they’re just printed onto the panties. My female fan base is pretty good [laughs] so I don’t know, I think I could do well with those. Basically I’m going to hit the road and tour and see what happens. I’ve never had to try and book a show with a band; it’s like, “Oh, I’ve seen you play here, can you come play this?” Or my friend was like, “Here, do you want this show or that?” When I go out of town, people who have never heard of me see me get down and really enjoy it. So I think I’m just going to go for it and hit the road and tour and try to sell my album and t-shirts and just get down and spread the word.

Purge: Where are you looking to tour?

Daniel: All over, really. I’ve done pretty well in the Southeast. I’ve played Atlanta, Savannah, Augusta, Columbia, Charleston; I’ve just played in Tallahassee. I’m going up to Asheville next weekend. Some guy was trying to get me down in Dustin, another dude was trying to get me down in Pan Alto, but I’d love to tour all the way to New York and back. I’d love to tour to California, go out on the West Coast, L.A. and check it out , play some shows there. But I at least want to get to Texas or play New Orleans, Austin or Dallas since I’m from Dallas. Most of my friends have never seen a show, and I’ve got a lot of friends in Dallas and Austin, so I’d love to make it out to there. But I’m starting slow, maybe go a week or two weeks and see how it goes, see if I come up with money and go from there.

Purge: And how would you describe what people could expect from the album?

Daniel: I would describe my sound as, of course, electronic dance music, kind of New Wave with an ’80s influence – but I like to say 2080s. I like my music to be very emotional in ways. I get really intense on stage, and I like making beats that people can move to – make people want to come out and party and dance. I really want to make the music that I wanna listen to.


Cousin Dan single: "Already Home"
Cousin Dan single: "Internet Girlfriend"
Cousin Dan- EP



Cousin Dan is a man of passion. His music is about feeling good and evoking your strange inner emotions. His sound comes from a wide range of taste and understanding of musical genres. "It's like a mix of new wave electronic and pop, with an 80's influence....2080's." And with the live show you know he's got another thing coming. He addresses the stage in full regalia including a mirrored codpeice, leopard spandex, A laser glove, and a cut off jean vest with mirrored shoulder padz. He also stands upon his personal dance floor that lights up from underneath and has smoke shooting out from its sides. Music is what he wants to do with his life. So thats what he's gonna do.