Jordan Corso is Cotillon. He makes music that soothes the soul—it can be slow and tragic, or catchy and empowering.
Originally from Southern California, he’s now based in NYC. However, being a born-and-raised west coaster, he isn’t quite built for the East Coast winters, so he’s currently residing in sunny L.A.. Feeling obligated, he has experienced at least one New York winter, but, as a New Yorker myself, I commend him—smart move Cotillon, smart move.
Since the snow has started coming in and out of the city this year, Cotillon has teased us with a single from his upcoming album “The Afternoons,” which is expected to be out this spring. The track is entitled “Black Sea” and it transports any listener to a place where time moves slower and the heart beats faster.
Corso tells BTRtoday that this album was written when he first moved to NYC. He moved to “the city that never sleeps” with no agenda, just a heart full of love for a girl and music swishing around his brain. “I was moving to New York, and didn’t really have a plan as far as surviving,” he admits. “So I just turned to making a record.”
Soon after moving to NYC he bumped into a friend who worked for the label Mexican Summer. The label at the time had a studio in Greenpoint that wasn’t being used. Corso’s friend asked if it was okay for them to use, and a few months later they had a record. “The next thing I knew, I was in NYC three months with a finished record, and then I found a job and just kept going with it,” he describes.
“There were some sleepless nights for sure.”
His first full-length album, the self-title record released in 2015, was not only written in a different environment, but also a very different headspace.
The self-titled EP was written while he was living in San Francisco. Corso confesses that it was after a break up, and he wasn’t feeling very confident. He got together with friend, JR White, who formerly played in the band Girls, and he produced the album. “He’s a very strong, opinionated dude, and I trusted a lot in him,” he admits. “So in a lot of ways he was like a co-collaborator.”
“The Afternoons” was written almost entirely by Corso. He describe the lyrics as coming from a place that was still more San Francisco, but the music being very NYC. I agree—if you listen to “Black Sea” and have ever spent an extended period of time in this city, especially during the wintertime, you can hear in the music the type of feeling only New Yorkers get. It’s this mixture of feelings that includes melancholy and nostalgia, along with pride and excitement.
“It was exciting; I got there in the summertime and was wondering around the city and taking it in as my own,” Corso explains about the writing inspirations that went into the album. “I was kind of in fantasyland a little bit, so the record is kind of dreamy and unrealistic in some ways—I had a lot of down time where you just kind of battle yourself to stay alive and stay inspired.”
He also adds that initially he had written a song entitled “The Afternoons,” that was about these random wonderings-about the city that brought pensive thoughts and ideals. “It [the song] probably had the most work put into it lyrically, that turned out, in my own opinion, pretty pretentious or over-thought, so I didn’t even put it on the record,” he explains.
Corso grew up surrounded by all types of music. His father was in a surf rock band, his brothers influenced him to playing guitar, and his sister would play for him the contemporary music of 1999/2000 on their drive to school. The first song he learned on guitar was “House of the Rising Sun” by The Animals.
Though he grew up listening to a lot of surf rock, like Dick Dale, The Beach Boys, The Ventures, etc., he has no desire to be a full-blown surf rocker like his father. He admits that he likes to detect instances in music where surf rock influences are evident, but new bands that play solely surf rock are too nostalgic for him. “Also, being from Southern California, it was a little too easy to do,” he adds.
Cotillon isn’t the only project that Corso has worked on before, nor will it be the last. Though he is concentrating most of his musical efforts on this project, he also has been dabbling in another project that he explains is kind of “electronic tropical”—he intends to call it “Oystar.”
He will be touring soon, catching SXSW, places around the West Coast, and even hitting up the eastern hemisphere! However, the future of Cotillion is not down in the books yet. He tells BTRtoday that he’s waiting on how the public responds to this new album, before he starts working on anything else.
“With music, every opportunity is a blessing, so you just have to do it,” he says.
Currently, he is working with several amazing bands that I also encourage everyone to check out! Go listen to Navy Gangs, The Mystery Lights, The Molochs, and Calvin Love. And go listen to this week’s the Music Meetup to hear the full interview with Corso, and to listen to “Black Sea” and his entire first full-length album!