Last October, DIY music and art collective Cosmic Soul Collective were crowned the winners of Nitelife’s #NITELIFENITEOUT competition in association with Reon Energy – a Bristol-wide hunt to find an independent local promoter offering something unique to our already- excellent nightlife scene.
Together with an expert panel of judges from some of Bristol’s most established promoters including MJR, The Blast and Crosstown Concerts, Nitelife named Cosmic Soul Collective the prize winners and handed over £1000 to help make their idea a reality.
Sticking true to their motto, “organic, experimental, expression”, Cosmic Soul Collective are putting together an event that truly combines live music and art, with a week-long art exhibition at Two’s Company Studios kicking off with a launch party on 24 February from 3pm – 7pm, followed by a night of live music down the road at Exchange from 8pm – 2am.
With a lineup that includes funky, trip hop-infused dub project Ash Walker Experience; Urbnet-signed, multi-genre experimental producer AUXX; soulful R&B producer-vocal talent Charli Brix, singer songwriters Indira May and Aaliyah Esprit (who has been recruited to Gilles Peterson’s Future Bubblers scheme), and Cosmic Soul DJs, this will no doubt be the benchmark night that helps put the brilliant creative collective firmly on the Bristol map.
Nitelife sat down with CSC founder Neil Corcoran to learn about the driving force behind the collective and find out how they’ve put their prize winnings towards their biggest event to date.
‘I originally came up with the idea of Cosmic Soul Collective. It was always in the back of my mind as something I wanted to do. I had this idea of doing something creative with close friends, so when I moved to Bristol where all of my friends live, it all just fell into place.’
Cosmic Soul Collective share a mutual passion for all things creative, whether it be art, music or design. Consisting of founder Neil, and producers Akira, Jevon Ives, Mendaya, Cruz and Athereal, DJ duo 2Honeys, singer songwriter Aaliyah Esprit and artist coordinators Lola Ives and Jade Thomson, this group have a lot to offer when it comes to curating alternative nights. ‘We are a group of friends who enjoy going out and having fun, so we wanted to create our own series of events by merging the two worlds of art and music.
We want to encourage people to get out there and be creative
‘As a collective, we all have our own passions, so we wanted to create a night with a big mash up of genres. We’re a group of DJs, producers and artists, so it’s all about coming together and making it happen.’
Formed in 2016, Cosmic Soul Collective have been quietly making a name for themselves on the Bristol circuit through a series of podcasts, live shows and DJ sets, small scale events, and a handful self-published releases from CSC members including field-recording experimentalist Mendaya and D-Los – Neil’s unrestrictive rap alias.
‘We’ve put on events at Surrey Vaults and The Volunteer Tavern, but nothing in comparison to the event coming up. We have been able to expand for our next event with the help of our Nitelife competition winnings.
‘The theme for the art exhibition is “Movement, Spirit, Growth”. Lola came up with the idea and sent it out to seven talented artists, who will be featuring in the exhibition.
‘On the music side of things, we’ve got the amazing Ash Walker Experience, who fuse together funk, trip hop and a bit of dub as well. We also have singer songwriters Indira May and Aaliyah Esprit, Charli Brix, Auxx, and the Cosmic Soul Collective DJs.
‘It’s going to be an eclectic night with lots of surprises. We wanted to create a night where you don’t know what’s next. We don’t want to give too much away though, so people can come and experience it for themselves.’
As the double-pronged event fast approaches, Neil told us how winning the Nitelife cash prize has helped the collective reach their creative goals.
‘I saw the Nitelife competition and immediately filled out an application. I described the events we had started putting on, but explained how it was still early days with what we were trying to create.
‘Winning the prize money has really helped us find our feet as a collective and get the ball rolling with what we want to achieve. I couldn’t believe it when we found out we had won – I am still getting over the shock now!
‘Some of the judges said that the reason we won was because of our aim to get loads of people together to collaborate across art, music and all different elements of creativity. We want to encourage people to get out there and be creative.
‘We mainly used the prize money to book out the venues and musicians, but we have also used some of it on stuff you will see on the night – but we’re keeping that under our hats for now!’
It’s going to be an eclectic night with lots of surprises. We wanted to create a night where you don’t know what’s next
Aside from the growing momentum behind their experimental events, Cosmic Soul Collective has their fingers in a few other pies, helping them to expand their creative empire. Current projects include a monthly show on Ujima Radio from 10pm till midnight on the second Wednesday of every month, plus their budding record label.
‘We’ve done four releases so far and we’re currently working on more stuff at the moment, so keep your eyes and ears peeled for what’s next to come from Cosmic Soul Collective.’
Entry to the art exhibition at Two’s Company Studios is free and those who make it down will receive 10% discount to the live music event at Exchange afterwards.
Words by Abi Lewis // Photos by Dominika Scheibinger