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What happens when you win a Play remix contest? Cosmo's Midnight, Shreddie Mercury, Electric Mantis, and Singularity share their stories.

By Jason Black
cosmosmidnight

What a difference a year makes. At the end of 2012, 21-year-old fledgling producer Kyle Trewartha (aka Singularity) was studying audio engineering at San Francisco State University. Then, as luck would have it, the Sydney native submitted his entry to Play and subsequently won PeaceTreaty’s “In Time” remix contest in December. His grand-prize-winning spoils included a clutch of top DJ gear and an official release on Steve Aoki’s Dim Mak label. One year on and he’s gigging across the country and recording regularly.

Recently, we caught up with Trewartha and some of our other talented Play winners including Aussie twins Cosmo and Patrick Liney (aka Cosmo’s Midnight), 20, and Jonathan Kane (aka Shreddie Mercury), 24. We wanted to know what they’ve been up to over the past year, what inspired them to enter the contest in the first place, and what advice they’d give other future contestants like you. Where are they now? Let’s find out.

singularity
Name: Kyle Trewartha, 21
Alias: Singularity
Location: Fountain Valley, CA
Labels: Dim Mak, Play Me
Contest Winner:

How did you first hear about the Play contest?

A few of my friends recommended it to me, actually.

What made you want to sign up and enter?

Originally, I just liked the fact that there was a deadline, because I used to just spend months and months on a song.

What would your dream remix project be?

I’d love to remix a Copeland track one day.

What would you say to prospective future contestants?

1. Only use the acapella. Don’t make a “remix” per se. Instead, craft an entirely new song around the acapella that’s a cut above the original.

2. If the sound quality isn’t solid, you won’t win. You could have the greatest ideas and chords, but if it’s not clean, it won’t matter.

3. Think outside the box (as cliché as that sounds). Make something new and different that will catch the judges’ attention.

What are you excited about coming up in the near future?

I have the new Rift EP just out. A bunch of my producer friends have been telling me to start singing on my own tracks, so I decided to give it a shot. I sang on two of the four tracks. It’s by far the most melodic and emotional music I have ever made. Other than that, I’m just gonna be on the road a lot and hopefully meeting cool new people.

cosmosmidnight
Name: Cosmo and Patrick Liney, 20
Alias: Cosmo’s Midnight
Location: TBD
Labels: Yes Please
Contest Winner:

How did you first hear about the Play contest?

I’ve always known about the Play remix contests because I used to look them up on the remixcomps.com aggregator and suss out the offers available. I never really seriously entered until Flume’s one, because it was first song we were both vibing and felt like remixing. As a general rule, we tend not to remix something unless we feel like we can do the original song justice in some way.

What made you want to sign up and enter?

I signed up on this one because we had always wanted to remix Flume but didn’t have the opportunity to get the “Sleepless” stems. I had an original song I was writing for Cosmo’s Midnight, but when I saw the remix comp come online, Cosmo joined in and we adapted it to work with the stems of “Sleepless.”

How has this experience changed your life?

This competition kicked off everything for us. We got featured in an inthemix article on up-and-coming producers, then got picked up by Astral People (our management and all-round awesome guys) shortly after. It’s been pretty surreal so far.

What would your dream remix project be?

No clue right now, sorry. We sorta just know when we really want to remix a song, and sometimes we get the opportunity to actually do it. Like our remix of Snakadaktal’s “Ghosts.” We were going to bootleg it, but they graciously sent us the stems. That was pretty cool.

Got any good on-the-road stories?

Not yet really [laughs] (Fingers crossed for some good stories soon). Meeting and chilling with all the acts and people we look up to at Listen-Out was massive, especially AlunaGeorge—people may know by now that we are pretty big fans of their stuff. Astral People’s Outside-In fest was so large as well, and we met the Snakehips guys and they are just so talented and sick. It’s cool that as outsiders, people tend to put artists up on a pedestal, but in person they are just genuine, like-minded music lovers that are just down to have fun.

What would you say to prospective future contestants?

Work hard—don’t even think about putting a track online unless you’re 100% satisfied with it. Get some opinions from friends or other producers before you do your final submission. And finally, try and only join remix contests for songs you are genuinely interested in. You can hear it in the final finished product.

What’s next?

More tunes, more shows, more Cosmo’s Midnight goodness. I’m not going to reveal more than that. Stay tuned.

Shreddie-Mercury
Name: Jonathan Kane, 24
Alias: Shreddie Mercury
Location: Columbus, MO
Labels: Interscope, Warner Bros., SectionZ, Lessthan3
Contest Winner:

How did you first hear about the Play contest?

I was just randomly browsing contests and stumbled upon it. I love “Spectrum.” I entered on a whim and it worked out. Ha.

What made you want to sign up and enter?

I’m a big fan of Zedd’s work. It’s simply different and it’s everything I love about electronic production. “Spectrum” was a song I wanted to remix before I even found the contest so I jumped at the opportunity and took a shot in the dark.

How has this experience changed your life?

In so many ways. This foot in the door brought a lot of opportunities. Off the bat, I had more remix offers. Legit ones. I caught some recognition from several music managers—some before this happened, some after—and it ultimately led me into an amazing relationship with one of the companies. And I got offered a seven-date tour supporting Infected Mushroom and The M Machine. I started playing at sold-out club shows with them—it blew me away and I got to connect with thousands of new fans. I am supremely grateful for Beatport, Zedd, and Interscope Records.

What would your dream remix project be?

It’s a total tie between M83 and The Bloody Beetroots. The first time I ever heard M83’s “Moonchild,” I was absolutely floored, and even today that song is incredibly beautiful to me. As for The Bloody Beetroots, I remember being so shocked by their first EP, and everything else has been super-inspiring. I would totally fanboy if I had the opportunity to remix either artist.

Got any good on-the-road stories?

A few months back we got lost in the Mexico City airport. Our flight getting there had been delayed and we barely had any time to catch our connection to Puerto Vallarta for Electro Beach. As we frantically ran around the airport, pointing at our boarding passes, doing our best to understand Spanish, we realized our watches hadn’t switched time zones and we actually had another hour to catch the flight. I wish we’d gotten this on video…

What would you say to prospective future contestants?

You have absolutely no reason not to enter. If you really have fun producing, then you’ll have a blast regardless of how you place.

What are you excited about coming up in the near future?

Christmas, the Breaking Bad spin-off, and the return of the McRib. In all seriousness, I’ve got a lot of new material that I can’t wait to share with everyone.

What’s next?

I’m actually going to start producing and performing under my real name from now on—Jonathan Kane. Thanks to the Play contest, my music gained so much recognition so quickly, and I created Shreddie because I never really thought more than five of my friends would listen to it. I’ve been writing more serious music lately, and I feel like the interpretation of my music can get skewed with a moniker as “punny” as mine. All the love in the world to all of the fans who have done nothing but shown me tremendous love and support. It means everything to me!

electric-mantis

Name: Wyatt Pearson, 20

Alias: Electric Mantis

Location: Portland, OR

Labels: Kosmo Records

Contest Winner:

How did you first hear about the Play contest?

I heard about the Play contest through the Beatport website. I was keeping up to date with all of the new competitions and this one seemed interesting.

What made you want to sign up and enter?

I loved Tomcraft’s music back in the day, and the idea that I could make something that he would potentially hear excited me.

How has this experience changed your life?

It made me realize that music could be a viable career option if I put my mind to it. That in turn gave me the confidence to drop everything else and chase my dream.

What would your dream remix project be?

I would love to remix anything from the Aussie Future Classic artists like Wave Racer, Hayden James, or Flume or some of the West Coast Team Supreme producers like Mr. Carmack, Djemba Djemba, or Penthouse Penthouse.

Got any good on-the-road stories?

I recently had someone drive by me in town and they were playing one of my tunes. So insane!

What would you say to prospective Play contestants?

Each artist wants something different. Some want the remixers to get weird and wonky with it. Some want the remixers to stick close to the track and pay it homage. You shouldn’t beat yourself up over a loss because it’s possible it was simply not the avenue the artist wanted. The most important thing is to release a remix that you’re completely satisfied with. That’s really all that matters!

What are you excited about coming up in the near future?

Right now, I’m crazy-excited about 2014. I’m getting invites to perform at venues and festivals all over the world! Also, some of my favorite artists are hitting me up for collaboration opportunities. I’m completely in shock!

What’s next?

Really, it’s a mystery to me. I may just fade into obscurity, but I’m hoping to seize this attention and take things to the next level. Gotta thank Djemba Djemba and the Reddit community for lifting me up and throwing me out into the world! Much love to you all!