Cousin Dan on a rooftop in downtown ATL!
Cousin Dan @ Downtown Atlanta
Heaven Help Me
Livin' It Up
When the indieATL crew discovered One Park Place’s rooftop in downtown Atlanta, everyone was thinking the same thing: Spaces shoot. With a backdrop of the Equitable, Georgia Pacific, and Suntrust buildings, it was too good to pass up. We kicked band names around, but ultimately we knew there was only one man who could own this stage: Cousin Dan.
BY DAKIN ANDONE
Cousin Dan is one of Atlanta’s most belovedly flamboyant musicians. His music blends infectious synth pop, electronica, and a ridiculous persona to get a room dancing faster than you can pop a balloon on your disco-ball codpiece. From the light-up stage, to the leopard print leggings, to the sleeveless denim jackets and flat bill hats, Dan defines the party before he even gets on stage.
However, underneath the façade of Atlanta’s codpiece-wearing, synthpop-producing, gunshot-surviving party boy, is 27-year-old Daniel Scoggins. In this interivew, I wanted to delve into the Dan behind the Cousin.
indieATL: When you started playing under the pseudonym Cousin Dan, did you see him becoming the personality that he is now? Was the character planned or did he just manifest on his own?
Daniel Scoggins: When I started playing music as Cousin Dan I didn’t have much of a plan as to what it would become. I did know that I wanted my show to be exciting, visually stimulating, and fun to watch. As I progressed and started playing more and more shows the character began to really manifest itself. I’d come up with ideas that I thought would look cool on stage and then try them out. If they worked I kept them and if they didn’t I learned from it and moved on.
indieATL: Is that character anything like yourself? What is it about Cousin Dan that you like?
DS: I would say that the Cousin Dan character is an exaggeration of certain aspects of my personality and humor, but in real life I am a pretty low key, chill ass dude. I like that it gives me the freedom/platform to express myself, it’s kind of therapeutic for me and I really enjoy performing.
indieATL: I think a lot of people can appreciate the fact that you do what you do entirely on your own. What is it about being a solo artist that you enjoy?
DS: I started playing by myself because at the time I wasn’t really plugged into the music scene and didn’t know anyone to collaborate with so I just decided to go for it. Being a solo performer has some great benefits but there are also some drawbacks. For starters, I make my living from playing shows (which has been awesome!) and that wouldn’t be possible if I had to pay out other band members. But on the other hand, it can be tough to be the only creative force behind every aspect of the project. Though I have gotten some recognition for doing everything on my own, it really came out of necessity. Plus, I just like to bask in my own glory! Oh, but I do have plans to implement a full band for my album release show “Ivory Sensations” which is currently under way.
indieATL: How do you think you’ve grown as a songwriter and a musician?
DS: Now that I have been doing this for a few years, I have learned a lot of lessons. Cousin Dan was my first real attempt at writing songs and singing in front of people, so early on I was just trying to have fun and my songs were very tongue in cheek. As things have progressed and I’ve gotten older, I have more of a desire to write “good” music with meaningful lyrics. I’m looking for something real within myself, and that has been quite a journey. My live show is still very much tongue in cheek, but I am trying to dance on that fine line of being a novelty act vs. the real deal. I want to be the real deal and I think that’s a big driving force behind the future of Cousin Dan.
Cousin Dan will be playing at Variety Playhouse this Friday, October 11th, for the Redbull Sound Select with Reptar, Little Tybee, and Mood Rings.