Alekos “Kosie” Syropoulos is a multi-instrumentalist producer based in Los Angeles. His latest collaboration with Sugi Dakks, TJ Wilkins, CARRTOONS gave life to POWERS, a socially conscious song with an upbeat vibe and warm, distinct vocal deliveries.
Read our interview with Kosie below!
Describe your sound in three words please!
Funky. Colorful. Lush.
How would you describe the reality in this year’s America? Has the reality of young black men and women changed since last year (you can answer this as an observer if you don’t have a personal, lived experience)?
The reality is that black Americans are still a target for police and will remain a target for the police year after year until the system is reformed or better yet, uprooted and re-structured. Every year, injustices shown on phones/social media/news outlets are merely a glimpse of what has already been happening to our black brothers and sisters since the founding of this country. It’s our job as citizens to prioritize racial equality in such a tumultuous, post-Trump-era.
As a white American who’s been heavily influenced by black artists and culture, I feel that it’s necessary to empower black voices in my community. This really is what POWERS was designed to be. It’s a way to give Sugi and TJ a creative outlet.
Where do you usually draw your inspirations from?
I’d say the most direct day-to-day inspiration stems from the work and art of my peers and mentors. I’m so fortunate to be engulfed in a huge community of seasoned artists, producers, and songwriters in Los Angeles. In conjunction with the never-ending list of killers that push me every day, the great outdoors have a massive impact on me. Hiking & backpacking trips always give me time and space to clear my head from all the distractions. I’m usually able to come back refreshed and inspired to make some tunes!
How is Future Funk today and are there differences between the way it is made across the continents (eg. EU, USA, Asia)?
Future Funk has reached some amazing levels in terms of production and sound quality. However, I will say that the more I’ve been making music recently, I’ve been increasingly drawn to the way records used to be made. Almost all the tones I’m hearing nowadays are trying to capture some vintage-like quality presented through analogue gear back in the day. This trend seems to always come full circle when many producers catch onto a similar sound or production choice.
As far as a comparison between EU, ASIA, and USA, the main difference I notice is tempo choice, how and which way tunes are swung, and how much the melodies are influenced by the jazz language. In regards to funk historically, the USA is the birthplace so I’m a little biased towards the OG’s in this field: James Brown, Parliament, etc.
Having said that, times have been changing. Every student of the music comes from a different school and culture that dictates their sound. Within the era of YouTube and Instagram, the floor is open for anybody, anywhere in the world! If your music feels good, then it will translate no doubt.
What do you enjoy more about collaborations? Do you have an artist you’d like to work with in the future?
Collaborations are the sh*t. They allow artist-producers like myself to make music that doesn’t make me the focal point. I love setting the scene for a singer or emcee to do their thing within my soundscape. Before I started making music this way, I was releasing music solely lead by horns in live jazz or funk band formations. I still love it! The producer position has just been a fun and exciting changeup for me in the last 5 years or so.
Artists and producers that I’ve love to collaborate with are Lucky Daye, H.E.R., SIR, Tom Misch, Robert Glasper, MXXWLL, Kiefer, Sampha, D. Mile, Devin Morrison, Oliver, and Kaytranada.
What do you prefer the most? Performing live or writing music? Do you have a memorable story to share with us from your live gigs?
This is a really hard one to answer haha! Depending on the music and the musicians I’m playing with, performing live is a spiritual experience and many times, an adrenaline rush. I feel the most alive playing for a small club or even a big theatre when musicians get the freedom to solo and improvise. At this point in time as the pandemic is nearing its end, playing live feels like what we’ve been all yearning for: human interaction and connection.
On the day to day though, I absolutely love to write and produce. The process is fulfilling on a bigger scale in terms of feeling accomplished with a body of work. I love writing and recording with my peers and that magic in the studio can never be replaced! So to answer your question, I don’t know! It all depends on the album or show in front of you.
The most memorable moment to date was in 2018. It was a Family Company tribute show to the great Bill Withers at the Peppermint Club in Los Angeles. What made this night special was merely seeing the GOAT, Bill Withers, sitting in the booth stage left. Near the end of the show, he came up to the stage in his fresh, tan suit, and gave a heartwarming speech. He said something along the lines of how touched he was that the younger generation is still spinning and playing his records…and that this show just gave him another 5 years of life.
Man, he was cryin’ up there! In fact, the entire venue was in tears. It was really such a touching moment to see Bill give his thanks and gratitude to the band and the audience for their love. To top it off, he played guitar on Lean on Me at the end as all the singers sang along at the outro of the show. I’ll never forget this night.
Besides POWERS, you were also part of Anderson .Paak’s album Ventura, in his song King James. What other plans do you have for the near future?
I’m actually going to release another single in the near future with my friends Harry Mack and Whitney Myer. Harry is a genius, world-class freestyle rapper and Whitney is an unbelievably talented singer and songwriter. We have a really cool, uplifting song coming out with an animation this summer.
I’m also working on an instrumental album of my own, a few records with some other singers, and I hope to play gigs soon with the Fearless Flyers! We recorded a record in early 2020 and have yet to play any shows due to the pandemic. The shows should be ridiculous!!
Tell us something about you not many people know about!
I love to play ping pong. I will take on any challengers who dare set foot in the arena.
Follow our Spotify playlist “Dark Chocolate” feat. Kosie