Our US@UO series is a behind-the-scenes look at UO culture. Whether we're following the stages of a new store build-out, profiling a cool UO employee, or sharing a roundup of recaps from local events, US@UO takes a look at the real people and real stories happening inside Urban Outfitters.
Performing under the name Copout, UO Display Artist Brian Goodhart creates icy, synth laden beats that walk the line between tension and release. We caught up with Brian in his Brooklyn studio to take a look at his musical process and see how it all comes together.
Photos by Tavish Timothy
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your background?
My name is Brian and I’m currently living in NYC but like to say I’m from Philly even though I technically grew up in a small town not worth mentioning.
When did you first start making music? At what point did you start creating music under the name Copout?
I can't remember a time in my life that I wasn't involved with music in some way. I started producing as Copout in 2011 and soon after met Cameron Traxxx who was producing as Krueger then. I wasn’t so familiar with producing at the time but we worked together on a collaborative project called KNC and that's really where I learned a lot.
Did you start DJing or producing first?
I was DJing parties first. That’s how the name Copout came about. I needed a name for a warehouse party i was playing and i was like…eh I would rather not have a name and my friend said “thats a copout”.
Can you trace your musical DNA back to the start for us? What kind of music did you first enjoy listening to? How has that changed up to now?
I guess the very beginning started with studying classical cello which I played for 14 years. I also played guitar in bands. The huge shift in my music taste happened once I moved to Philly and would drive around listening to Cosmic Kev and Dj Diamond Kutz on Power99. At the time they were playing a lot of B-more and Philly club. Then I found the warehouse. Thats when I really became hooked. It felt like anything and everything was possible.
Can you walk us through the process of creating a new track in the studio. Do you general start with a rhythm? A synth patch? A melody?
It really depends what I’m feeling at the moment. I don’t set off with a particular track in mind. Things sort of start more organically with just messing around. Sometimes I start with percussion other times with a melody.
How do you prepare for a DJ gig? How would you describe your style as a DJ?
I tend to just pull a bunch of tracks together that I’m really into at the moment. I don’t set a rigid order and my sets are always focused on bring something new that people might be surprised to hear or haven't ever heard before and it really depends on the vibe of the floor. Recently I've been playing a lot of Gqom but stylistically, really anything goes.
Is there a philosophy or guiding principle that runs through your music?
The guiding principle is to keep it true to myself, my story, and my influences. I have always been attracted to dark moody music. I can’t relate to overtly optimistic tracks. I also feel it's important for music to be conscious of and reflect the time its made in and to reflect the social political climate and issues.
What’s in your current musical rotation? What have you been listen to a lot lately?
Right now its more all over the place than ever. Club music is in an amazing place right now. Genre barriers barely even exist. At any time I'll be rotating though Gqom, Kuduro, Dembow, rap, ambient, grime, minimalist composers, noise, and probably friends smashing all these things together.
How long have you worked for Urban Outfitters? What do you do there?
I've worked for Urban for 4 years now as a display artist.
What’s your favorite thing about the job?
Definitely the people I work with & getting to travel helping with special projects and new store openings. Its nice having a network of friends from all over and knowing that where ever you end up together you are bound to have a great time and work on some amazing projects.
What are you working on next?
Working on a bit of everything at the moment. Producing some tracks with some vocalists Khallee and MPeach, a collaborative EP with Lao (from NAAFI) that will be out soon, and a sound piece with my friend and artist John Roebas that will be shown in Berlin next month. Also trying to wrap up some solo projects so you'll have to stay tuned.
You can hear more of Copout's music on Soundcloud
Follow Copout on Instagram