CMON is the new recording project of Josh da Costa and Jamen Whitelock. Even as they established themselves as integral members of New York’s DIY scene with their band Regal Degal, da Costa and Whitelock were acutely aware of how closed off they had become. As Regal Degal mounted its final tour, with clubs pushing their set times earlier and earlier to make space for the DJs who followed da Costa and Whitelock took notes. “We were definitely getting swept further from where we wanted to be and the excitement we wanted to portray,” Whitelock says. “There’s such joy in going out and dancing that was completely missing in a lot of shows, especially in New York. Nobody wants to move, everyone’s too self-conscious. But when you go to the club, everyone’s in it—you just want to dance, and that’s all that matters.”
The community potential and the promise of physical liberation that came with dance music spoke loudly to both da Costa and Whitelock, and following the dissolution of Regal Degal, da Costa set up a new life for himself in Los Angeles—a steady relationship, a pet bird, a car—and got down to work with a copy of Ableton. Back in New York, his head spun by DJ Rashad, Whitelock was learning to program, too. They kept their line of communication open, and eventually Whitelock started making the cross-country trek to work and record with his old bandmate. They mined the sound they established with Regal Degal, applying their old band’s heavy atmospherics and melancholy soul to four-on-the-floor rhythm grids and smoothed-out guitar lines, taking production cues from EBM and AOR in equal measure. If Confusing Mix of Nations is a tour of anything, though, it’s not countries so much as psychic spaces. Each of its ten tracks feels like a postcard from an aesthetic territory worth returning to.
1. Peter Pan
4. Good To Know