Spotlight on Cool Million

Special Feature 5/28/2021
Cool Million

Meet Cool Million: Influenced by the 80’s synth funk of The S.O.S. Band, Midnight Star and Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, Cool Million are a European production duo whose mission statement is to “take soul back to the future.” Founded by Danish songwriter Frank Ryle, a passionate soul music fan who ran his own magazine, Soulportal.dk, the collaborative outfit released its first track, “Naughty Girl”, through a compilation before German producer Rob Hardt (Chaka Kahn, Keith Sweat) came on board. Following the critical acclaim garnered by their 2008 debut, “Going Out Tonight”, they teamed up with a host of guest stars, including 80’s soul singers Meli’sa Morgan, Peggi Blu and Eugene Wilde and 70’s R&B trio Black Ivory’s Leroy Burgess, for follow-up “Back For More”, which was released through Hardt’s own label in 2010. Source: About Cool Million, Spotify

My Kind of Music, with Cool Million.

SUMTHIN’ LIKE THIS, Makes Me Coming BACK FOR MORE.

For today’s guests we’re off to Europe, a Spotlight I am particularly excited about, since they stand for everything I LOVE in music: Groovy, Funky, Danceable and Soulful, Cool Million has it all in my opinion. It’s days like this, I couldn’t be happier with being able to write and more specific, write about music I love. If your taste in music resembles anything like mine, this Spotlight is for you.

Was it a coincidence I was only this week getting myself into a little discussion about how it hardly ever happens I find an artist/band, and like about everything they release? The reply I got was something I had to agree on, I quote a Twitter friend: ‘A decent song is achievable, but a great or timeless song is a very, very difficult and elusive piece of art to create. Even the best oftentimes only have a few of those’. So true, though Cool Million seems to have no issue with that, resulting in me never getting enough of their sound.

I ‘discovered’ Cool Million late November 2020 and I was ever so happy to have stumbled upon their music. I quickly found out, their sound is so groovy and catchy, there’s really not one song I don’t like. And I can tell you, they’ve released quite a lot over the last decade already: 2 compilations, 6 albums and 36 singles/EP’s – if I counted correctly, including a lot of insanely good remixes done by other artists. Not even counting the amount of remixes they themselves done for others, since I’m pretty sure, I haven’t even discovered them all yet. I keep finding them all over Spotify 😅. Anyways, their latest remix is Next Level. Yeah, they are.

It’s because of this Spotlight section, I’ve been able to get a better idea about exactly how tough it is to come up with ‘a great or timeless song’. Of course personal taste plays a very big part for any listener – me! – but if it feels anything like me publishing articles…though I can never be totally sure, there’s this gut feeling about how well a specific article will be received and aside from the occasional surprise, that feeling is mostly right. Cool Million shows it’s not impossible to keep scoring though.

I’m happy my Spotify ‘Discover Weekly’ is getting more and more attuned to the kind of music I am actually looking for and so it happened last November, I got my first taste of Cool Million. Y’all know I am no expert on the tech side of how music is produced, for me it’s all about the FEEL. Growing up with  Jazz-Rock/Fusion, read: a lot of funky stuff, my attention has to be captured within the first couple of beats. I will always give a new song a fair try, because one never knows what kind of transitions and/or, key modulations might take place, but yeah… Those first 20-30 seconds of a song can be all or nothing. The ‘Keep On’ boogie back remix, released 7/10/2020, had me right from the start.

The laidback, soulful groove is just music to my heart and the song was added to my Some Groovy Medicine playlist without a doubt. Where I more often than not, have to listen a couple of times to a song, giving it that fair chance before adding (there are plenty of ‘decent songs’) there was no need in this case. I dove into Cool Million’s discography and quickly became acquainted with their unique sound: you cannot miss this special flavor they seem to have bottled and sprinkled all over their tracks. Gimme some of that sugar sweetness babeyy.

Cool Million is currently close to 90K listeners per month on Spotify alone and they have a pretty nice amount of followers on social media too: the Facebook count alone is 10K. Not bad at all. Their collabs with big names – including vocalists – is impressive and makes for every song to be delivered to a T. Biased much? Of course! Their Spotify bio mentions bands I grew up listening to, so there was very little chance of me getting disappointed by them. Still, you don’t have to take my word for it – though it was mentioned I seem to have ‘immaculate taste’ 😂 – just give them a listen yourself.

Now I shouldn’t lie, there was this one thing that had me doubting and it was all about which song to add every week. Choosing is difficult, because there’s so much gold to share and the ‘competition’ is fierce lol. To not have to go through that same agonizing struggle again, the collection you find on this page consists of songs that were part of that weekly update – now stored in the Groovy Medicine Archive – or ones that are waiting to be added soon. Sure, you can call them favs, but I am not nearly done with that list yet. Cool Million’s sound is thoroughly speaking to my soul, making it impossible to listen to their music without wanting to MOVE.

Cool Million are also masters in creating very smooth (semi?) ballads. Coming from someone who’s mostly high on up-tempo songs, they do have mellow tracks that are a perfect execution of their mission statement to “take soul back to the future.” In my opinion specifically their album ‘Stronger’, released 8/9/2019 – including the original ‘Keep On’ track – is bursting with ballads, with often pretty sexy lyrics. Until now I’ve only shared one of the remixes of the title song ‘Stronger’, from this album, so let me rectify that here.

It took me until the end of February this year, before I gathered the courage to ask Cool Million if they would be willing to do a little interview. They’re a bit ‘bigger’ than most previous artists I approached and I wasn’t really expecting them to be interested to be honest. But hey, still holding on to the idea I’ve got nothing to lose really, I just put it out there. While at first I thought a reply wasn’t coming, I was surprised when about a month later they messaged me back with a simple, I quote: ‘Cool we are in 💙🍾’.  Yeah that got me hyped alright!

Going through their social media posts, there’s all the evidence Cool Million has kept busy throughout the years. Life performances – while possible – collabs and releasing new music. It was really nice to see many names involved with those collabs, had been popping up in my ‘Discover Weekly’ as well. Finding new artists to love is always good medicine, when all else fails, music can cheer me up. Apparently Cool Million is sharing this cure with us too: funky guitar riffs and basslines, great melodies and chords, amazing added strings…‘You can watch me as I shine’.

With 1.6M streams in 2019 and 2020 – ‘Back For More’ has over 1.6M all-time streams alone – the song rocks, let’s be honest –  and a rise in listeners and countries, Cool Million is going upwards for sure. They’re very well known in, for example, the UK Soul Chart and as mentioned before, if you search well enough, you can find their name attached to A Lot of artists and releases in unexpected places. I for one love to find ‘new music’ only to discover they had a hand in it. Cool Million is obviously taking matters in their own hands, making it impossible to miss them.

If you’re a collector and wishing for some physicals, the only ones still available as far as I can tell,  you can find on Bandcamp in the form of the earlier mentioned album ‘Stronger’ on CD and/or Vinyl. Whether or not there will be new opportunities for us to get our hands on material, this is of course my cue to tell you: Give them a follow and stay informed about everything Cool Million!

Just a heads-up for those who don’t know yet: A new EP is about to drop next month, so keep your eyes peeled for that! I for one am surely looking forward to more Cool Million, I mean, come on, with a name like that, success is a given. Maybe it’s me fan-girling but there’s just no way their music is not made to touch ears and reach hearts all over the globe, resulting in crowded dancefloors as soon as we’re allowed back in the wild. They rekindled the fire of Soul and are indeed taking it back to the future with every new track. It’s their passion for the genre, that is changing the music scene.

Well, it’s that time again and boy do I love this part. If it wasn’t clear yet, their discography is way too large to be displayed in just this little space (this is just a teaser!) and also: It’s up to you to find the treasure that is called Cool Million! But first of course: A BIG Thank You Cool Million! I cannot express enough how much I love your music and I am hoping you’ll keep on going on, feeding Soul to the world. I will add you guys to the Spotlight page asap, where you will stay indefinitely and where I will do my best to update any new release. Wishing you all the blessings and may The Soul be With You. Where would we be without your love for us.

The Interview

Let’s start with the obvious: Can you please introduce yourself and tell us, who is Cool Million? When and how did you get started in the music scene and how did you meet each other? Which instruments do you play?

‘Cool Million are Rob Hardt from Germany and Frank Ryle from Denmark. Rob has been making and producing music since his teens and Frank started also in his teens as music collector and DJ. We met each other through Myspace and the world wide web back in 2005. Rob plays keyboards and program almost all instrument. Frank mainly use computer and samples’.

You guys have been around for some time now and have already produced an impressive amount of songs, can you tell us a bit about your background, like: Who have been / are, your biggest influences in music? Was soul / funk always The Way for you and why does this kind of music means so much to you?

‘Soul and funk has always been a fav genre to us.. but we let us influence from all kinds of genres, be it Pop, jazz, Hip Hop. But our love is really soul and funk for sure. We started out by doing a style that was heavy inspired by the 80´s sound, we have kept a lot of that sound but we also try to embrace more modern sounds when we make new music. But because we both crew up on the 80´s sound it’s still a big part of our sound and style.

We love groups such as; The Temptations, Con Funk Shun, Bar Kays, Earth Wind & Fire, Commodores, Cameo, Midnight Sar, Atlantic Star etc. singers like; Melissa Morgan, Kashif, Eugene Wilde, Glenn Jones, Leroy Burgess, Keni Burke, Melba Moore, Evelyn King, Rick James and Teena Marie etc’.

There seems to be a couple of pretty big names involved, as in collabs, could you name a couple of highlights and what it meant for your music? Were there any ‘turning points’ along the way maybe? Do you feel the music scene has changed since you started and if so, what was the biggest change in your opinion?

‘Key highlights have been Eugene Wilde and Melisa Morgan and Keni Burke, that was our little break through for sure. The collaboration with these names put a quality stamp on our music in wide circles mainly in and on the soul scene in Europe. The music scene changed with the uprising of streaming services such as Spotify, iTunes and Apple-music’.

Listening to your total catalogue of music, you stayed true to how you started. How tough is it to keep going strong and create / produce new stuff? Can you tell us a bit about how your creative process works? Are there any parts that you experience as struggle, or the opposite, joy?

‘The hardest part in keeping new music flowing is to find new interesting vocalists. We could keep to one formula we know would work – but we like to push ourselves, try new things, so we do our best to be relevant in style and sound. Which means we may do a up-tempo song and thereafter a ballad or a mid tempo jazzy tune.

You may be familiar with the Cool Million sound but you may never have heard us like that.. that’s what keep us strong and on our toes’.

Your Spotify bio mentions your mission is ‘to take soul back to the future’, which I can only applaud and enjoy. Though more artists seem to go back to that specific sound, you guys seem to have captured that typical 80’s feel and upgraded it with a fresh funky touch, renewing it. How hard was it to establish that typical Cool Million sound?

‘That sound has been with us from day one and is the sound of Cool Million – we don’t hide that we are under heavy influence of the 80´s sound. Moog and 808, Linndrum and all other instruments that capture that decade in the music history.

We are aware that more artist seems to look back to the 80’s and that’s all good. But we also feel that we kinda started that trend! We say that without trying to be pretentious’.

In between album releases there have been a lot of really great remixes released. How does that generally work for you? Is it a way to look at your music from a different point of view and thus generating new / more inspiration?

 ‘Remixes is a part of the game these days to keep a track longer on the market everything is going really fast and a song may not last long because there is so much new music coming week by week… and sometimes we ask someone to make their version of our song. Other times someone may approach us and ask if it’s possible to remix’.

I know you are about to drop new music, but how do you guys see the – near – future? What would be the next goal to chase for you, music wise? Though covid is not over yet, do you have any plans for live performances, or even a tour, yet?

‘The whole covid situation makes it hard for all but as a music group is very hard because we can’t get out a perform and let new people discover our music. But we are still here, and music from Cool Million we keep flowing. For the next period it will be single releases as it seems the album is dead these days’.

Is there anything else you would wish to add or share, with your fans / the readers? (Anything I did not ask about maybe?)

‘Yeah! Keep buying music and or stream it. And if you like Cool Million spread the word. Thanks. Rob & Frank aka Cool Million’.

Again, Big Thanks to Cool Million! And to you my readers, get your groove on, leave a nice comment below and give them a follow here:

Follow Cool Million on: SpotifySoundCloudYouTubeBandcamp MixcloudFacebookInstagramTwitter

Wishing y’all a very Cool Week(-end), listen to me, they’re one in a Million!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: