By Nickie Hayes
A new music duo out of Plattsburgh is producing unique and inventive music. Daniel Piper and Alex Puchalski are the minds behind the electronic pop band Cudos. Piper is currently a senior at SUNY Plattsburgh majoring in audio and video production. Puchalski was attending Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute for computer science but decided it was best for him to work through the pandemic instead. He plans to finish his degree in the future.
Cudos will be releasing a seven track EP, going through their current label called Bonfire Records. They will release the first four or five songs over the upcoming months and then drop the entire EP in spring 2021.
Puchalski has lived in Plattsburgh his whole life, while Piper has lived in Plattsburgh for the majority of his life. They met in middle school and have been best friends ever since.
A mutual friend of theirs was interested in an audio workstation called FL Studio, a software program that can make electronic music, and Cudos was instantly hooked. The duo started making music for fun back in 2015. They were excited to be able to start making electronic music because at the time, they were just starting to listen to that genre of music.
Puchalski played in the orchestra band, chorus and jazz band in high school. He also took piano lessons as a child. Piper is a self-taught pianist and comes from a family of musicians.
Piper has music running through his blood. His father went to Juliard, playing the oboe and English horn. He played all across the world after college in places including Italy, Mexico and New York City for 10 years.
Piper and Puchalski are currently roommates in an apartment in Plattsburgh and have a studio set up in one of the rooms. They have recording equipment like a microphone, guitar and keyboard.
They still use an updated version of FL Studio as their digital audio workstation. Using this and other programs, they can draw other sounds in, like different types of drums.
“The good news is this software that we use can be used on a laptop or really any device it’s downloaded on. So if we’re on the fly or traveling, we’re always producing,” Puchalski said.
Piper said Puchalski has the mind of a producer with his background in computer science and is great at what he does.
“I would say Dan is way better at DJing. He’s been doing that for longer than I have and has more experience mixing different tracks together,” Puckalski said.
However, they both work on each together, and even though they might have strengths in either category, Cudos explained they divide the work evenly.
They plan to expand their horizons in the future sooner than later. When it comes to playing live, Puckaliski said they would like to incorporate live instruments and vocals with featured artists.
On top of that, they have also been working with other artists across the country. They are always looking to do more collaborations and network within the field to build up their name, Piper explained.
Their newest song “Take it Slow,” Oct. 30, features vocalist James Delaney. Puchalski originally had the idea for the song on his laptop in 2019, Piper said.
“He sent it to me and I was like, ‘Oh, this is really sick, we should hold on to this for the future,’” Piper said.
When they started living together in early 2020, they fleshed out the original 30 second track into a full fledged song. After creating the original track, they then sent it out to many vocalists to see if one would bite. It just so happened that James Delaney liked their song enough to want to feature on it.
“The process of pitching to vocalists and trying to find someone to feature on the song is pretty lengthy because it’s a waiting game for the most part,” Puchalski said.
“When you’re starting off, it’s really difficult to get anyone to be interested in your song because you don’t have any reputation yet. But we got lucky with James. He was bigger than us at the time and still is more popular right now so that was good to get a feature from him,” Puchalski said.
Delaney currently lives in Los Angeles. They liked his style of singing because he has a jazz background, and they felt he was the perfect fit for this song. He even played saxophone at the end of their song, Cudos said.
“Basically we were at two ends of the country, sending emails back and forth, had a couple Zoom sessions, and put it all together,” Piper said.
They both said one of the main musicians who inspired them to start making music was Louis the Child, an electro-pop duo.
“They were young friends just like us. They made some music that we really liked, and it was really inspiring to watch them grow,” Puchalski said.
The genre of music they create is distinctive to Cudos, but with that being said, it cannot just be put into one category.
“We have a wide range, and don’t just fit into one little box,” Piper said.
If he were to call it anything, their genre of music would be electronic indie pop music.
“The production can be kind of weird or wonky or somewhat different, but then we prefer to have a vocalist who is catchy and mainstream,” Piper said. “In order to stick out, we were thinking, let’s do something where the instrumental is way different than then something you would hear anywhere else, but let’s make the vocal or the main thing they’re hearing something they can sing to or recognize.”
Puchalski said they have always appreciated obscure music, where the listener can tell it took a lot of time and effort to make but maybe is not mainstream.
They have several remixes coming out very soon and one coming out within the next few weeks. They also have two or three collaborations coming out with other producers, which will be released on other labels. Additionally, Cudos will be flying out to Los Angeles in January to work in sessions with other artists and wants to continue to grow.