You ever listen to a song and immediately transcend time and space? That’s how I felt the first time I heard COTIS’ latest release, “BURN.” Combining dark trap, hip-hop, and electronic influences, COTIS has paved his own lane with a unique sound and persona.
He’s created a sound you don’t hear often, one that makes you feel like you’re on drugs – and his new single perfectly captures this energy. With its trippy vocals, powerful 808s, and melodic guitar, it’s the kind of music you blast on a late night drive. I connected with COTIS over FaceTime to talk about this track and learn more about his career.
Callum Afcouliotis, aka COTIS, blew up with singles “Phone Light Up” and “Reasons” and has kept this momentum since. The British Columbia, Canada native got his initial spark after posting a handful of songs on Soundcloud at 18 years old. The Swedish record label ART:ERY noticed his potential and flew him out to Stockholm, Sweden for two intense weeks of sessions, which helped COTIS craft his own style and write some of his biggest hits like “Reasons” with producer Martin Wave. He has since parlayed this lucky break into a blossoming career, and currently boasts over 430,000 monthly listeners on Spotify. As he grows, he’s been inspired by artists like Russ and blackbear, who have found commercial success while still keeping an original sound, and not necessarily fitting into a specific niche.
“BURN” tells the tale of a rocky relationship. One where both parts are growing tired of the ups and downs and can’t seem to get on the same page. After all, sometimes it hurts to love someone. The track zooms into a very specific "eye of the storm" moment, where the relationship is a mess and it feels the world is on fire, but you take a step back to enjoy each other’s company for a minute. “We don’t know what to do, but for now let’s just chill” is how COTIS phrased it. When he belts out the chorus, you can feel the authenticity in his voice, and it’s clear this is something COTIS was going through as he wrote the song. With help from collaborators Ten Towns and TRACES, this is a track that belongs on any heartbreak playlist.
22-year-old COTIS is based in Los Angeles, but recently found success recording back home in Canada. He initially booked a trip home to step away from music and take a break from LA, but this quickly turned into the most productive recording period he’s had in years. In months leading up to the trip, he was stuck in a rut, treating music like a job and not enjoying it like he used to. The trip gave him a fresh start and a chance to kick back with friends and family. He quickly got into the studio with old friends who helped him get his head right and remember why he started making music in the first place.
“Music was always a party for me”
The creative process is different for everyone, and for COTIS, this process means late nights in studios full of friends, girls, and booze. Countless nights turned into mornings on this stay, and he left his home country with a new energy and a bank of new songs, ready for release on his upcoming album, 4AM CLUB. The album’s release date is still undecided, but when it drops, I have a feeling you’ll hear about it.
I haven’t met many people who know themselves better than COTIS. His calm demeanor and rational thought processes aren’t always common in artists of his caliber. He explained how despite his musical success, at his core he’s an extremely normal person. The difference is that he’s found something special about himself that lets him leave an impact on others. We talked about how everybody has something special they can use to leave a lasting impact, but for some people it takes a while to find it. He hopes to make people feel understood through his music, and he tells stories about his life and struggles because he knows the content resonates with listeners. “I make music for me, but other people relate to it”
Lucky for COTIS, he found his "something special" at 18. Now that he’s starting to hit his stride as an artist, it’s only a matter of time until he really blows up.
Stream “BURN” by COTIS below: