Opening their next chapter with Paco Rabanne and NTS’ A Million Ways To Make It programme, DJ, producer and now vocalist Cold is promising authenticity and consistency.
Cold — formerly known as intentionally Cold — is the south London DJ, producer and vocalist weaving speckles of nostalgic electronica through gritty grime beats. Having recently experimented with adding their own vocals into their work, the artist flickers between light and darkness through a myriad of sounds, crafting atmospheric cuts that could soundtrack anything from getting ready for a night out to an introspective Uber ride home.
Cold is an artist whose unique patchwork of influences stands out a mile away, shining through their various projects and collaborations. Despite being a solo artist, for them, music is a collaborative process between close friends. But whether they’re exploring their own inner world or partnering with friends like Poundshop, 3o and Junior XL, Cold is slowly cementing their vision with every given opportunity.
Having recently been selected for the Paco Rabanne Fund as part of Paco Rabanne and NTS’ A Million Ways To Make It initiative, Cold is about to embark on a career-changing opportunity. Celebrating the passion and graft of emerging musicians across the industry, Paco Rabanne will provide Cold with a £5000 grant to facilitate their development as an artist. From financial aid to mentorship packages through NTS and their industry partners, the artist development programme is designed to kickstart emerging talent with a personal, 360 approach. Providing advice, connections, opportunities and resources, A Million Ways To Make It looks long-term to build foundations for the future.
Currently working on an EP, the next few months will see Cold drip-feed their most in-depth and cohesive project yet. Taking stock, the artist shares their thoughts about being the latest recipient of the Paco Rabanne Fund, the meaning behind their moniker, and what’s next.
Hi Cold, how does it feel to be selected for the Paco Rabanne Fund this year?
It felt weird, but I’m glad I got it, obviously. I’m very excited to be part of it.
What are you hoping to get out of the NTS mentorship scheme?
Connection, in varying forms, with an audience and within my practices.
What qualities have helped you get this far in your journey?
Understanding the value of myself and what I can do, but also my peers, my friends, and my family. Trying to respect and uplift those equally.
How will the A Million Ways to Make It programme help further your career?
I’ve been working on a project for a minute, and I’ve just started doing vocals as well within the last two years. I used to just produce and DJ, so this is quite new to me. Having mentors who can give me pointers on what I should and shouldn’t be doing in terms of marketing, the overall sound, recording myself—that whole process will be really useful.
What are you most looking forward to about your involvement in the Million Ways To Make It project?
Being able to connect with people through the live performance that they have set up and other opportunities.
What was your first step into the industry?
I was playing a lot of parties in south London and someone that worked at a radio station asked me if I wanted to have a show on that station. I had a few shows on there, but they got shut down.
From a personal perspective, is it important for you to release new music at a steady speed?
I think it’s about to become important for me to do that. I’ve tried to, but it’s been stressful at times having to invest my own money out of my own pocket and that kind of thing. I’d rather pay my friends/collaborators than ask for favours so I’ve not been as consistent as I’d like to have been. It’s taught me to go at my own pace though, which has become invaluable to me and helped me build to a point where I can release more regularly soon.
What’s your usual routine when it comes to producing new music?
I’ve been unpacking different situations and relationships that I’ve been through in my life and putting them into my creative practice. There’s been a lot of figuring out an order in which those experiences fit together and how to place some of them into a cohesive project. So I’ve either written the lyrics to a song first and want to capture the essence of what I’m saying in the production, or I write over the top of other people’s songs to find a vibe sonically. It depends.
I’ve got various synths that I write with too, so sometimes I’ll start there and then add drums or whatever. If I’m bored in the middle of trying to make something, I’ll make something completely new in the project and that turns out to be a new track. Once I’m done being so fluid it’s about making that track sound as good as possible, sore-recording vocals, changing certain patterns in a track and being able to really nail a song that feels finished.
How did this all come about?
I came up in music through DJing instrumental grime music. That’s how I started producing as well, I started making stuff for those sets. I still like to chop up samples and lay down grittier drums, I’ve never been too into sticking to one specific BPM or sound. There’s bits of mine under various aliases floating around, I loved and love the freedom of experimenting without having to be the face of anything.
What made you decide to start adding vocals to your work?
I realised I had things to say, and I wasn’t afraid to say what I wanted to anymore.
What message do you want to convey across your music and personal brand?
Being okay with being open, honest and vulnerable publicly, but on my terms.
Where does your moniker come from?
I decided to drop the ‘Intentionally’ in my name because I felt that I’m not actually that intentional as a person. If there was a perceived coldness about me, it wasn’t necessarily on purpose. I can be quite an anxious, shy person, and I thought Cold just stood out a bit more by itself.
I thought Cold was coming off the compliment vibe, as in sick or amazing.
Yeah, that’s what people have been saying now and I like that a lot more. I think it means both.
What’s the best thing about the music industry right now?
Being able to remain as independent as possible… to have full creative control over what I do, when I want to do it, has been a really great thing. To be able to take breaks when I want, and not have to work towards any schedule except for my own, has been good for me.
And the hardest?
I guess the cons are that it’s also been quite difficult working alone and not having that much help. Unless you’re seeking advice from people, there’s no advice there. Things are a lot slower usually because there’s no one advocating for you but you, and that can get tough.
How important is it for brands like Paco Rabanne to support emerging artists?
I think it’s important. I’m one of three people that have been selected for this year’s Paco Rabanne Fund, and there are so many more people who also deserve that help. I feel there should be more opportunities for artists like this one. That’s why it felt kind of weird to be accepted. But I also have to look at what I’ve done and why I deserve it, you know?
Have you found networking to be a pivotal way of developing your career?
I generally don’t like networking, I like meeting people through friends. I’m lucky to have been around a web of musicians I really admire for a while now. I’ve met loads of great people by being out and about over the years but I don’t like to go in with any intention if that makes sense.
What advice would you give to people looking to break into the industry?
Be patient with yourself. Always take time away from what you’re developing when you need to so you don’t burn out. Never feel guilty for that. I think adaptability is important. Don’t be afraid to learn more about or change the course of what you thought you wanted to do if it’s no longer motivating you. Better ideas come and the most concrete old ones circle back. I’d be a hypocrite if I said don’t overthink anything — just make sure you’re having fun with it.
Find out more about A Million Ways To Make It here.