Yesterday I was stunned to receive a message that Brett had died a few days before. I came across his Sister on social media who had, with heart wrenching emotion, live streamed her appreciation at the messages, texts and calls she had received. It was palpable how raw the devastation is as she vented her sorrow, anger and tears about what had occurred and caused such a life affecting, changing set of circumstances.
Across the past couple of decades Cosmo was a character that had crossed my on-line path as he often worked with a mutual friend. Brett was an energetic, vivacious drummer, song writer and composer, music mixer and producer, who had learnt his craft from some incredible names, Tommy Lee and Alex Van Halen. He’d learnt so much from his epic music producer father Eric Thorngren, as well as his talented maternal grandfather and great uncles, the Cosimo Trio. He was a cornerstone of the electronic dance music in Miami in its early days and always had several music projects on the go.
We ‘met’ directly when I had contacted him for permission to host a music video of the group Lisbon, which had included our mutual friend Stephen Gibb. As conversation over time continued I helped him source links and info that was already around the internet in order to put together a more detailed biography as he was beginning to put his vast catalogue of work on streaming sites.
As part of this project, I did the same for the Cosimo Trio and he generously shared some lovely atmospheric photos, bill fliers and letters of their career through the 1940/50 big band era.
When I had told him of my Big Sis situ (at the time she had just been diagnosed with brain tumours) he wanted me to stop my researching for him but I said no, it gave me a few minutes of escape. After Big Sis died he sent me a number of unreleased music tracks as he thought they would comfort me or distract me in my grief – he was right.
Often he would record a message to send as he wasn’t an expert typist and in one of them he told me he was going to a school where he was teaching youngsters drumming. The uplifting pride in his voice as he recounted the joy in these tiny faces as they realised they created something themselves was tangible.
Together we had worked hard to create a Wikipedia page about his work in the music industry. He had shared a great deal of information with me and I had found numerous online links from papers, publications and websites confirming the stated facts – sadly the wiki-warriors kept rejecting the sources and deleting the technical effort in coding the page. But it can be found if you search hard enough. Brett had hoped to do a couple of interviews about upcoming music but the pandemic broke and everything stopped.
I will miss his “Hey how you doing?” emails.
I cannot imagine the pain his mother, partner and siblings are feeling. My heart breaks at how they are trying to help his two young boys (3 and 5 years old) understand about Daddy.
Brett has scattered his music and his talent across the internet, reaching a global audience. His generosity of soul and energetic spirit stay with all those who spent the briefest of moments with him.
I am determined to have the biography published somewhere, so here it is.
Brett “Cosmo” Thorngren is an American Music Producer, singer, drummer, CEO of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang Records (who have released over 300 tracks) and songwriter.
Born 25 December 1974 in Cortland New York, son of Eric “ET” Thorngren, maternal grandson of Salvatore Cosimo of the Cosmo Trio. Brett relocated to Miami Florida in the early 1990’s.
Along with Paul Isaac (vocals), Gerson (guitar), Ari Eisenstein (bass) and Brett (drums) formed Muse around 1992 in Miami, Florida. Their self-titled debut album was released in May 1995 by independent label Velocity Records. Tiring of the lack of quality live music venues in Miami the band decided to relocate, initially to Atlanta, Georgia. The follow up album “Arcana” was released 18 May 1997 by Atlantic Records.
In 1999, Brett left Muse to join (Astralwerks Records) recording artists, Metrodub, getting back to his Miami DJ roots, he was back out on the road touring with Chemical Brothers, Daft Punk, and FatBoy Slim. Performing under the name Cosmo, he became a resident DJ at Liquid, Bar Room, Chili Peppers and Level.
In early 2000 Brett with Gil Bitton formed the side project Lisbon recording a number of tracks with a view to releasing. Contract obligations with record companies meant they were shelved. The tracks were remastered and made available to purchase and stream online from mid December 2019.
Brett wrote and produced a handful of dance records, some released internationally, on various labels (Universal, Filtered, Neo Records). At this point in his career Brett was able to work on his skills as a music producer and engineer, producing various indie rock bands. He worked as Barry Gibb’s (Bee Gees) personal engineer on several projects, including the 2004 Guilty Too, Barbra Streisand’s album which earned him a gold record.
In 2005 Brett mastered Kirk Windstein’s Crowbar studio album Lifesblood For The Downtrodden.
In July 2007 Arctic Tale documentary released an official soundtrack album, which included the track “Underworld”, written and recorded by Barry Gibb, Stephen Gibb and Ashley Gibb, which credited Brett as Engineer.
In 2010 Kiss Kiss Bang Bang Records was incorporated in Miami Florida providing an independent record label releasing in excess off 300 tracks for local artists via BeatPort, SoundCloud and other online music streaming services.
When Kendra Erika was buzzing around the club dance scene in Miami she went into Brett’s Kiss Kiss Bang Bang studios and recorded a 5 track digital EP titled Hostage.
Never far from his DJ roots, performing under the stage name Cosmo, Brett often been part of the Ultra Music Festival line up, appearing at Oasis from Noon to 1pm Saturday 25 March 2017.
In 2019 Brett mixed and mastered Alpha Cat’s studio album “Thatched Roof Glass House”.
Former member of Metrodub (Astralwerks Records), Skreamerz and Thrillers.