PHOTO CREDIT: Eve Thomas
FROM the North of England…
PHOTO CREDIT: Eve Thomas
I am now speaking with a songwriter who hails from Australia. Hein Cooper talks about his current track, Hear My Voice, and what it was like touring his debut album in Cornwall – the brilliant and celebrated The Art of Escape.
I ask Cooper whether he will tour in the U.K. and which artists have inspired him to get into music. He explains why this week has been a bit tough; what the scene is like in Sydney (where he is based) and whether he feels like he is moving into a new creative phase – Cooper closes the interview by choosing a pretty stunning song.
Hi, Hein. How are you? How has your week been?
Hey, there. I'm good! I've been told to rest my voice by my doctor, so the last week has been a challenge regards not talking to anyone and staying quiet at home!
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?
I'm a singer-songwriter from Australia working with music inspired by artists like Frank Ocean, Bon Iver; Ben Howard and Chet Faker. I love the idea of what is possible with Pop music: a song can be very left-of-field and still be a Pop hit.
I think my music is an exploration of a more authentic version of Pop.
Hear My Voice is your new single. What is the story behind the song?
I wrote this song over a year or so. It took its time and started off as a poem I had written; then I wrote the music later on and placed it in. It's a conversation I'm having with myself about the self-discovery I'd been going through at the time.
It delves into the idea that we create different versions of ourselves as we live and grow - and it asks the question: 'Is there any real self behind all these people?'
In a way, it seems to be the start of a new phase for you. Do you think this is a big change and time of transition?!
Yes. I think so. I've had a lot of time since the release of my debut album to tour and think about music. I think this has really given me a new perspective and maturity to what I'm working on now.
What was it like working with producer Will Hicks on the track?
It was great. He's one of those people who's got a casual vibe whilst doing real complicated stuff and, because it was only the two of us in the studio together, he kept it flowing well.
PHOTO CREDIT: Eve Thomas
You toured your debut album, The Art of Escape, and lived in Cornwall. What was that experience like? Did you learn a lot about yourself in that setting?!
Yes. As I said earlier; touring definitely moulded me as a person. Through 2016-2017, I played hundreds of shows through Europe and the U.S. without very much luxury or certainty. I'd be in Europe and have three-four shows booked weeks apart and have to figure out what to do in-between, without breaking the bank...
This led to staying with friends of friends, even grandparents of friends, in cities, small towns; near the ocean, arriving late at night and sometimes being stranded! It kept changing and, at times, it wasn't even clear what was happening the following week.
I think all of this really helped me develop into someone who was able to deal with that kind of stuff. It certainly helped me write new music. I ended up living in Cornwall for seven months after that and, basically, wrote music the whole time.
Sydney is where you are from. What is the music scene like there? Are there big differences between Australian and British music?
Sydney has a load of great musicians and songwriters at the moment and I think, more and more, are moving here which keeps lifting the vibe. It's the kind of place where you can get to the beach through the day and see a gig at night - which is pretty good in my opinion.
Is there more material arriving later in the year?
Which artists did you grow up around? Did you live in a very musical household?
My grandma was an Opera singer and my brother played Classical piano, but my parents weren't very musical. I started listening to music a lot more when I went to high-school. I fell in love with artists like Angus and Julia Stone and Jack Johnson. I was learning guitar and they had all these cool things for me to try and learn.
Do you have any gigs lined up? Where are you heading?
April 27th: Black Bear Lodge (Brisbane)
April 28th: Penny Black (Melbourne)
April 29th: Porch Sessions (Adelaide)
May 3rd: Leadbelly (Sydney)
What do you hope to achieve in 2018?
I'm taking it all as it comes (as things are always changing and reshaping), but I'd like to have more music out and get out there in the world to perform for as many people as possible.
Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music – the one that sticks in the mind?
There's a load. I've had one particular experience performing in Hamburg, Germany to a sold-out audience that I'll never forget. When people are all there in one room to hear your songs and you get the chance to share it, it is truly magical.
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
Be real. Don't worry if you're different to what's currently popular, because artists come and go these days like they were never even there - so, you may as well give people something you feel is true to you.
IN THIS IMAGE: SZA
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
Usually, it's a pretty constant thing - at least it's running through my mind always. If I get a chance, I like to go surfing.
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
Thank you (smiles). Frank Ocean - Thinkin Bout You
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