We catch up with longtime Delarge favorite, Mr. Cooper as his second full length album “What Else There Is” is released on the Project Mooncircle label.
For this release Mr Cooper has veered away from organic sounds of traditional, easily recognizable instruments into more electronic sounds of a darker, harder and faster nature. From a change of surroundings and listening habits to recording live, improvised jams under the name of Copermahks, we find out the latest in the world of Mr. Cooper, there’s also a free mp3 download waiting for you, track 8 from Cooper’s new album.
Why did you want to make the move away from using traditional, easily recognisable sounds for What Else There Is?
I was bored of them and bored of instrumental hip hop that has continued to use those sorts of sounds and loops. It’s been going on since the early nineties. If hip hop is to remain interesting then it has to evolve. My own listening tastes have moved far away from that sort of sound also. Dubstep, techno, ambient and noise stuff, electronic stuff such as Chris Clark, Autechre… There’s a link for me with what music I am feeling and what music I make.
What emotive responses do you want to evoke in your listeners?
I don’t really want to evoke a response in listeners. Making music for me is about getting a sound that evokes a feeling in me. I don’t really imagine other people or other people’s reactions when I’m making a track. Getting to a sound that evokes that reaction in me is probably based in what I am listening to, the way I perceive music, genres and scenes that I hear and that are current, and also the surroundings that I’m in.
This LP was made mostly whilst I was living in a pretty rugged flat in Shadwell, which is not a nice part of London. It looks raw, lots of estates and industrial left overs. Lots of grey buildings and concrete. There was a big fan outside my bedroom window giving off an industrial drone all the way through that record.
All that feeds into creating a mood and a feeling in me and therefore in the music.
The track “Part 10″ is a drumless departure from the Mr Cooper sound, is this an indication of a future direction?
I’ve recorded a freeform, improvised album of electronic music with Hobo Sonn, a mate of mine. The group and the record are called “Copermahks” and you can buy it through my myspace page… I think that will continue to be an outlet for my love of improvisation and ambient, drumless music.
Part 10 on What Else There Is was a sort of tribute to Sequent C by Tangerine Dream. I wanted my LP to end with that sort of sound. I don’t think I would be happy just making music like that though. I love the structure and playing with the structure that having drums and percussion gives you.
How has your involvement in improvised jams affected your approach to the recording process?
It was very much responsible for the sounds on the LP. As much as being bored of traditional sounds and change of surroundings was responsible for that. Until I started jamming with Ian (Hobo Sonn) I didn’t really know or at least I wasn’t prepared to try to start experimenting with manipulating wavs and effects so that they become creative elements, rather than just loops and sounds that are triggered.
So playing with him and seeing what he was doing and how he had evolved his creative process using his MPC and effects board was key to that change of technique in my solo production.
Can you explain the Bladerunner aesthetic and how it influences you?
That film has a feel that really grabbed me. That sort of run down, industrial, bleak aesthetic. People on the edge. Future Sound Of London’s Dead Cities LP was probably my first exposure to that sort of aesthetic.
A lot of noise and ambient stuff hits it too. And Ghost in the Shell… It’s a feel of pieces of art, usually music and film, that I really love.
You did the cover photography for What Else There Is, and your Myspace page features your nightime cityscape images, are these images important companions pieces to the atmospheres you create musically?
They were mostly shot after the music was made, when I was looking for cover ideas, although some of the photography in Japan was before… I don’t know if they could be called companion pieces, but they capture the feeling that I want and that I think fits the music.
Will you collaborate with MCs again in the future?
Possibly, but my interest in hip hop is really falling off. I’m more interested in exploring Dubstep and Techno at the moment.
What are your responsibilities as coordinator of Project Mooncircle?
I work on finding artists and talking with them mainly. So I suppose it’s a bit like A & R. Gordon handles all artwork management, manufacturing and distribution. We talk about all aspects of the label though.
Will you be putting on live shows to support the release of What Else There Is?
I’ve played a few shows in Germany. I want to play more. Promoters need to get in touch: email@example.com
We at Delarge are huge Mummy Fortuna’s Theatre Company fans so we have to ask the obligatory Sketch question – what’s he up to and will there be a future collaboration between you guys?
He is working on a record at the moment. I haven’t heard any of it and I don’t really know what to expect. I know that it’s mostly or perhaps entirely live instruments played by him. I don’t know when it will be finished. We might collaborate again but we’re pretty far apart in terms of music that we are feeling these days.
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Big thanks to Mr. Cooper for taking the time to chat to us, be sure to check these links: