Will Joseph Cook has not only just walked into the light of the music industry but more blasted onto the scene with his catchy indie-pop anthems.
At the gentle age of 19 Will shows no sign of being held back by his youth with multiple dates booked for his biggest to date ‘Sweet Dreamer’ tour and his debut album 'Sweet Dreamer'. Will has already experienced multiple plays on stations such as BBC Radio 1 alongside a glowing reception on Sundara Karma’s tour.
I met Will at one of my favorite venues, O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire. The aura of the venue still electrifying with excitement and beauty, we pile into the green room to settle into the interview.
Talk me through your exposure to music as a child?
I started playing when I was 13 but I think it was sparked more as I hadn’t been as musical when I was younger than the age of 13. It was through the discovery of records and buying my first batch of albums.
I became a music fan before I started learning. I was bowled over by going to shows and I realized that it would be a cool thing to do. That first batch had been Florence and the Machines, Calvin Harris, MGMT and Vampire Weekend. I got given a gift voucher and went nuts.
Have you always performed from a young age?
I used to put on little gigs at The Grey Lady which is in Tumbridge Wells where I grew up. It was good. I was about 14 and used to pack out that room with 50 kids.
I was 14 when I was first gigging, before I advanced to playing a few London shows and little slots at festivals like Secret Garden Party. I then got signed and it all became a lot more serious so I focused on developing my writing.
How did you meet the band?
I’ve played with Sam and Ben for the past year and a bit now, and Tom our new guitarist has just joined, so it’s his first tour. It’s all friend of a friend related.
Your singles and EP’s have been received extremely well, did you expect the response you received?
I think I was pretty nervous when dropping every single. The past year of dropping tracks I would say I’ve found my stride. I loved it. Some can make music for ages and not really love it yourself. I feel like I’m at point where I’m more confident, not that I don’t critique myself, but it’s what I’m set out to make. I guess you always hope for the best but I maybe didn’t expect it, but I desperately wanted them to go down well.
Inspiration for music?
Most of the album, and the lyrics are biographical, so yes it’s personal experiences, however they do go more abstract than linear story telling of what I’ve done.
It’s usually more of an abstract or poetic way of saying something. I can inject a bit of melodrama into what I’ve done. There are a couple of tracks which are more fictional, for example 'Beach' is completely fictional. I think even if you’re writing a story you are channeling some of what you have you’ve felt into it.
Talk me through your debut album and its production, what’s behind it all?
It’s been about a year and a bit that I’ve been putting it together, it’s pretty much all new tracks with obviously the singles we’ve been working on. So four of the tracks that are already out, but all the rest is fresh stuff. Most of it I’ve done with Hugh Worskett who’s a long term collaborator on the production.
In a last minute spurt of recording I did four tracks with Jack Steadman from Bombay Bicycle club, which was wicked. It’s only come together as a thing in the past 3-4 months. I’m really happy with it.
How has your music developed, from your earlier releases, if at all?
I think it’s changed a lot, considering when I first started the EP I was 17 and still in school, this album I’m almost 20 and lived in London for a year and a half.
I think my life’s changed and so has my sound, in a sense of it being more confident and a bit more sure of itself. It has a bit more of an identity, as the earlier stuff was a lot of experimenting even though I had a load of fun. This now represents me more as an artist’s possibly in comparison of me just having fun.
Who are your music inspirations?
I think it’s a band that balances pop-sensibilities and a self awareness alongside some humor. MGMT do that really well, a band that have a sense of irony and knowingness. Phoenix also do this really well.
Tell me about the production of 'Girls Like Me' video, you look like you had a load of fun?
Well the song isn’t about cross-dressing or dating myself but I wanted it to be something fun, like the bands I mentioned earlier, a bit of irony involved underneath the music that has integrity.
It was the title that gave me the idea. I thought it would be pretty cool to flip it on it’s head. A statement in a way and pushed off those singer-song writer vibes.
You’re doing your own set of dates in May around the country, what’s the best thing about touring or the most annoying thing?
I think the main thing is to do some cool visual stuff. This tour, watching Sundara it’s about setting a bar. It would be fun to have something that Is individual to our show.
Have you any rituals or tour antics that happened on tour or recording?
Our guitarist Dan has become quite a character on this tour. Either joking with him.
He has a little fan club after this tour and we’ve been perpetuating that, building that and crushing him, we even made a fake Twitter account to rip into him.
How do you envisage your future?
It would be nice to record the second album in another city and I would love to play a mad show in Japan. That’s the goal.
The joy that Will mentions is written across his face throughout our interview. It couldn’t be more obvious how much Will is in his essence, it can be easily seen in his music and live presence.
Will had the crowd eating from the palm of his hand, with his catchy hooks practically forcing fans to dance. With the singer embarking on his biggest tour to date in May, I urge you to go and unwind and dance, you definitely wont be disappointed.
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