Friday 23 March 2018

Phil Cooper

Phil Cooper - Shakin' All Over

I found Phil Cooper on my Twitter feed. He's always plugging gigs and is, seemingly, forever on the road - there must be a bit of Bob Dylan in him, me thinks. His new single, Shake it Up, was released earlier this month and is so catchy it's obscene. So what makes this bespectacled troubadour tick? There's only one way to find out...

Phil, your new single has just come out. On a scale of 1 to 10, how excited are you?

10, naturally! It’s such a lively upbeat song, I’m mostly excited to get out and play it live. It’s really catchy and easy to pick up, so I’ll be expecting great things from my 'singalong' audience!

You love Twitter I see. Giving Trump a run for his money?

Well I don’t have any parody accounts of me yet, so I’m not quite at that level, haha! As an independent artist, Twitter’s a great place for getting out to people who don’t really know you. I’ve had quite a few people turn up at my tour shows because they saw it on Twitter and thought they’d take a chance. Long may that continue!

Are you a prolific songwriter?

I guess I’m a songwriter above all else (and as much as I love performing) so yeah, I guess you could call me prolific. I start new songs all the time, but I think I’ve become more picky about which songs I finish now. I also love writing while I’m out on tour, so I expect to be writing a load more over the coming months, as I set off around the UK.

I love the video that goes with Shake it Up. Are you still a busker at heart?

Thanks. As it happens, I’ve never really enjoyed busking per se, but I do love spreading happiness and creativity through my live show, and that was the thought process behind the video. I wanted to take that element of my show out on to the streets, so Mike (who directed, shot and edited it) and I went out in to Bristol city centre with all manner of instruments (mostly egg shakers, which also get handed out during most of my gigs).

What was the first single you bought with your own money?

I don’t actually remember, I’ve always preferred albums to singles, so I do remember that 'We Can’t Dance' by Genesis was my first album purchase.

Biggest crowd you've played to? And smallest?

The biggest was probably when I supported The Bluetones in Bristol last year. I’ve loved the band since the mid 90s so that was a special moment for me.  I’m pretty sure every experienced band has that one gig where literally no-one turns up, mine was with my old band The Haiku when we played to just the sound man, even the support band left before we took to the stage.

Where's all this leading to - plays on local radio or global domination?

Probably, and hopefully, somewhere in between. I tour the country (and Internationally) because I don’t want to get stuck in the 'local circuit', as much as I love my local area and the support they give me. I have confidence that my music is universally enjoyable, so I naturally want to get it to as many people as possible. I’m not sure I want celebrity status though for myself though, it’s the songs that are the real stars.

Beatles or Stones?

Beatles every time. I do enjoy the Stones, but The Beatles contained three of the most amazing songwriters that have ever lived.

Sweaty rock club or festival?

I enjoy both but festival just about edges this, I like the choice and the relaxed atmosphere.

Superstitious? Any rituals before gigs?

It’s boring but my pre-gig activities are mostly practical, the clearance of the bladder and the vocalzone (or Fisherman’s Friend) vocal lozenge to clear the airways. While I don’t really get 'nervous' I do get restless in the 15/30 minutes before a show, so there tends to be a lot of pacing involved.

The song you wished you'd written?

Too many to mention, I love so many songs. Most of Neil Finn’s back catalogue, and plenty of Ben Folds' songs.

Tell me something you've never told another living soul.

Does it have to be true? Haha! I genuinely can’t think of anything, I’m a ridiculously open person and I probably share way too much.

A big thank you to Phil for taking the time. His plans for world domination continue apace - see his evergrowing list of up and coming gigs - he's well worth a detour.