Following his amazing show at the Rescue Rooms, JP Cooper was kind enough to talk to us on his day off recording his debut album.
How did it feel to be back in Nottingham?
It felt amazing. As far as my records go I haven’t got loads of radio play. I mean there was the ‘Perfect Strangers’ thing but other than that I haven’t had loads of extra promo over the summer so going on this tour I didn’t really know what the ticket sales would be like. Last time I was in Nottingham we only sold about 100 tickets [or] something like that. We almost quadrupled that last night. So I’m so so happy man it’s just really good to see that growth. I’m buzzing and it’s been like that for the rest of the tour, great turn out. Yeah, I’m a happy boy.
“Ah man, I’m really grateful”
Last night during the gig you mentioned Perfect Stranger and how you were skeptical about doing the song. How do you feel about it now?
Ah man, I’m really grateful. I mean I’m learning all the time, learning to be humble in what I do and just to do everything with a smile on my face rather than over thinking everything. It’s opened a lot of doors, especially internationally for me. I remember talking to the A&R guy about whether this was a right move for me and I shook his hand the other day because we did the right thing and uh yeah… definitely grateful for it.
Due to your style you’ve got a lot of different collaborations, from Jonas Blue to Bonkaz, will there be that kind of diversity in features on the album?
To be honest there are no features on the album. The first album I thought I should be selfish and make it all about me haha. But yeah collaborations are something I’m going to be doing a hell of a lot more; I’m going to be releasing a series on YouTube which is basically going to be about collaborations. But obviously we’re super busy with the album campaign at the minute, I’ve been squeezing them in. We’ve done the first one and we’ve got a lot more. There’s also some collaborations on some songs that haven’t been released yet, but over next 12 months, there’ll be some more interesting ones from grime to drum’n’bass to more spoken word. There’s some really exciting collaborations coming along.
Your style varies from Gospel to Indie, you played ‘Runnin’ and it reminded me of Jammin, how much soul are we gonna get on the album?
Oh, there’s a lot. There’s a lot. You’ll hear some straight up soul moments in there. There’s also a few more just straight up beautiful piano tracks where I’ve started off guitar based and then replaced it with the piano and put the guitar down which is something I’ve started doing on this tour. It’s really nice to put the guitar down and just sing the best I can rather than try and part it with the way I’m playing guitar. But yeah there’s a hell of a lot of straight soul in there. But the main thing is the lyrical content, the vocal delivery, the honesty of the whole thing. The record touches on a lot of things, there’s moments of hip hop production, moments of organic soul coming through so yeah, it’s an absolutely beautiful album. I’m really happy with it and I just can’t wait to get it out really.
“So I think it’s just about trying to find that perfect collaboration of giving the radios what’s gonna work on their playlists whilst still pushing the boundaries and hopefully, once those doors are open I can do whatever the hell I want.”
What was the process of making the album? In terms of creating the album do you do everything yourself or do you have a producer that helps?
I didn’t really have a strong vision back then in terms of the sound of what I want on the record. So I built up an amazing relationship with a Finnish writer and producer, so I actually recorded most of the album in Finland… So in terms of control if I say no it’s a no there’s no kind of… but there are voices in your ear from the label with a better understanding I mean with the climate that we’re in with radio and Spotify playlists and things like this having control over how many people listen to your music, so there’s been an element especially with the singles we’ve decided to put out. For me, there’s some songs that are on there that I just consider to be a bit of fun and we can tailor it a bit to that world. So I”d say 20% of the record is like that, 80% is from the bottom of my heart how I want it to sound so I’m really happy with that being on a major label, not only that the singles I’m really happy with them as well but there has to be an understanding of the arena we’re playing in moving forward. Hopefully, we’ve made the right decisions because it’s just incredibly difficult to break as a new artist at the minute. So many people making amazing music at the minute and putting it out. So I think it’s just about trying to find that perfect collaboration of giving the radios what’s gonna work on their playlists whilst still pushing the boundaries and hopefully, once those doors are open I can do whatever the hell I want.
What’s it been like recording in Finland?
It’s been amazing actually. I was in a tiny little studio, it’s not like a big recording studio. It’s a home studio and he used to be in quite a big Finnish band and he’s had success with other collaborations over the years so he has this beautiful house in the forest overlooking the Baltic Sea and it’s absolutely stunning so to look out the studio window and see the nature and stuff it’s been just so easy to focus out there, not getting people from the label dropping by and people in the next room, you know things like that. We basically wake up in the morning and work until we’re ready to go to bed with a few games of table tennis in between and it’s been absolutely amazing to get away from everything and say “alright we’re working now” and every now and again go and sit down by the beach, drink a beer and listen to mixes. It’s been beautiful.
Just to give the fans something to look forward to, could you describe the album?
It’s gonna be a record where there’s almost something for everybody. There’s a track on there that anybody from anywhere would like. It’s a broad spectrum of pace and emotion but it’s overall just a beautiful piece of work. There’s a lot of unreleased material on there that I haven’t even started playing live yet, and there’s heartbreaking moments on there, there’s moments of great joy, of reflection… That’s the best way I can put it.
I’ll let you get back to your day of rest, thank you for talking to me.
Nice one buddy you have a good day yeah.
Image courtesy of JP Cooper via Facebook