We’ve seen Kent native, Will Joseph Cook, grow rapidly this year, holding two successful EP’s under his belt and the #2 spot on Spotify’s Global Viral Chart. As Cook’s sound emerges alongside his own personal strides, one thing remains certain in his music- the young Kentman never loses touch with himself.
Cook caught our ears last year with “Hearse” and of course, “Daisy Chains,” and resurfaced a lost art in natural-born storytelling. Effortless fluidity of the lyrics always made a listener feel close, normal, and genuinely happy. Key elements for not only a well-rounded individual, but an artist who is always looking on the brighter side of life.
This year, Cook’s sound has expanded with his singles, “Girls Like Me” and more notably, the video for “Take Me Dancing.” Carefree melodies wisps a listener away, and pulls one in closer with its addictive indie-pop sound. The addictive sound was enough for Joel Wolf Alice to lend an electronic remix on the track, and still hold to Cook’s intent.
Regardless of what genre Cook is backed by, from Indie-pop to a heartfelt, stripped down approach on a guitar, Cook’s personality that bleeds from his music trumps him as an artist to watch closely this year. In between a hectic schedule, Cook set some time aside for a small chat and discussed his recent releases.
You recently released two singles this year, “Girls Like Me” and “Take Me Dancing.” Compared to your previous EP’s there seems to be a shift in sound with the current tracks, highlighting more pop elements. Is this an intentional direction “change?”
I would say it has been more of a development rather than an abrupt change. With tracks like “Beach” and “Streets of Paris,” off the EP’s, there’s a clear upbeat pop sound to them. EP’s were great for experimenting but I think the album, including the last two tracks, is me finding my stride in terms of writing and aesthetic.
More recently, the video for “Take Me Dancing” was just released- tell me a little bit about the inspiration behind the video.
The main idea was to take something really ordinary and sterile and then transform it into the set for something exciting and emotional. The song is about focusing on the moment and what happens if you stop saying “no” to yourself, I wanted the video to reflect that.
You seem very “hands on” with your videos- do you personally collaborate on ideas for videos, or simply go with the flow and improvise?
There’s definitely a lot of improv, as you can tell from some of my shapes. Some of my favourite scenes from the ‘Take Me Dancing’ video were the ones I was pushing to get done in the last 10 minutes of the shoot. I like to go in with an overarching concept but also have the freedom to let ideas just come to me when we are filming.
I’ve always had a serious outlook on yourself when I first began listening to your music last year…then I got to witness the video for “Girls Like Me.” I must say, not only did I laugh throughout the whole video, but found it a refreshing side. Are you usually this comical, or would you like to be taken more seriously with your music?
Thanks! Glad you enjoyed the video. I do and will always take the music seriously. Every time I sit down to write I’m striving to create something emotive and biographical that I feel committed too. Music videos are a good way to give the whole thing a bit more duality. My favourite artists are the ones that can lift me up but also resonate with me if I’m really down. The happy-sad balance is the most relevant to how life actually feels, so I’m always trying to channel that.
What’s the most embarrassing thing you’ve done on a date that you’d like to share? –since we’re on the topic of “Girls Like Me.”
Most of the good stories are NSFW so, no comment.
This year has been good to you so far, with successful singles and upcoming shows, like “Reading Leads” this summer, did you expect any of this when you first began making music?
Not at all, I think it would have been weird if I had. Some experiences have been very surreal, meeting and playing with some of my idols been the most special I think. A band like Everything Everything, who I went to see countless times, offering me support dates would have melted 14 year old Will’s brain.
Why do you make music? Or better yet, what do you want to get across as an artist?
I’m in it for fairly simply reasons. It’s therapeutic to create and I want people to feel the same about my music as I do about the artists that inspire me. I’m a positive person and I want that to come across through the music.
I’ve noticed similar elements in your songs when they touch on “heart-pulling” scenarios. With this said, if you had to give advice for anyone going through hard times, what would it be?
Look up at the night sky and stare into the infinite expanse of space. That should confuse you enough to forget why you were sad.