Phil Cooper

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Every Monday we will be bringing you interviews with unsigned UK or Ireland artists for Independent Music Monday. Recently we caught up with unsigned Wiltshire singer Phil Cooper to find out more…

Where are you from and how did you first get into music?
I've lived my whole life in West Wiltshire, not far from Bath and come from a musical family. My Dad and older brother both play guitar so I grew up with it and it was perfectly natural for me to start playing when I inherited my brother's old guitar. I was interested in song-writing from the first moment I could string two chords together.

Who were your musical influences when you were growing up and who are your influences now?
My dad was in a Rock n Roll band when I was really young, so I heard a lot of that sort of thing and I learned to play guitar by playing along to Buddy Holly songs. As I got older and started to find my own musical way, I discovered Woodface by Crowded House, which is a constant favourite to this day. Then of course there was the mid 90s Britpop stuff which happened during my teenage years.

These days I find myself drawn to intelligent pop-rock songwriters. People like Squeeze, Elvis Costello, Ben Folds and even Billy Joel.

How would you describe your sound?
I do get compared to Crowded House and Squeeze a lot, so I guess that's the sound. It's melodic guitar pop with meaningful lyrics.

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What is your latest release called and what was the influence behind it?
The latest single is called If The Glove Fits. It's a bit of an anomaly for me, because I don't tend to write a lot of happy love songs, which is what this one is. It's inspired by that comfortable feeling you get when you're in love with someone who it's easy to be with. You can be yourself totally, and the relationship isn't hard work in any way.

What’s your local music scene like?
It's a very small scene in West Wiltshire, but there are a lot of talented people who are all very supportive of each other. My new single features two local songwriters (Jamie R Hawkins and Tamsin Quin) on backing vocals, which shows how friendly the scene is! Of course I'm not that far from Bristol either, which is a highly vibrant scene.

What do you have planned for the next 12 months? Any albums or festivals?
I'm currently touring the UK with my Canadian friend LG Breton, and when that's done I'm going to spend a lot of time writing. I released an album last year, which was well received, but the modern music industry seems to be more about singles, so I'll be concentrating on those. I'll be continuing to regularly update my YouTube channel which I do every Sunday, with regular live streamed concerts on Wednesday evenings too.

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Is there anyone you’d love to collaborate with?
Collaboration is a fairly new thing for me, but I'm starting to do more and more (I'm writing with LG throughout this current tour). I would love to pick Neil Finn's brain, and Ben Folds would be great to work with I think.

Any funny stories surrounding your live performances?
At a lot of my shows I hand out egg shakers for the audience to join in. At one show we had a guy in a balaclava who decided he would bring his egg shaker on stage with us, and spent an entire song standing in the centre of the stage, as still as a statue except for the hand that was shaking the egg shaker with a real sense of purpose. It was hilarious and I struggled to sing for laughter.

What is the one thing that you want readers to know about you?
My whole ethos is about music as a social event. As a proudly independent artist (I'm very happy keeping away from record companies and do things my way), it is my audience that makes me who I am, and they deserve as much of my attention as I can spare, so you'll always find me chatting on social media and I'd love to hear from anyone who wants to be a part of my little (but growing) community.

You can find out more about Phil and his music on his website or via Facebook, Instagram, Spotify, Twitter or YouTube.