Will Joseph Cook
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Will Joseph Cook

Royal Tunbridge Wells, England, United Kingdom | Established. Jan 01, 2015 | MAJOR

Royal Tunbridge Wells, England, United Kingdom | MAJOR
Established on Jan, 2015
Solo Pop Indie


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"Next Wave #650 - Will Joseph Cook"

Will Joseph Cook is young – like, really young. Incredibly young. Quite, quite disgustingly young. Finally finishing high school a matter of weeks before this interview, the 18 year old Kentish newcomer is relieved that his love of music won't be restricted to weekends, in service days and holiday periods.

“It's so good to be finished!” he exclaims. “It was weird, because it was more my brother who was into collecting CDs and all that when we were younger, and it was only until I was a teenager that I really got into it.”

Picking up the guitar at the age of 13, Will began writing songs almost immediately. A tool, a vessel for his feelings, music has followed him through his adolescence, becoming first a hobby and then an obsession. Finding a like mind in producer Hugh Worskett, the pair recently completed enthralling new EP 'Proof Enough'.

“It was fairly instantaneous,” he reflects. “We like the same music, he's passionate about what we're doing so it works really well. It wasn't until then that I found something that really worked. And it enabled all my ideas, rather than a producer trying to inject too much of their own influence.”

Snapped up by Atlantic, the teenage talent is remarkably well-grounded for someone who has had such a remarkable 12 month journey. “It was actually last May that I signed my deal with them,” the singer recalls. “It was really natural. I'm friends with my A&R and, for a major, they're just letting me do what I want, embracing my vision of what I want the tracks to sound like. They're fairly laissez faire, they let me get on with it. It's been great.”

Vast pop songs with a human touch, 'Proof Enough' is, well, proof enough that – in the case of Will Joseph Cook – if they're good enough then they're old enough. Dexterous, ambitious and mature, the material is the work of an artist who is deeply independent and knows exactly he wants. “I think if you're calling yourself a singer-songwriter then you've got to remember the second half of your name,” he states. “I've never been into co-writes or anything like that.”

Taking his music out to the world, Will Joseph Cook has linked up with London duo Deafkid for his live shows. It's stripped down but hugely promising, the pair providing a new percussive skeletal for Will to flesh out with that golden, rippling voice. “I've played with a few set ups over the past few years, from just mates playing with me to other musicians that I need to work with. But right now I'm with Deafkid. I'm looking to get more players because at the moment it's just out of necessity that it's the three of us, in terms of being able to fit everything in the back of a Fiat Panda...” he says, laughing gently. “But it's really good. It's nice working with these guys.” - Clash Magazine

"Will Joseph Cook - Proof Enough EP"

Already burdened with the wunderkind sobriquet by publicists and industry types, Kent lad Will Joseph Cook's recent support slots alongside the likes of the Rolling Stones and Tom Odell would suggest it's a tag not without warrant. Cook first came to attention as a 17-year-old when his hook-heavy You Jump I Run EP left Kendrick Lamar's To Pimp a Butterfly magnum opus in the shade to snag the top spot on the Hype Machine charts. Just four months on and 2,000,000 odd Spotify plays later, Cook has returned with the follow-up Proof Enough EP, his first since signing to the major label Atlantic.

Cooks well of influences runs deep (Radiohead, Joni Mitchell... Darwin Deez) and a cursory stalk of his Twitter feed seems to flag up a jadedness for Britpop, which let's face it, can be no bad thing. Opening track Hearse showcases some technical finger plucked palm-mutes, a quasi-rap verse and a lush falsetto chorus reminiscent of Adam Levine at his most infuriatingly catchy, with Cook sounding decidedly nonplussed about the end of his relationship ("stone cold, where did my feelings go, did they blow away with the wind"?)

Written from the perspective of a call centre worker on the cusp of a vocational breakdown, 'A Minute Of Your Time' comes across as wishy-washy acoustic fare up until its rocking chorus which bursts into life with the ferocity of a nine to five worker who's finally cracked by smashing a keyboard through his laptop monitor. The sunny synths and pop hooks of 'Beach' is the most obvious single from the EP; Cook's sanguine deliveries not a million miles away from the recent output of Only Real, while the floaty melodies on the closing title track again highlights the singer's neat range.

If You Jump I Run announced Cook's arrival, here he proves that it was no fluke. It might be more of the same, but there's a technicality and creativity on show that belies his years. What the future holds is anyone's guess, but on this evidence it's doubtful to involve call centre work. - The 405

"Stateside smashes? Five musical acts trying to break through in 2015"

With influences that run the gamut from Radiohead to Joni Mitchell, Will Joseph Cook’s musical maturity is well beyond his 18 years. “Most of my ideas will just come to me at inconvenient times and I tend to just record them into my phone,” the England native said of his songwriting process, which usually involves his trusty acoustic guitar. “Lyrics always seem to come last; a few phrases stick along the way, but I find it a lot easier to know what I want to sing about once some arrangement is down.”

However Cook goes about crafting his tracks, it seems to be working. After uploading a few videos of covers and originals to YouTube, he began to garner the interest of the industry, which just recently led him to getting signed by Atlantic Records. “Everything came together quite fast,” he explained, especially after the internet success of the song Message, which is about the “gross but also comfortable feeling of nostalgia”. Now Cook says he’s looking forward to festival season next summer and putting together his next EP – but first, he has to finish school in June. “I just want to keep writing and recording to make the following months as good as they can be.” - The Guardian


Still working on that hot first release.


Feeling a bit camera shy


“I’ve jammed with people who have been like, ‘You can’t put that chord there because that’s where you want it to go’,” states Will Joseph Cook as a look of disgust sweeps across his face. “So you’re saying that you want to make music that leaves you bereft and unsatisfied?”


It’s a snappy retort that sees the 18-year-old grin with relief. It’s just one example of how the Tunbridge Wells resident doesn’t conform to expectations. Yes, he’s a singer-songwriter who fills his lyrics with tales of his own experiences and emotions, but that doesn’t mean that he thinks pop is a dirty word.


“I can listen to a Taylor Swift smasher and know that it’s a great song,” he continues. “Pop usually doesn’t hide what it is and that’s refreshing. If someone calls you a pop act, it’s like being told that you write good songs.”


Cook’s initial calling card came with the You Jump I Run EP which was released on London indie label Duly Noted Records. Its lead track Message provided his breakthrough as it powered to #1 at Hype Machine, reached #2 on the Global Spotify Viral Chart and received Radio 1 airplay from Phil Taggart. Its enduring popularity has continued to the point where it has accumulated over a million plays across Spotify and YouTube.


Message is about some of Cook’s friends. “People that you want to make new memories with, but they’re constantly focused on everything that happened before,” he explains with mock exasperation. “But we’re just getting to the good bit now. School’s shit, you want to get out and do your own thing. People gold-plate the past because they’ve glorified their memories.”


The rest of the EP echoed the success of Message. Both Daisy Chains and Streets of Paris earned further support from Radio 1, while Daisy Chain also topped Hype Machine. Cook’s ability to subvert teenage subject matter also continued. Daisy Chains found him musing on a bad trip, while the unashamedly romantic Streets of Paris offered “a realisation of being happy… It’s a ‘fuck you’ to the usual feelings of teenage angst.”


When it came to recording a follow-up, Cook teamed up with producer Hugh Worskett (Crystal Fighters, Rae Morris) in a tiny studio at The Biscuit Factory in Bermondsey. Their sessions would be scheduled around weekends and half-term breaks due to the demands of Cook’s studies. The experience, says Cook, was “a weird juxtaposition of doing a twelve-hour day in the studio on a Sunday, and then going to school and having someone younger than your producer treat you like a little kid.”


Such an episodic creative timetable did have some advantages, however. As both Cook and Worskett would be well aware that their next session together could be weeks away, they’d strive ahead with an urgency that would allow their material to develop from skeletal ideas to fully-fledged songs at a lightning pace.


The result is the Proof Enough EP which represents his first release for Atlantic Records. Lead track Beach captures Cook’s love of a soaring vocal hook, with his anglicised take on “Weezer and all of those millennial grunge bands” backing a lyrical love story that is set within the confines of Guantánamo Bay.


Elsewhere, Hearse uses funereal imagery as an analogy for a break-up which unfolded in Cook’s life as he wrote the song, while Minute of Your Time blends a trashy retro-rock riff with his acoustic grooves for a tale of a call centre worker who “has been driven mad by having to pick up the phone the whole time.” By contrast, the title track is stripped down to a voice and a guitar – it’s an intimate aspect of Cook’s sound that he feels is important to demonstrate at this stage of his career.


Inspired by the likes of Vampire Weekend, Phoenix, MGMT and The Eels, Cook first took up guitar at the age of thirteen and played his debut gig a year later. His influences soon expanded to encompass everything from Paul Simon, Darwin Deez and Empire of the Sun via Odd Future, Photek and Bonobo.


Cook has been consistently backed by BBC Introducing, both nationally and by Abbie McCarthy in Kent. That support led to Cook’s biggest break so far when he played Glastonbury just days after finishing his final exams. It followed a succession of notable live shows including the British Summer Time Festival in Hyde Park on a bill that was headlined by The Rolling Stones; the Secret Garden Party; a gig with Tom Odell; and special headline show at the Servant Jazz Quarters.


Will Joseph Cook’s journey is firmly underway. His singular cocktail of pop hooks, richly characteristic lyrics and idiosyncratic inventiveness will send him stratospheric.

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