While it was technically released in April, Will Joseph Cook's Sweet Dreamer album is oozing with summertime ambiance from start to finish.
The 18-year old English singer/songwriter has garnered much praise for his catchy hooks and uplifting indie-pop production, while he maintains that the album's themes are "catharsis and honesty." This artistic paradox embodies the core essence of Cook's appeal: the music remains genuine without depressing its listeners. Sweet Dreamer was produced by Cook himself with additional contributions from Hugh Worskett (Birdy, Rae Morris) and Bombay Bicycle Club’s Jack Steadman.
We chatted with the young rising singer about his debut album, current European tour, other talented up & comers, and more.
OTW: You were part of this year's TOPMAN ON TOUR WITH NME–how was that experience?
WJC: It was great! I was really gassed to come back to the towns we played. Sheffield and Leeds were particularly good.
OTW: Do you have any backstage rituals to prepare before a gig?
WJC: Sometimes we meditate in a circle, especially if it’s a big show, then we do shots.
OTW: This year you'll also be playing your largest headlining tour to date. What can your fans expect to see when you hit the stage?
WJC: I have been working on the light show a lot more which has been wicked, so expect big things for the London Heaven show. I’m also working on something conceptual for the intro. I want to tie the live show to the videos more.
OTW: Congrats on Sweet Dreamer! What does it feel like to release your debut album?
WJC: Really, really good. I still double take when I see them up online. The tunes have lived on my hard drive for so long, kind of feels like they’ve leaked.
OTW: Is there a certain idea or theme that links the tracks in the album together? What is its personal significance to you?
WJC: The songs are mostly biographical, about times and feelings I’ve experienced over the past few years. In terms of theme, it’s catharsis and honesty. All the tracks have a duality to them, if the track sounds optimistic there is always one line that then cuts that down and vice versa.
OTW: What was it like working with Bombay Bicycle Club's Jack Steadman?
WJC: It was really special to create music with someone I’ve admired for so long. Watching Bombay perform when I was 14 was one of my first live experiences.
OTW: What was the inspiration behind your single, "Biggest Fan?"
WJC: It’s about a long distance relationship, maintained through poorly connected face time calls. I also thought that the fan concept would be fun to turn on its head for a love song.
OTW: What's your favorite lyric you've written so far?
WJC: I really like "Treat Me Like a Lover's" opening lyrics:
I’m gonna take a run through the cemetery for the therapy,
Seems to always clear my head,
Got so sick of all the wondering,
So let’s change the pace,
Guess you could call it a graveyard shift.
OTW: Tell us something that most people wouldn't know about you.
WJC: I recorded some of my first every recordings at Jeff Beck’s house. He lives in the village I went to school in and liked my songs.
OTW: What do you want your legacy to be? What can we expect from you going forward?
WJC: Great songs hopefully. I just want to keep on recording and making the kind of music I want to hear.
OTW: Who are three artists on your Ones To Watch list and why?
WJC: Okudaxij - super real, unfiltered and creative songs.
Parcels - understated floor fillers and great aesthetic.
Vasser - very talented young producer/writer.