Growing up in Milton, New South Whales, Hein Cooper found his musical grounds in high school and has not stopped growing since. His imaginary lyrics mixed with his acoustic guitar has seen him be snatched up by Indica Records, and record his debut EP with Marcus Paquin. We caught up with Hein really quickly to get to know the guy behind the guitar a bit better.
Hi! Could you introduce yourself please:
Hello! I’m Hein Cooper. A musician and song-writer from Milton in New South Wales.
When did you start getting into music? And how?
When I went through Primary school I was not a fan of music. However I think this was because of my music teacher (she was very uninspiring). When I transitioned into high school I moved with my family to another town, made new friends and had a new fresh spin on everything. My best friend (at the time) and I were very competitive early through high school. One day he bought an acoustic guitar and started playing. So naturally I became interested and bought my first guitar. I continued to learn all the songs he was playing in an attempt to get better than him. In the process I realised that I was very quickly becoming obsessed with this new hobby and so I continued and the rest is history. He actually stopped playing later on.
Where did you learn to play guitar? Lessons? Self-taught? Just somehow randomly discovered you could play?
After a small time playing music with my friend in high school I started getting lessons from an older blues musician in my hometown. I would tell him the songs I wanted to learn and he would teach me them! I never doubted my ability to play them. I would play them horribly for a couple of months before they sounded any good, but for me I got kicks out of it even if it was messy at the time. So I think that belief was what allowed me to excel with my playing. I still think the same way about music.
I hear similar sounds to Jeff Buckley. Who are your most favourite artists that influence you the most to make music?
Interesting. Radiohead is at the top of the list, and apparently Thom Yorke was inspired by Jeff Buckley, so (because I actually haven’t listened to Jeff Buckley that much) I think that I’ve second hand smoked him through Radiohead.
However I’m touring a lot at the moment and a large amount of people at my shows have also told me that I sound like Buckley, so I’ve listened to his record recently and I find it incredible. Other artists that inspire me are Beck, Bon Iver, James Blake, Ben Khan, The Tallest Man on Earth and of course the Beatles.
I see you did a lot of recording in Canada. How did you get to meet Marcus Paquin?
I met Marcus Paquin through my manager Franz Schuller. Schuller sent Paquin some of my demos and Marcus agreed to collab on my EP.
Are there similar musical influences in Australia compared to Canada? For example, is the acoustic a very popular genre there like it is in Australia? Same music taste, or completely different?
There is definitely a similar taste in music between Australia and Canada. And this is not just with music, the culture and energy of people is very similar as well. I can’t make my mind up about which place I like more. So I keep bouncing back and forth from the two. The good thing is that there are subtle differences, which is what keeps each place interesting and unique from each other.
Your EP is set to release (or will be released when we publish this interview) – can you tell us what your influences for this EP is? Just going off the song list names, it seems like it is about fantasy? Escapism?
Escapism and fantasy are definitely the driving forces behind the EP. This is the world I live in. I believe the season that you’re born into reflects you most as a person. I was born in autumn, when Australia transforms into an awe-inspiring environment where you can really feel nature at its full force. The winds pick up and the days become shorter. It is an introspective time. I think a lot, and I dream and fantasise as well. And I’m obsessive.
The title track ‘The Art of Escape’ is my dreaming fighting against reality. It’s my idealistic mind being manipulated by the confines of the physical world. ‘The Real’ is similar in that it’s a call to live and breathe my fantasies and break free from the hold of society. I was brought up with a very fortunate setting, in the country with enough to live comfortably with two balanced loving parents and a brother. I was brought up to believe this was the way things are everywhere, and that I would live like this forever.
However, moving to the city when I finished school and paving a career, travelling and struggling has shown me otherwise. Seeing and hearing about the endless travesties in this world is what has inspired ‘The Real’ and ‘Luna Sky’. It is about staying true amongst the corruption and pain.
Where can we see Hein cooper play next?
The Basement (Sydney, Australia) April 10th
Marmalade Skies Festival (Goulburn, Australia) April 11th
Teledon-Saint Eustache (Broisband, Canada) 24th April
Bar le Chacha (ste Therese, Canada) 2nd May
Theatre Petite Champlain (Quebec, Canada) 3rd May
Sala Rossa (Montreal, Canada) 4th May
Burdock (CMW) (Toronto, Canada) 6th May
Supermarket Restaurant and Bar (CMW) (Toronto, Canada) 7th May