Interview: Hein Cooper

There’s a new voice in the ever-growing indie-pop scene; It belongs to Australian singer-songwriter, Hein Cooper, who released his debut album, The Art of Escape, this past April. His music – full of acoustic melodies and catchy choruses – has led him to tour around the world with the likes of James Bay & Peter Bjorn and John.

But, while he may be Australian, Hein Cooper has strong ties to Montreal. After having been discovered by Franz Schuller, Half Moon Run‘s manager, he was signed to Montreal-based Indica Records to produce his first album with Marcus Paquin (Arcade Fire, Hey Rosetta!, Local Natives).

Last week, Hein Cooper, the Australian singer-songwriter opened up for Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros at Metropolis. We sat down with him after his opening performance to chat about his love for the Montreal music scene, Radiohead and what’s to come next.

APRIL: We’re sitting with Hein Cooper for Confront Magazine. So, you played an awesome show tonight! Tell us about it.

HEIN COOPER: Thanks! Yeah, it was great. There was such a good vibe in there. When you’re up on stage along with just your guitar, that’s so important for me. I actually met the band [Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros] back in Australia at a festival. We all went down to the beach together and surfed and had a great time. It was such a good day. This was a bit of a reunion.

APRIL: That must have been pretty cool. So, you mentioned you’re a one-man show on stage right now. Any pros or cons about that? Do you like being up on stage alone?

HEIN COOPER: Pros, it’s cheaper to tour with one man. There’s more control – I’m more in control of my sound. I literally create everything that happens. It’s more of this individual, unique thing. But then at the same time, there’s nothing better than just having a bass player and a drummer behind to just get a proper vibe going. There’s this element of familiarity for me because the thing is I’m playing a support for Edward Sharpe so most people have bought tickets to go see Edward Sharpe. Basically, it’s like I’m meeting all these people for the first time, so I have no level of familiarity and when you have a band with a couple people you know, it’s much easier to get comfortable.

APRIL: Is that something you’d want to do in the future?

HEIN COOPER: For sure. Yeah, definitely. Just drum and bass is what I need.

APRIL: So, you’re obviously Australian, given the accent. But your label is based out of Montreal. How would you say the audiences differ in Montreal vs. Sydney or Melbourne?

HEIN COOPER: I think that Quebec is like nowhere else in the world. There’s this weird mixture of cultures altogether. People really love music in Montreal and Quebec. I think it’s pretty special here. I would compare it most here to Melbourne in Australia. People get really behind music in Melbourne and it’s a very fertile place and it’s a lot harder in Sydney. But, I really love being here.

APRIL: What do you think about the rest of the Canadian music scene?

HEIN COOPER: I’ve played a bunch of shows in Toronto and that was pretty cool, but I definitely think there’s something special about Montreal and Quebec.

APRIL: I definitely agree, although, I’m kind of bias. So, I always ask this one: If you could play on stage with anyone, who would you perform with?

HEIN COOPER: Well, my favorite band is Radiohead, I think. I’d definitely like to do something with them.

APRIL: Yeah, they’re actually going to be in Montreal soon at Osheaga. I’m pretty stoked to see them. What do you think of their new album?

HEIN COOPER: Um… I haven’t listened to it yet. I don’t like listening to a record when there’s all this buzz around it because I kind of lose sight about what the record is about with that buzz. So even though I’m late and people will be like “oh, he’s totally not with it” for me, it’s special when I find the time and the right moment where I’m like “it’s just me and this record right now.” And then I just play it day-in and day-out.

APRIL: Yeah, I definitely know that on-repeat feeling. So, when you’re not producing, recording or performing music, where can we find you?

HEIN COOPER: Eating food or surfing. I’m watching surfing all the time.CONFRONT: That’s a big Australian favorite, although it’s also a massive stereotype.

APRIL: That’s a big Australian favorite, although it’s also a massive stereotype.

HEIN COOPER: Oh yeah! I know. But it’s true. But I watch it all day long, every day.

APRIL: So last question: Following your summer touring, what do you plan to do afterward?

HEIN COOPER: There’s another tour that I’ve been offered, but I can’t say where that is yet. Basically, I’m going to tour until the end of the year. Then, I think I’m going to take a full month off in Australia because I’ve just been touring since February. I’m going to go home to my family, my brother and my friends and just chill out. That’s the plan, for the whole month of December. And then I think I will start to think about recording a new record because I’ve got all these new songs.

APRIL: Well we definitely look forward to it! Thank you so much for sitting down with me today.

HEIN COOPER: No worries!

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This interview was originally conducted for and published on Confront Magazine, which closed it’s digital doors on January 1st 2017.


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