What Do You Mean You Haven’t Heard Of: Will Joseph Cook


Will Joseph Cook

Hails from:
Tunbridge Wells, Kent

Image taken from Facebook.com/Will Joseph Cook, photo by Pheobe Fox

Will straddles the line between indie and pop, what a lot of people would describe as ‘alternative’ – however vague that might sound.

Three words to describe:
Upbeat, feel-good bangers!

Make your case:
Recently, Will Joseph Cook announced that after a radio-silence lasting since 2017 he is releasing more music. Not much else in music over the last year has excited me this much. But no-one else seems to share my enthusiasm, or even know who he is.
This doesn’t seem right to me, as Will is, I believe, one of the best talents in the indie-pop genre and deserves to be absolutely massive. Obviously his music is brilliant, or I wouldn’t be bothered writing this; the production and instrumentals are always spot-on. What is the major selling point is himself. There is an integrity to Will that is uncommon among the vapid, empty emotion of the mainstream music and even in a lot of the new indie-pop artists.
You can see this in the music, Will writes openly about loneliness, love (from various perspectives) and addiction in a playful manner, showing off his ability and intelligence by fitting some pretty complex words into intricate melodies. This openness is continued by communication with his fans, Will started a podcast just to keep people updated on his long-awaited second album, and the playfulness comes from his normality. Will is just an ordinary 23-year-old who is able to do exactly what he wants, and enjoys doing it – rendering his music a joy to listen to because it’s so obvious that he enjoyed making it.

What playlist on your iTunes/Spotify Library should they be on?:
Any playlist of music that aims to make you feel happy and to dance around a bit and sing into a hairbrush. It isn’t hard enough for a club, but there are infectious melodies that would be right at home on any summer playlist for barbecues and days in the sun with a crate of cheap beer or cider.

Early Influences:
I’ve been lucky enough to interview the man himself in the past, and the thing that really comes across is that Will Joseph Cook is Will Joseph Cook. He is a creator and an innovator in the sense that he has always been one to write a song rather than cover or play someone else’s, even when first learning to play, dismissing it simply because “it isn’t as fun”. Sound-wise, fun is exactly what is created; think Two Door Cinema Club and Bombay Bicycle Club – but in one single man. You can also sense the influence of the likes of David Bowie through Will’s persona, partly through his ‘metrosexual’ use of make-up from time to time, but also through the sheer individuality. It’s clear to see that subscription to his indie style isn’t a stylistic or fashionable choice, it is merely what he wants to do. This continues to his music, the occasional growling tone to his vocals suggest honesty, reality and personality.

Favourite Album/Project:
Having only released one album and a couple of EPs this is a relatively simple choice. Will’s debut album ‘Sweet Dreamer’ is an impeccable piece: every song works brilliantly both as a standalone and within the collective. What is central to Will Joseph Cook is his sound: the production is slick, making the guitars sound almost synthetic and the vocals are almost identical to hearing them live. The light and shade of the album is also really delicately done for an artist so bombastic in their song-writing. The often dark or unhappy themes and themes are dealt with with a playful resignation to reality, where the music acts as a cathartic and euphoric release.

Stop what you’re doing and listen to this:
If I was a purist I would say ‘Daisy Chains’ or ‘Message’ from his first EP, to give an impression of Will Joseph Cook at his rawest. But I’m not. Instead I implore you to listen to ‘Plastic’.

This song is everything that is good about Will: the opening chords seem nothing special but as soon as they are interrupted by the drum track you’re pulled head-first into the song. Partly this is because of Will’s slightly removed presence which demands attention rather than offering it, but it fits perfectly with the meaning of the song: exploring loneliness and the transactional nature of modern relationships.

Facebook: facebook.com/Will Joseph Cook
Instagram/Twitter: @willjosephcook
Also check out Will’s ‘Bad Hotel’ Podcast, available on Spotify and Apple Podcasts, as well as the rest of his back catalogue!

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