When I first started my blog, I had a secret ultimate goal: that one lucky day I may get to interview my favourite singer. Unbelievably, this dream has now come true! With my biggest gratitude and enormous pride, I present you the biggest rock star to be a guest on my blog: the ultra talented American musician DC Cooper.
– Thanks very much for doing this! I know how busy you are and I am sure you have tonnes of stuff to do, rather than sit here talking to me!
– No, that’s OK, I am glad we were able to work it out. I do have a crazy schedule. It is official now, DC Enterprises, my new company, is completely legitimate and all ready to go. I am just setting up some finals to the bank and doing different things like that. I have meetings tonight with the biographer who wants to do a biography and documentary. A videographer is coming over tonight… So it is all constant; there is always lots of stuff going on!
Who is DC Cooper?
– My blog is being read all over the world, so the likelihood is there will be quite a few people reading this interview who have never heard about you. If you’ve got to say something about yourself to describe your music and to introduce yourself, what would you say to them?
– With the new material coming out, I feel extremely confident about the album, about the approach. I think my personality is very open, very friendly and that is one thing people can relate to me. You can’t be everybody’s friend! That’s something I am trying to tell my sons right now. They get upset when somebody doesn’t like them at school. You can’t get everybody to like you, but it has always been important to me, so at least give me a chance!
Give me a chance, check out my website and pages!
Everybody has been so supporting and everything is really coming together lately. Hard work hopefully does pay off because of myself and all my solo team. We’ve been working hard, so give us a chance! This is completely new. I think the new album coming up is varied, very mature, very dynamic. It has a wide range of stuff.
It’s not just heavy metal!
I wrote all the material, all the songs, the music, the lyrics (with the help over a wide space of time from another local guitarist). A good friend of mine said: “This is a very mature album for you, DC! But this is very DC!” I can hear all of my influences, combinations. It’s kind of funny, as I don’t listen to many other artists, so I am not influenced by anybody. A lot of my new album is coming from my past, from what I’ve learned, what I know and what I love. So give me a chance: I guess that would be my new motto!
How the Material for the New Album Was Put Together
– You’ve said a few times that you have enough material for a few albums. So what is it that you actually selected: is it all new stuff, or is it a mixture of new and old?
– Well, it depends on what you call old stuff! I started writing this album technically fourteen years ago! There is a couple on there that have long-dated history, but I worked in my studio for I don’t know how many years by myself, working on this material, until Dave Watson came on board. That’s one of my lead guitarists. We kind of pick and choose. We had to revamp, redo everything that I had written in the studio, as I did it all digitally on ProTool 11 with the Reason 8 Rewire package, and the new Scarlett 18i8 Audio Interface. When Dave came on board, we started re-recording the stuff, so this material got a life of its own. It’s fantastic to hear that stuff! To me it sounds completely different than how it was originally written. Every now and then, we’ll go back and listen to the original demos that I had recorded, and it’s great to see the difference!
But, to answer your question, I have enough material for probably two more albums – at least! We picked the best for this album, as it has been so many years since the first DC solo album, and I wanted to have a wide dynamic representation of a lot of influences.
The Importance of Dynamics
Somebody asked me the other day: what is my favourite album? I’ve got to say that over the past so many years it’s Toto’s “Falling In Between” album: because of its such wide dynamic range, because of so many emotions – I am hoping that’s what I do. This is kind of what I was going for. The word dynamics is huge for me. It’s very, very huge and I am trying to push that across the whole solo team. I want everything to be so dynamical, that people stand there and they go like “Wow!” With great separation; everybody does their parts and everybody has a chance to shine. I want that to happen on the album, too.
It was a tough choice, I think. There was quite a few that didn’t make it onto the album. Now, with the new website and the new company, who knows, maybe once this album is out and over, we’ll start throwing out some digital singles here and there. We’ve been getting great response. We’ve only released two demo singles… They are just demo, and everybody is really loving them!
– Is there a reason why you picked these two tracks to be your demos? They are quite different. One is a little bit of everything, and the other one is pure prog. Are they representative for your CD?
– You wait to hear one of the others! There is a song called “I Can’t Wait”. You wanna hear that one! I’m not even going to explain that one when you talk about different! Over the next few weeks, I’ll be releasing a couple of more demos. They are trying to make a production out of it, like as far as I could have got out of it, for people to be able to hear, trying to gain new fans. I’m a little bit disappointed in some of the response. Not the responses from the general fan base: that is phenomenal and I appreciate it.
People aren’t sharing enough.
I need to get it out there, post it. That’s why I am giving these songs away. I want them to go ahead, give them, just get them out there. Anyhow, the next two songs coming up… The one called “I Can’t Wait” is definitely way, way different: saxophone, brass section, everything like that, because, as I said, I am going for a wide dynamic range. I need to expand my age range also.
Opening Up To New Markets
– Why, are you looking for older, or younger people?
– Both! And why not! In this market today, you can’t just stick to just one genre, one age range or one direction, because it’s not working like that anymore. You have to open yourself up to new things, and why not! If you look at the prog market, the progressive metal, or the progressive fan, it’s a very, very limited genre of music. You see that whenever you do a release, whenever you go to prog festivals. It’s a very limited market and that’s not a bad thing, but it means that I also have to open up to different markets if I want to get out there and that should be successful.
Let’s face it, I’m not getting any younger (nobody is), but I want to stay in the business and the only way that’s going to happen is if this is success. So that’s why I have to try to work 22 hours a day, as long as I possibly can, to make this work, and I need as much help as possible. I need a few people out there who are not in my close tight solo team (the DC Cooper Solo Team), and I use the word “team” because it is very, very important to me. You are one who’s included, as well as Caroline Caron. And I need you all out there; it’s almost like an army. We need to get out there and we need to rush as full force, because if I am going to stay around, if I am going to be in the market, then people want to hear my songs, they want me to continue in this business, this really has to be successful!
How Fans Can Help
– What can the fans do to help you more? Is there anything you’d like us to do which we don’t?
– Get out there! Get out there, talk about it! Sell some t-shirts! I don’t care if they make money on them! I’ll sell them for a wholesale cost. Go out there and sell some t-shirts, sell some stuff. I am going to sell some jewellery on the website. That’s all going to go towards support of the music. I am not even going to talk about record companies, but I need the fan support. Here is the big paradox, the big cycle:
I can’t survive, I can’t continue in the business without the fans.
If the fans want me to continue, they need to retweet, re-share, constantly, constantly. I am trying to get better, I really, really am. My attorney is kind of my business adviser. I have a couple of other people who are consultants in marketing. They say, you got to post anything, every day on Facebook and Twitter. I don’t really want to post stuff about, well, I made soup for lunch, you know! But I am trying to get better at it.
I am very excited about everything. I am very passionate about what’s going on right now and I really hope that I can get a lot of new fans, new listeners out there, who go like: “Hey man, this guy is not too bad, you know!” And open up the American market! That’s another reason why I am trying to base my solo band at least in the United States, right now everybody in Pennsylvania to do a local Pittsburgh show if I wanted to, because I have not had that opportunity for a lot of years. I’ve been working with European musicians for so many years that I forgot to how even talk to local people here! So I’ve tried to open up the doors.
– Obviously, a lot has changed since 1999 and many times you’ve said how difficult the music scene is. But all these fans on Facebook and Twitter: this must make it a little bit easier, does it?
– Well, obviously it’s definitely easier to keep in touch a lot more, but that’s on my personal Facebook site, which started out as just a Facebook site. I have the maximum amount allowed there: 5,000 people. But I don’t even know if maybe 1,000, or 800 of those actually follow me. I’m going to have to actually clean-house here pretty soon, as people want to be fans and I can’t even sign them up because I have all these other people. I am not sure how to do that. That’s why we started the one fan page, then there’s the musician page, so it’s hard to keep track. Whenever I release something, like a video or demo on the main Facebook site, I have to carry it over to Caroline’s fan page, and the other musician page, and Twitter, so it’s very difficult to keep track of how many people saw the video or listen to the song, because it’s hard to get a running count. But that’s fine, as long as I know it is continually being retweeted and re-shared.
Photos: courtesy of Taliana Chastaya Photography and DC Cooper