2015 Artist Survey: Ultimate Painting

Jack Cooper (also of Mazes) on Disastrous Dates, the Paris Terror Attacks, Streaming Music, and the End of the World

Feb 05, 2016 Photography by Juan Jose Ortiz Web Exclusive
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For Under the Radar's 13th annual Artist Survey we emailed some of our favorite artists a few questions relating to 2015. We asked them about their favorite albums of the year and their thoughts on various notable 2015 news stories involving either the music industry or world events, as well as some quirkier personal questions.

Check out our Best of 2015 print and digital issues for answers from Arcade Fire's Will Butler, Julien Baker, Blanck Mass, CHVRCHES, Dan Deacon, The Dears, Dutch Uncles, EL VY, Everything Everything, Father John Misty, Field Music, The Flaming Lips, How to Dress Well, Sondre Lerche, Low, Luna, Mew, NZCA Lines, Cullen Omori, Natalie Prass, Small Black, Surfer Blood, Tamaryn, Telekinesis, Vampire Weekend's Chris Baio, The Walkmen, Youth Lagoon, and others.

Here are some answers from Jack Cooper of Ultimate Painting. The British-based duo (which also features James Hoare of Veronica Falls) released their second album, Green Lanes, last summer via Trouble in Mind. Cooper is also in the band Mazes, although this interview was conducted in the context of Ultimate Painting.

Top 10 Albums of 2015

I'm incapable of ranking music but here's some things I've really been into it

Julia Holter: Have You in My Wilderness
Chastity Belt: Time To Go Home
Ryley Walker: Primrose Green
Lloyd McNeill & Marshall Hawkins: Tanner Suite (Reissue)
Richard Thompson: Still
Dick Diver: Melbourne, Florida
Blanck Mass: Dead Format
W-X: W-X
Rastafari: The Dreads Enter Babylon 1955-83 (Compilation)
RELAXIN' With Lolina: Inga Copeland

What was the highlight of 2015, for either you personally or for the band? What was the low point?

I got married in August and it was just the best day I've ever had and can imagine ever having. That would obviously take a lot of beating. I suppose just getting to play to as many people as I we have done. We've toured America a couple of times and the crowds keep getting bigger but then our entire U.K. tour sold out. That was a thrill. A couple of days later we hear news after our Brussels show about the attacks in Paris. Our show the following night was understandably canceled. I met my wife in Paris the day after the attacks and being there was beyond heavy. Seeing people bravely going about their business, their lives and everything, but them being totally heartbroken. That's certainly the low point.

What are your hopes and plans for 2016?

It's boring but just to keep carving out our thing. We're both excited to get recording again in the winter and keep moving. We have songs and vague directions in which we've spoken about it going.

With the launch of TIDAL and Apple Music in 2015, there are more streaming music options, but the same issues of adequate artist compensation persist. What are your current thoughts on streaming and which service would you most like to have your music on?

Well, you can try and convince yourself that maybe it's a good thing or it has good points. People listen on Spotify and then they'll buy a ticket to see your show, but you're lying to yourself as an artist if you don't think it's a total scam. These tech companies stepped in whilst the old music industry lay there wondering what the fuck to do-whilst they were blasting their expense accounts talking about "what to do about downloading" at SXSW conferences and they totally stitched it up 100% at the expense of people like me.

What are your thoughts on Friday being the new global release day for albums? Is it helping or hurting album sales?

I'm sure someone who cares way more than me has some analysis for why the change is good but yeah, Friday's are fine by me. I like a Friday.

Mainstream pop music is increasingly embraced by indie rock musicians and listeners, as well as serious music critics. At this point, do you draw any distinctions between Top 40 pop and indie rock/pop? Are you comfortable with this shift?

There's no reason why pop music shouldn't be taken seriously by rock critics although that doesn't change the fact that most of it is pretty unlistenable to me. Sonically, some of it just sounds so bad. People whose taste I respect who are into Drake? That's just crazy-he is so bad.

What are your thoughts on how the 2016 U.S. Presidential election is shaping up?

As an Englishman, I feel like it's not really my place to say and whilst I love the U.S.A. and really enjoy spending time there, I feel like a lot of people here care too much about what's happening in America and not enough about what's going on in the U.K. Saying that, I'm sure you imagine that like the majority of people who'll answer these questions, I really like Bernie Sanders. It's difficult not to be disillusioned about politics but I'm trying my best!

Ryan Adams covered Taylor Swift's 1989 (and then Father John Misty covered Adams covering Swift). If you were to cover another artist's album in its entirety, which would you pick and why?

I'd cover all of these records in cement. I read about the Ryan Adams album and cringed. It's the equivalent of your dad buying a leather jacket. He's not as embarrassing as Wayne Coyne but I don't think that's possible.

Have you ever been fired from a job (be it a day job or musical one)? Why were you fired?

I've never been fired. Employers sort of take pity on me and phase me out. That's happened a couple of times.

What's your earliest music-related childhood memory?

Playing a 7" of the Ghostbusters theme that my mum bought me.

What outrageous request would you most like to put in your tour rider as a joke?

I don't want to rain on your parade but anything you put on your rider is just coming out of your fee anyway. So I'd probably ask for more money.

What's the most disastrous date you've ever been on?

I went on a date with someone who ordered soup and put butter into her soup and sort of swirled it all up. I can't beat that.

Which Star Wars character are you most like?

Just Ben Kenobi in his cave trying to keep his head down.

Where do you see yourself in five beers?

As I sit here after being on tour since September, I can't imagine ever drinking again. Please move them away from me.

What song will most unite or amp up the tour bus or van (à la "Tiny Dancer" in Almost Famous)? Which song do you love that the rest of the band or crew refuse to let you put on?

"Matty Groves" by Fairport Convention.

Mass shootings continue to be a problem, and yet the U.S. government still has yet to take action on curbing gun violence. What are your thoughts on gun control?

It's interesting how different acts of terrorism around the world are treated differently by the media. I think guns should be banned. That to me makes sense but it's strange how the issue with these mass shootings in the U.S. is gun control. Obviously that's one issue but then acts of terrorism involving fundamentalist Muslims; the issue that's focused on is their religion and their perceived insanity. I've thought about it a lot over the last few weeks—It seems like inequality is never the issue discussed.

If the world was ending in 24 hours, what would you do in those 24 hours?

I'd just stare at my wife and make her some food. Phone my mum and pet the cat. 

Which part of America or which specific state do you find it most challenging to tour in and why?

Well, we seem to be doing really well in America but we're brutally unpopular in Missoula. That's the only place really. Seems like there's some kind of conspiracy there against us. Our breakfast last time sucked as well. So yeah...Montana.

In 2015, what do the words "indie rock" mean?

Didn't ever mean much and means less now

www.ultimatepainting.tumblr.com



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