Search The Line of Best Fit
Search The Line of Best Fit

Will Joseph Cook discusses the bittersweet catharsis that inspired debut album Sweet Dreamer

14 April 2017, 12:00 | Written by Matthew Kent

Indie-pop singer/songwriter Will Joseph Cook today releases his debut album Sweet Dreamer.

Sweet Dreamer has been a long time coming since a young Will Joseph Cook began songwriting at 14 years old. With acclaimed EPs You Jump I Run and Proof Enough have documented the artist's rise and continuous evolution, today's 13-track record is testament to the years of work Cook has put into improving his craft.

Standout tracks include pre-release singles "Biggest Fan", the previously unreleased, euphoric cut "Alive", and the album's title track. One of the UK's most exciting up and coming solo artists, Cook's debut, he believes, makes a statement, as we discuss below.

Why did you start making music?

I got bored of playing other peoples songs I think. I remember once I realised all most songs were in essence where chords and a vocal melody, I wanted to write my own.

What's your favourite thing about making music?

It's a way to turn my thoughts or frustrations into something positive. I can get my feelings across without overcomplicating them with words. Often, when I'm writing, my demo will make me feel or realise something that I wasn't intentionally searching for; I think that's really cool.

Aside from the basics, what do you think makes a good artist in 2017?

I'm always drawn to stuff with personality, something that has an identity in all of its aspects - artworks, videos, merch etc. Also I think the temptation for record labels to sign cookie-cutter songs is greater than ever with the massive rise of playlists; it's now more important than ever to attempt something bold and original.

Visuals seem to be quite important to you; why's that?

For me, I wanted them to be memorable and unabashed. I think a video's purpose is to be a talking point, whether thats through its message, visuals, or humour.

Can you explain how you album artwork came to be?

The theme of the album is catharsis, relishing in the dramatic highs and lows of how it feels to grow up and become an adult. It's also quite an optimistic album at the same time. The blood orange (bittersweet) against a clear blue sky seemed to be the perfect fit.

Do you think Sweet Dreamer makes a statement?

Yes, I think it does. There was no compromise when writing and recording it, and nothing that I didn't love made it onto the album. I think a lot of people will want to believe that that this isn't the case because I am young and on a major label. I think pop music needs more identity and artistry, so thats what I've tried to do with Sweet Dreamer.

Debut albums can be sometimes be compilations of artists' 'greatest hits' from their whole repertoire to date - do you feel like this is true for yours?

I definitely feel that with debuts there's a drive for every song to make an impact. Maybe thats why they often sound like an album of singles. In terms of drawing from a repertoire though, Sweet Dreamer is made up mostly of very new songs.

Do you think the album is what 14-year-old Will would've expected it to be?

I don't think 14-year-old me expected to have an album, but for sure he would dig it if he could.

What have been some of the highlights on the road to release?

I've always felt that every step up along the way has been slightly more daring than i expected. For example the last London show was a daunting one to put on sale but when it pulled off, that made the feeling even better.

What were the most difficult parts of making the record?

Like with your first time doing anything you're constantly learning. In the first half of the recording/writing process I would hit a lot of creative walls which would throw me off for months at a time. I feel like I have a better handle on how to get the best out of myself now, and not get bogged down by ideas that arent working.

What are the standout tracks for you?

"Treat Me Like Lover" was the first one that came into my head. I made about four different versions to reach where it is now, it was really challenging. Cracking it was quite a radical process, I stripped almost everything out of it even chords, right down to just a vocal and a beat. I then built it back up from there.

Sweet Dreamer is out now via Atlantic Records.
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