philcooper

Calling all doodlers! I need your doodles for my new album.

Want to be a part of my next album? Want a free copy?

Doodle your way in!

If you’ve seen one of my live shows you’ll know all about my doodle pad, which I hand out for people to draw little pictures or leave notes for me. It’s become such a big part of my show that I feel I need to take it to the next level and use it on the album booklet for my next album “Thoughts & Observations”.

The idea is that each page of lyrics within the album booklet will have corresponding doodles, created by you, using the list of phrases below as inspiration

  • Thoughts & Observations
  • Problems of the world upon your shoulder
  • Shake it up
  • Citizen
  • The kindness of strangers
  • Time to walk away
  • Find my own way out
  • Production line hate
  • You can fool the people all of the time
  • The word “yes” is a powerful thing
  • One little step and I’m on my way
  • The choice is up to you
  • Yesterday’s pain is tomorrow’s debt
  • Driving towards a hide and seek moon
  • As I travel this open land with my guitar in my hand
  • We hide the world with our own smokescreen
  • It’s always been a waiting game
  • Coffee Break

Anyone that gets included will be given a free copy of the album, and credited within the booklet.

You can send me the doodles on my facebook page, twitter, Instagram or by emailing doodles@phil-cooper.co.uk

Please feel free to send me as many doodles as you like, and don’t forget to tell me how you would like to be credited on the album.

NB: Asking people to submit artistic work for use on something like this always sparks a debate about artists being paid for their work, so I want to address that here. I have the utmost respect for ALL artists and would never ask a professional to use their work for nothing, I am planning to have the front cover designed professionally and will not be asking the artist for a freebee.

What I am doing here is an extension of a very popular part of my live show where I ask my audience to get creative, regardless of how talented they believe themselves to be. I want to celebrate the creativeness that lives inside every single one of us, as well as giving people a chance to be included in a project I am very excited about.

I guess the bottom line is that if you don’t like the thought of your work being used for free, then I respect your choice to not submit anything, just as I respect those that are fine with it. As a musician, I have to make that same choice on a near weekly basis!

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Things I’ll Never Say – one year on.

Things I'll Never Say Album Cover

A track by track exploration of Things I’ll Never Say

 

A year after I released the album, which I’m still immensely proud of, I figured you might want to know a bit about the songs, so here it is… a track by track commentary.

 

Album Title

The title “Things I’ll Never Say” is actually a lyric from one of the songs that didn’t make it on to the album. The song is called “A Final Glass” and the full lyric is “So I’ll raise a final glass to you, then turn away and let go of the things I’ll never say”. The song didn’t make the cut because we felt that two quiet finger-picked songs was enough.

Track 1 – Let It Fall


One of those moments where a song comes from a simple turn of phrase. A friend was talking about working in a kitchen and knocking a knife off the work surface. In that situation you have to let it fall, rather than try to stop it. I took that as a metaphor for when things go wrong in life, and this little pop nugget was born. My friend Mr John of Infinite Hive made a video for this song, which you can see here.

Track 2 – Sigh


This was written years ago, and left untouched, only played at a couple of live shows back in 2011-ish. When we were discussing which songs should go on the album I played it for Ellis (My brother, bass player and studio engineer) and he convinced me to record it.

Track 3 – I Don’t Have A Voice


I don’t really need to say much about the inspiration for this call for a fairer voting system. Instead I’ll tell you that it features almost everyone who played anything on the album singing the “more you ignore, the louder we roar” chant. I’m delighted that this song was picked up by the group “Make Votes Matter” and I was honoured to play it live at their demonstration outside the houses of parliament in May 2016. There is a video for this song here.

Track 4 – You’re A Light


This is a prime example of what can happen when you bring a raw song in to the studio. You’re A Light started life as a fairly gentle song about the start of a new relationship, and turned in to a disco inspired pop rock anthem once I started working on it with a band. Recording sometimes is the final stage of the writing process. I had fun making a silly video for this song.

Track 5 – Old Wounds (Feel Like New Wounds)


Often you hold on to things for longer than you should, and can be affected by them several months later. Time also tends to strip away some of the details, and the memory you’re left with isn’t necessarily accurate. That’s where this song comes from. This was my first experimentation with brass/horns and we had a lot of fun recording them.

Track 6 – To the Unknown Loves of my Life


This song came from years of thinking about how we find ourselves in situations where we are attracted (for whatever reason) to strangers, for example, travelling on a train or waiting in a queue. In those situations it’s commonly held (in the UK at least) that it would seem odd to talk to those people, so you simply let the moment pass. But that person could be your soul mate, you just don’t see it.

Track 7 – Ballad of the Flower and the Tree


This was inspired by a cottage I had rented in the middle of nowhere for a few days in order to write without distraction. Dominating the front garden was a huge weeping willow, which gives us the line “even willows can weep”. The beautiful female vocals are provided by Lu Morris.

Track 8 – Sweetness No More


Written after listening to a lot of Damien Rice, this was one of the first songs written for the album. Originally I’d planned to make the whole album a collection of introspective, quiet songs like this. I’m now glad I didn’t, because this song, along with “The Quiet Goodbye” adds light and shade to the album.

Track 9 – Cold Day in Hell


After months of trying to get a certain set of feelings out creatively, this song cropped up and was very satisfying. I’m not going to expand on that because the lyrics are actually quite harsh, however we had a lot of fun recording it too, particularly at the end where Jack (drums) was given total freedom to do as he pleased.

Track 10 – Stepping Off the Edge


This was written originally for the limited edition “Notice Period EP” which was sent to everyone who pre-ordered “Things I’ll Never Say”. I felt it was too good a song for it not to be on the album, and so on it went. I felt like my Crowded House influence was showing quite a lot on this album, so I decided to go full “Finn Brothers” and asked my good friend Jamie R Hawkins to provide a second vocal line, which he did admirably! I recorded a live video of this song at VoxBox Music shop in Edinburgh in Feb 2016 (thanks to Mr John again).

Track 11 – Thank You, My Friend


This is was written in 2009 for my Brother, who has been a rock in difficult times, without doing anything other than being himself. It was originally included on an album released in 2009 which is no longer available, and this new version features Ellis (my bro) playing bass and slide guitar. If you’re interested, you can still hear the 2009 version here.

Track 12 – The Quiet Goodbye


This is about those times where a relationship gradually and quietly dies to the point where you both agree there’s no point continuing, you just go your own ways without too much fuss. I always considered this song to be the “false ending” to the album, given its title and subject.

Track 13 – A Year in a Life


This is the most deeply personal song on the album, and was emotionally painful to write and play (and still is). I am singing to two children who were a huge part of my life for just over a year, and whom I will never see again due to circumstance. This was always going to be the final track on the album, because nothing would be able to follow the final despairing cry at the end.

The album is available on Spotify, iTunes, and so on. You can get a physical copy here too.

A Welcome in the Wild – Canada Tour 2017

In May/June 2017 I will be heading across the Atlantic to Canada where I’ll be playing some shows. I’m super excited since it’ll be my first overseas tour and my first trip to Canada. I’ve even written a new song in my excitement, and you can see a live video of my playing that below.

I’m delighted to be working with MacMillan Music Marketing for this tour, and we’ve already got several dates confirmed.

At each of the tour dates you’ll be able to get your hands on an exclusive physical copy of the above EP (which is only available digitally for everyone else). If you buy the digital copy and then come to a Canada show, bring your email receipt and I’ll give you a CD to go with it.

Tour dates confirmed so far
Friday May 19
8pm
Duggan’s Brewery
1346 Queen St West
Toronto, ON
Saturday May 20
2pm
Dead Dog Records
1209 Bloor St West
Toronto, ON
Sunday May 21
5pm
Relish
2152 Danforth Ave
Toronto, ON
Tuesday May 23
2pm
Dr Disc Records
471 Ouellette Ave
Windsor, ON
Tuesday May 23
9pm
Phog Lounge
157 University Ave W
Windsor, ON
Wednesday May 24
8pm
Free Times Cafe
320 College St
Toronto, ON
Thursday May 25
9pm
The Brownstone Cafe
178 Mississaga Street East
Orillia, ON
Saturday May 27
9pm
Taps Brewery (Springlicious Festival)
4680 Queen Street
Niagara Falls, ON
Sunday May 28
3pm
The Second Wedge Brewing Co.
14 Victoria Street North
Uxbridge, ON
Sunday May 28
7pm
Taste of Columbia
67 Bronte Rd (Michael Williams Presents…)
Oakville, ON
Tuesday May 30
5.30pm
Grafitti’s
170 Baldwin St
Toronto, ON
Friday June 2
8pm
Grimross Brewing Co
600 Bishop Drive
Fredericton, NB
Sunday June 4
8pm
Baba’s Lounge
181 Great George St
Charlottetown, PEI
Keep your eyes peeled for more dates…

For all the latest news, keep your eyes on this page, my facebook page, and twitter.

2016 Report

Well, that was a hell of a year wasn’t it?

On a purely personal level, I’ve had a great year. I’ve proved to myself that I can survive as a full time musician, and achieved most of what I wanted to achieve this year. I’m very proud indeed of the album “Things I’ll Never Say” and I’m excited about the songs I’ve been writing this year, which will form the basis of an album for release next year.

I have toured around the UK and even pulled off a show about songwriting, where the audience and I wrote a song to order on that very night. That’s something I was terrified of doing, but I did it to prove to myself that I could. It’s been a year of self justification, about the decisions I’ve made and the future I’ve planned for myself. All in all I’m happy, and excited about what’s to come.

Next year I’ll be taking everything to the next level. I’ve set a good foundation, but there’s still loads of hard work to do. I’m looking forward to touring in Canada, and seeing where that takes me. I’m looking forward to producing another album to be proud of, and pushing myself even harder.

On a social level, it’s been a difficult year, lots of things have happened that I’m not happy with. I won’t go in to them because you most likely know all about them anyway!

I’ve become more and more of the opinion that the biggest reason for the discontent that plagues the world is largely due to a surfeit of information. We are fed new information constantly through facebook/twitter/24 hour news. We’re not given time to process the information we’re given, on top of the fact that we’re fed everything in headlines and bite sized pieces, because “breaking the news” is more important now than “getting the news right”.

So my goal for 2017 is to have more patience, to spend less time on social media, and do more real things. Expect a lot more productivity from me next year!

National Poetry Day

Lyrics for National Poetry DayApparently it’s national poetry day. Lyrics are a form of poetry, so here are some lyrics I’ve written over the years but never used.

Some of these may end up being used for the next album if I can put some music to them.

Stone by Stone

The words you said ring true
They jump around me taunting me
It’s always been my problem you see to build my feelings high

I know that you are there when I am flying high on fragile wings
But if I fall to earth this time I’m scared I won’t get up
I’ve already built this up

And block by block and stone by stone
I’ll build this prison wall
With everything I’ve held in me the jump precedes the fall
But if these walls are strong
And if there’s nothing wrong
with the way the seeds are sown
I won’t be here alone

Deeper now than ever before
These feelings built on stronger ground
Won’t be toppled by the fear of being kept outside

I know that this emotion war has found me at the battle point
I know I’ll take some direct hits
And when I fall, I fall, and I won’t come back at all

Stone by stone, the mountain will crumble
Stone by stone, foundations are laid
I know, I know… don’t build myself too high
but I feel I have to try

 

Everything

You know – you can’t have it all,
When you can’t have everything, everything seems so small
Everything comes to pass,
When you can’t have everything, everything seems so small

Time fades away, like a drunken memory,
Every thought slips to the next
If there’s a future I will see it first
Another soul to quench my thirst

When you wake up in the morning,
and the sunlight burns your eyes,
Think of me – I’ll think of you
Thoughts are all we have to see us through

You know – you can’t have it all,
When you can’t have everything, everything seems so small
Everything comes to pass,
When you can’t have everything, everything seems so small

Now’s the time to think about your life,
And all the things you haven’t done
Another chance to make a change for good
An opportunity – I think you should.

You know – you can’t have it all,
When you can’t have everything, everything seems so small

 

Destination

Hallways… endless hallways
with promises… never fulfilled
how long can I keep running towards the promised land
how long can I believe the words you’ve spun

Destination
still seems a long way
and yet I’ve come so far
Destination
Help me get there
help me lose this scar
lessons learn along the way
And still I’ve gone astray

Hallways… endless hallways
nothing… to line the walls
yet it’s an uphill struggle but I think I’ve passed halfway
Guess I’ll keep my head up anyway

Destination
still seems a long way
and yet I’ve come so far
Destination
Help me get there
help me lose this scar
lessons learn along the way
And still I’ve gone astray

 

Acceptance

I know you’re used to how things have always been
But take some time and maybe you will see
That it’s not the way you do a thing that makes it what it is
For the beating of your heart goes on
The beating of your heart goes on

Time goes by and it is a changing tide
Buckle up and try to enjoy the ride
Sometimes up and sometimes down but never standing still
But the beating of your heart goes on
The beating of your heart goes on

Blood is flowing through you
and life goes on without you
I know that may be hard to hear but it’s true
It doesn’t make you worthless
but life is much more painless
accepting everthing that you’re put through

It’s hard to accept that everything changes in time
It’s hard to accept but it’s harder to explain
That the bigger the struggle the bigger the pain
Just step back and breathe
For the beating of your heart goes on
The beating of your heart goes on

 

Breathe Easy

Swirling in the wind
life takes you here and there.
People pull you one way,
then the other.
Influence is bliss to some
but all I can do
is sit back,
wait for the calm after the storm,

Then maybe breathe easy once more.

Time takes it’s toll
and life moves on around here
the life you thought you had
just disappears without a trace
What do you have left a face
to smile back at you
and tell you that things will be ok
if you can just wait

So baby, breathe easy once more

And if you can just take a rest
don’t rush don’t think don’t do just be who you are
do you know who you are?

Music Venue Trust – Emergency Fightback

14264932_571517113055680_2605055092100506403_nI’ve been following the social media accounts of the Music Venue Trust for a while now, because they seemed to be about something more than just moaning about the state of the music industry. They proved that to be the case this morning with the launch of a fantastic initiative to offer practical advice to music venues struggling due to the costs involved in legal advice and expert opinion on planning, development, noise and licensing issues.

Research performed by the Trust has has found that these costs are the number one threat facing music venues today, and as I mentioned in this blog post, we need art and venues now more than ever!

To launch the initiative they are hosting a gig with a difference at The Roundhouse, London on 18th October. At the moment, they have no musicians booked, no sound crew, no lighting crew, no backline equipment. They are asking for volunteers from across the music industry to help them out, and it wouldn’t surprise me if they ended up with some pretty heavyweight headliners!

At the moment tickets for the gig are £10 with that cost expected to increase as they book acts. So if you’re interested, book now before the price goes up!

Remember folks, without you, and your support… this industry is nothing!

All I Need For A Good Time – Part 2

You might remember a little while ago, I mentioned a track I was putting on to a compilation album. Well, after a massive comedy of errors, and reading quite a lot of bad things about the company that compiled the album (I don’t want to go in to the details publicly), I’ve come to the conclusion that the best way to get the track out there is just to sell it myself.

If you fancy a bit of feelgood acoustic goodness, and help out your friendly singer-songwriter friend, please feel free to download the song below!

Facebook is playing hide and seek

Facebook page like needI noticed this today… Facebook has decided to lump stories from pages I like in to one on my news feed, where I have to actively scroll through to look at them, rather than have them appear on my news feed as normal.

Facebook has been at this for a while. Posts from pages you like are appearing less and less on your news feed unless the page pays to “Boost” the post… i.e. pays advertising fees.

For an independent musician like myself, and for many small/non profit pages this makes the job of communicating with our followers either difficult, or costly.

But hope is not lost…

Facebook see pages firstWhen you hover on the “like” button on a page, there are some options for how that page appears to you. If you say “See first” it will appear without the post having to be “boosted” (i.e. paid to advertise).

I’ve also noticed that posts that get shared show up in the normal timeline far more often. At the time of posting, my page has 863 likes, of which around 420 are “friends” with my personal profile. I share most of my page posts to my personal account, and these are the only people that seem to see my posts. It’s very rare that a name I don’t recognise (i.e. one of the 440-ish other people that like my page) reacts to something I post. How to reach these people without “boosting” is something I’m trying to work out. If anyone has any suggestions please let me know!

In the meantime if you see a post from me where I’m trying to spread something (gig listings/new video etc), Please please please click to share it, it will make all the difference and it’s such an easy thing to do!

Of course the best way to keep up to date is still to get on my mailing list, and I’ll email you with all the really important stuff.