"It's all the turbulence that goes on inside my head..." - hmv.com talks to Will Joseph Cook
As he unveils his debut album Sweet Dreamer (which you can preview and purchase on the right-hand side of the page), we speak to singer-songwriter about making it, working with Bombay Bicycle Club and why he looks to classic songwriters for inspiration...
When did you start work on the album? Are there songs that go back a long way? Or are they fairly recent compositions?
"It's taken me about a year and a half to record, but the writing period stretches a lot further. The oldest track on there is 'Habit', which I wrote when I was 15. I’ve always liked that about debut albums, the songwriting back-dates a longer period of the artist's life."
What was the song on the album that took the longest to get right?
"I'd say 'Treat Me Like a Lover' was the longest process, there were around four different versions recorded. It was until I stripped it right back that I finally got it right."
And which came together most quickly?
"'Girls Like Me' was very instant, as was 'Beach' and 'Hands'. They were all conceived in a day."
You worked with Hugh Worskett and Bombay Bicycle Club’s Jack Steadman on the album, how did you settle on those collaborators for the album?
"Hugh has been a long-term collaborator, right from the first EP, and we recorded most of the album together. My relationship with Jack was a last-minute spree of four tracks. It was actually through getting stuck on 'Treat Me Like a Lover' that we started working together."
What kind of album is this lyrically? Is there a theme running through it?
"It's mainly biographical, a lot of internal thoughts and feelings. The main themes are love, friendships and all the turbulence that goes on inside my head. Essentially I wrote about things I know, I've always found that the most fruitful."
Which lyricists do you look to for inspiration?
"I really love classic songwriters like Neil Young and Joni Mitchell, but also more expressionist stuff like David Byrne."
When did you settle on the title of Sweet Dreamer?
"It just sounded right, I feel it has quite a strong identity as a title and matches the album's themes and my personality well."
Were there any other titles in contention?
"Haha! Yeah, but they were really bad so I'd rather not share. Sorry."
What are your plans to take the record out live?
"The next step is my UK and European tour in May, super excited for this one. It will be the first time we've toured on the continent."