Indietracks interview #9: Cooper

Well, by the time you read this, June will probably have arrived, which means that the festival is next month! So we’ve only a short space of time to bring you all the important news, silly quizzes, fun interviews and other random offerings we have planned for the blog between now and the start of the festival. Let’s crack on sharpish then, starting with one of the fantastic collection of Spanish bands that will be performing on the Elefant Records stage in July.

Cooper is the solo project of Alex Diez, who previously led Spain’s premier mod-beat band, Los Flechazos, during the 1990s. The band released six LPs, including two on the Elefant label, made sixty television appearances and played concerts and festivals across Europe. They achieved huge popularity in Spain with their mixture of 60s pop and American soul complete with Spanish lyrics.

Since the band split, Alex has continued to make music, releasing two albums and eight singles on Elefant under the name Cooper. A third album, Aeropuerto, will be released this year.

Hi Alex, tell us a little bit about yourself.
I live in Leon, Spain, and in the 80s/90s I was in a mod/sixties band called Los Flechazos (we even released two 7”s on the Detour label). In 2000, I started this solo project, Cooper, with my friends. We play powerpop with a strong sixties feel and lots of vocal harmonies, but with a contemporary sound, I guess. To make things a bit clearer, when we toured Germany the owner of a club in Ulm told us: “You are great, you sound so English, well… Scottish actually!”. I play guitar, Mario is the other guitar player, Dani plays bass and Nacho is the drummer. We all sing. We’ve released records on Elefant – mostly EPs and singles – and we’ll be coming to Indietracks with a new album, called Aeropuerto.

What music are you enjoying at the moment?
Ben Kweller, Panic at the Disco, Brendan Benson, Last Shadow Puppets, Josh Rosue, Jellybricks… and we also love older records from Mayflies USA, Teenage Fanclub, Velvet Crush, Lemonheads, The Lolas…

Tell us about an unusual place you’ve played a gig in the past
We have played in open air festivals, clubs, TV and radio sets, theatres and discos, but probably the most unusual place is an old church in the beautiful city of Toledo.

Do you have any exciting plans for the rest of the year?
2009 is the 20th anniversary of Elefant, the 10th anniversary of Cooper and my personal anniversary of 25 years playing in bands. We are doing all the pop summer festivals in Spain plus Indietracks, which will be a highlight for sure. We are also planning a crazy “virtual” tour – a web tour of eight dates with special videos shown on music websites -and releasing our first DVD for Christmas.

Do any band members have any particular skills, hobbies or claims to fame you wish to share?
Well, Mario can dance northern soul with a pint of beer ON his head, and Dani is able to travel more than four hours in the van without saying a word. Nacho spends at least 40 minutes arranging his hairdo (and sideburns!!). I am a dull and simple lad, cannot tell water from champagne.

What’s going to be on your compilation tapes as you travel down to Indietracks?
Badfinger, Small Faces, Belle and Sebastian, The Action, The Delgados, Buzzcocks, Fountains of Wayne, Gigolo Aunts, Primary Five, Rubinoos, Whiteout….

Do you have any surprises planned for the Indietracks festival?
As our set is completely in Spanish, we will play two or three songs in English for your audience.


What attracted you to play the Indietracks festival?
First of all the festival itself, and it will be a very special celebration for Luis and Montse from Elefant, we are very happy for them. And it will be an adventure, a kaleidoscopic trip from the sun to the fun.

Who are you most looking forward to seeing at the Indietracks festival, and why?
We always love to play with our friends Cola Jet Set, who are great, and La Casa Azul, another terrific act from Barcelona. And we love Lucky Soul and Camera Obscura. We will check the other bands on Myspace to have more information in advance, so we can enjoy ourselves 100%.

Great, thanks Alex. Look forward to seeing you at the festival!