Simon Cooper (also known as downtempo extraordinaire, Groovecatcher) is a veteran musician hailing from Cornwall, UK.
What's impressive about the signature Groovecatcher sound is how it encapsulates several elements of expansive electronica into a distinctly neat sonic package.
The genre-bending flare present throughout the entire Groovecatcher catalogue has gained a fanbase over the years as we continue to witness the growth and evolution of the project.
Today, he shares information about his process, style, and upcoming EP Aqua de Vida.
Prox: There is an undeniable atmosphere to your work. What drew you to these spacey, downtempo grooves?
GC: I’ve always loved to create a sonic palette that portrays something visual in the listener's mind. And everyone is different, so they will all have their own interpretations of my music. I also have a vision in my own mind and a feeling that I am trying to capture. The most important thing is to always take the listener on a journey, to give them an experience through my music.
Chill-out music does not have to be "passive", far from it in fact. I like to make people think, to challenge them through my music sometimes. For instance, the new Groovecatcher single recently released is called X Communication... the vibe I've tried to create is about secret transmissions, "deals behind closed doors," the exchange of data. But also that we need to *learn* to communicate properly with each other more than ever before, despite all the technology at our fingertips 24/7.
Prox: I always love your synth compositions. Can you discuss what hardware and software you’re using?
GC: As far as physical synths go, very little. A Roland Juno-G and a much loved Roland D50 as my master keyboard, an old workhorse synth from the 1980s. Everything I record with are VST synths... Rob Papen's synths are superb, as is Absynth, the Korg Legacy Cell is one of my favourites too. A room full of analogue gear and patch bays may look insanely cool... but for me I prefer using software that allows me to express my ideas easily. Getting a music idea from my mind into the 'real world' is important to do with as few obstacles as possible.
Prox: It was kind of shocking to see you release Spa Sounds under the Groovecatcher alias. Why did you decide to release this project and will we see more full length ambient selections from you?
GC: Shocking?! Haha, I like that! Well, a long time before Groovecatcher I had worked for over 10 years writing ambient and meditative music for a Dutch label, so this was the sound where I originally came from. In 2015 I'd written some material that didn't fit with the 'traditional' Groovecatcher vibe, but the basicLUX label really wanted to release it. So we did it, and it has been one of the most popular Groovecatcher releases for us. I like to do the unexpected, especially if it brings my music to a new audience.
Prox: Could you tell us about the new Groovecatcher EP? How close is it to the fan favorite, After the Rain?
GC: The new Groovecatcher EP is called Aqua de Vida, it contains 7 tracks and will be released on 2nd February 2018.
I'm delighted to have all the vocals on the album sung in collaboration with Madison Park.
I've expanded the Groovecatcher sound more than ever on this release, there is a fresh Muse behind the music.
For me, I'm most excited about the influences I've incorporated from both East and West. There is the instantly recognizable Groovecatcher sound of course, but also Duduk, Sitar, Syrian percussion and Arabic narration in some tracks too. I’am proud to bring these different cultures of music and poetry together, especially in such divisive political times.
For example, we've done a cover of Real Life's 1980s hit Send Me An Angel, but completely re-invented into a mix of haunting Eastern moods and Western chill. Last year I lost an incredibly dear Syrian friend, Missa Ashkar, to cancer, and the EP version of Send Me An Angel contains a narration from Missa in Arabic. This track will be released as the second Groovecatcher single at the beginning of December 2017. I am so excited for people to hear it, and the whole Aqua de Vida EP in full next February.
As far as how it sounds compared to After The Rain. It's difficult for me to say because that album was recorded over 12 years ago, and a whole ocean of water has flowed under the bridge since then! So I'm expressing new influences, new grooves and 12 more years of life experience on Aqua de Vida... but it is still unmistakably Groovecatcher from start to finish, it is impossible for me to sound like anyone else.
Prox: You’ve been working under this alias for some time now and have accomplished a lot with it. Is there anything you’d like to do that you haven't done yet? Any artists you’d like to collaborate with?
GC: I always enjoy my collaborations with Madison Park, who are always an adrenaline kick and inspiration for me. We've been working together for over 10 years now and it is always a joy every time. I'm not a career driven person, so doing Groovecatcher music is always a luxury for me whenever I feel it.
Prox: Tell us something about yourself that we may not know that influences your work. Who are some of your favorite artists, business people, creatives or intellectuals?
GC: I live in Cornwall, UK, which is a very rural and quiet part of the country. There is no big club or music scene of any meaning here, so by definition I've learned to be pretty self sufficient as an artist.
I have no interest in being seen at the "right parties"... and I actually think it benefits my music because I have no pressure to compromise to passing fashions.
As far as my favourite artists go... I don't listen to a lot of chill-out music, but I've always loved Fous De La Mer, Audio Lotion, Thievery Corporation, etc. However, new artists today who really inspire me are Everything Everything, Tame Impala, Toro y Moi, Mac Demarco, Lorn, Battle Tapes... I don't consider many people to be a genius, but Frank Zappa certainly was. I miss his innovative compositions and also his cutting insight into music, politics, sex, religion and so much more. He produced more phenomenal music in his lifetime than most of us ever would in 10 lifetimes. And if Frank were alive today, oh my God he would have so much to write about!!!
Christopher Hitchens was also a terrible loss. A huge intellect and a master of language and argument. Someone who had the knowledge, eloquence and *wit* to confront and debunk so many oppressive, corrupt and archaic views, regardless of who threatened him. We need more people like him today.
Prox: Favorite Hobbies?
GC: The beach, nature and inspiring company keeps me happy. I also have a passion for history. I often feel like I was born out of my time, so any chance to explore the past, to do historical and heritage work I enjoy.
Prox: Tips for aspiring artists?
GC: There have never been more opportunities or more ways to get your music heard than today. However, there have never been more people all trying to do the same thing in competition with you. So be prepared to be 90% promoter/hustler and 10% musician if you want to make a living as an artist. Otherwise just enjoy your passion for music and do it for your own artistic expression. Don't allow others to dilute your creativity, because there is no greater buzz than connecting with like minded artists and fans through your own work.
Prox: Information on upcoming projects and releases?
GC: X Communication, the first single from my forthcoming Groovecatcher Aqua de Vida EP, was released in September 2017. The second single from the EP is Send Me An Angel released 1st December 2017. As I explained previously, this is an extremely special track for Groovecatcher. The full new Groovecatcher Aqua de Vida EP is released on 2nd February 2018. I hope you enjoy it all!
Prox: Final Thoughts?
GC: I’d like to thank you Prox, for the interview, for the feature and for supporting Groovecatcher's music. Inside The Rift is an inspirational and important place for independent music and independent thinking, long may it continue. And a huge thank you to everyone who spends $0.99 on a download of my music! Connect with me on Facebook www.facebook.com/groovecatcher and Instagram www.instagram.com/groovecatcheruk
Peace and thanks.
Simon – Groovecatcher
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