Cooly G: I don’t think that kids get in the way of your career
Ask any single mum what they are up to this summer, and the chances are ‘releasing my debut album’ isn’t on the top of their to-do list. But, to be fair, most mums aren’t as together as Cooly G, who manages to juggle being one of the UK’s most in demand DJs and remixers with being a devoted mum of two young children. This is one lady whose reserve and determination runs as deep as the rumbling basslines in her music.
Just a few months ago, the south Londoner became a mum for the second time, fulfilling her ambition of having two children before the age of thirty. In July, she will oversee another new arrival in the form of her debut LP Playin’ Me on the achingly-hip Hyperdub label.
The album was a year in the making, and she reveals, is more personal to her than many people may realise.
“All the songs are a little, mini-journey of all the things that have happened. The first song is before I had my son, and the journey up to now,” she says. “All the little things that have happened, and sounds and vibes, are like notations. Some of the beats mean things, so it’s deeper than people probably think.”
Along with “a few little sounds that I got sent over from America”, the only track on the album that she didn’t write herself is a cover of Coldplay’s ‘Trouble’, which she says she included as its lyrics struck a chord. “It was really weird, I don’t even know. I was just vibesing, I think I was having one of those moments. I heard the track again in my house, sitting down, and I thought ‘ooh let me take the beginning bit’… so to start with was sample it, make the beat around it, and then quickly sang it,” she explains.
“Obviously I redid the pianos as we couldn’t use the original ones, but it wasn’t ‘oh my days I wanna do a cover! Oh my days it’s gonna be Coldplay’, it was in the vibes of doing the album. The lyrics of Trouble are kinda like something that I’ve been through so it works for the album. It was all natural, it wasn’t planned.”
The only part of the album that isn’t all down to Cooly is the title. “I liked the idea of it, but the label chose it. I wanted it to be called something that was not anything to do with the tracks, I wanted it to be called ‘Connotations’, many meanings of one thing which is what the album is. But Playing Me sort of made sense in that they’re playing me, and listening to me, in different senses.”
While there are no remixes lined up for the album at the moment, she admits it’s something she’s given thought to. “I haven’t spoken to Hyperdub about any remixes, but I have been thinking of any I would want specifically. I’d like DJ Gregory to remix a track, and maybe Diplo.”
As a self-confessed family person, you can’t help but think that the album is extra special to her as her five-year old son helped with production duties. “I work from home, and my son helped record some of the vocals, I’ve taught him how to engineer, he’s five. He’s not really musical, he’s more technical and I think I’m gonna get him in to computers and IT – he knows how to use a Macbook, iPad, everything. I mean in deep, he goes mental on it,” she laughs.
The album was completed shortly before the birth of her daughter earlier this year. “I was recording the last bit with her in the belly. I wanted to have two kids before I turn thirty. I don’t think that kids get in the way of your career, as I’ve been doing my thing with my son on my own as a single parent, all this time. It’s a blessing, it’s all about family. I’m a family type person so I’ve got to be happy both ways. If I make good music in a house with two kids, I’m happy.”
Cooly G is one of Hyperdub’s brightest stars, and counts dubstep heavyweights Kode9 and Burial among her peers. Other label mates Laurel Halo and Scratcha DVA are performing alongside her at Tiger Presents: Hidden Depths of Hyperdub this Wednesday, where she will be able to introduce fans to her solo work.
How do you go about introducing people to the sound of your album, when usually you’d be playing a DJ set? “I’m gonna rebuild some of the tracks while I’m performing and come out and sing some of them. Because it’s a short set, it won’t be how it usually is in a live set,” she says.
Another chance for her to show off her new material will come shortly after Playin’ Me’s release at London festival Bloc. “I have different styles, one for promoting the album, and one that is quite dramatic with lots of effects, a live bass and loads of mad machines. At Bloc I hope to do a show that’s more dramatic.”bloc, Burial, coldplay, Cooly G, Hyperdub, Ikonika, Kode9, Laurel Halo, music, Scratcha DVA, Tiger Presents: Hidden Depths of Hyperdub
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