Jack Cooper of Ultimate Painting is heading out on a solo UK tour of intimate venues, including The Waiting Room on 12 September, in support of his first solo LP.
‘Sandgrown’, set for release on 25 August, is inspired by growing up on the Fylde Coast.
“Everyone’s from somewhere,” says Cooper. “I don’t think it’s particularly important people know this album is about Blackpool, but I think everyone can empathise with the themes on the record.”
He spent his teenage years working summer jobs as a deckchair attendant in the town that was still a popular tourist destination at the time.
“There were just a lot of interesting people around all the time… weirdos who were drawn to the seaside in the summer. Winter would come and you had this huge community of people who didn’t really know what to do,” he explains.
“I’ve been trying to do this record since I was about 18… I bought my first four-track with the proceeds of a summer working on the promenade and I guess I got sidetracked along the way. I’ve been listening to Terry Allen’s ‘Lubbock (On Everything)’ a lot and I wanted to make something that painted a picture of a place as vividly as that. I love how Frank Sinatra’s ‘Watertown’ feels so cinematic.”
With such personal stories to tell, Cooper felt the need to record alone, which allowed his natural voice to shine through.
“I think I’ve spent a long time in loud bands singing in a way that can be heard through music,” he reasons.. “The songs that I wrote for ‘Sandgrown’ suit my voice more than anything I’ve done before.”
The intimate lead single ‘Gynn Square’ is a case in point.
“I wanted to write something about my time renting out deckchairs on Blackpool Promenade. Working there, socialising with all these weirdos and hanging around the promenade was a life defining time.
“Gynn Square was the furthest deckchair stack… this weird outpost where no one would ever go but it was an area that seemed to have this dread to it. You’d typically show up and have to ask a homeless guy to move so you could open the stack, settle him down in a chair for the day and then wait to see who’d show up… drag queens on breaks from Funny Girls or lost American tourists. It was always interesting but had this dangerous air.”