A breath of fresh air: introducing the multi-talented newcomer Trey Cooper

If you’ve been following the likes of Taj Ralph these past months or loved what Chet Faker’s early work was about, then sit up and listen to the new music coming from Gold Coast local Trey Cooper. With husky, yearning vocals atop exquisite production, his latest single Embrace is really something to take note of.

We caught up with the nineteen year old in the midst of the whirlwind he has found himself in while recording, producing and promoting this new track. Trey is really only fresh out of high school, and until recently his main gig was busking on the streets of the Gold Coast. With wisdom beyond his years and a determination to tell his story through music, the young singer songwriter is breaking down any barriers in his way.

Trey Cooper

Trey Cooper is an exciting find for anyone after a mellow yet complex sound. With light handed production and beautifully vulnerable lyricism, here is an artist who will undoubtably make waves.

He has an EP coming out later in May and if Embrace is anything to go off of, this is sure to be a breakthrough for the young artist. It’s a long and hard road for anyone jumping into Australian music, but these are the stories Trey Cooper is interested in telling. Currently looking forward to a future which is unknown, Trey is carving his own path.

We got in touch with Trey to chat about the release process so far, and where he can see the next year going in the aftermath of this new single.

HAPPY: You’re pretty young, have you found the industry to be an intimidating place? Any unexpected twists and turns?

TREY: I have found the industry to be more diverse rather than something that’s intimidating. It’s definitely confronting in terms of the big picture and the realisation that you’re up against the people you’ve drawn inspiration from and respected your whole life, but it’s more exciting to see if my writing can take me there and if people are drawn to my music. At the moment I’ve found more determination and focus to translate anything unexpected into a positive learning curve rather than be something that makes me stumble.

HAPPY: You’ve tagged your sound as acoustic folk leaning towards alternative rock, who are some of your influences at the moment?

TREY: I can’t exactly pin point what my songs fit into but in terms of a broad definition, leant towards alternative rock and acoustic folk to define my writing styles. I wouldn’t say the songs are limited to a certain genre and I see this as a good thing as my influences range from the king of pop, Michael Jackson to the more sensual, deep minded Jeff Buckley. These artists will always be my core influences but lately I’ve also found myself also caught up in a lot of Jaden Smith, xxxTentacion, Scott James and Daniel Cesar.

HAPPY: Where are you hoping to take your music in the coming year, can we expect any exciting developments?

TREY: I think there’s always going to be developments with my music because I don’t plan on being defined by one certain sound, it’s more about having my stylistic approaches and key aspects of my songwriting define me, but they can always change too. The plan so far is to try and get love from people towards this first EP, and if people are digging that things can only get better.

HAPPY: You’re from the Sunshine Coast. What makes Queensland a great place to make and hear new music?

TREY: I sure am. I see Queensland as a place that is very welcoming with music and people are engaged in certain parts of the live scenes. There isn’t a million high end studios where people can just get given a grant and work with the ‘best’ because there isn’t a million labels lurking either. I think that this is a something great as well because music now has platforms like triple J that are encouraging more people to express their ideas without having to always conform to the idealism of having to use a certain studio with certain producers that already have a name for themselves, fitting in to something thats already been done a million times over. There’s a majority of people more than qualified to be top notch producers/engineers and musicians which are much more innovative with home studios in Queensland, not to mention everywhere else as well.

Trey Cooper

HAPPY: Your music has been noted as ‘dramatic but never pompous’, can you explain this?

TREY: ‘Dramatic but never Pompous’ is something that my manager would always say about my songs, my vocabulary doesn’t extend that far. Jokes set aside it’s a great attachment to what my songs represent and to me it’s simply saying they are still symbolic of the love and pain I was in when I wrote them. They aren’t self assured or something that’s patronising, I’m still trying to find myself and figure out where these emotions came from and how I was feeling at the time. Each time I listen to or play them there is a different way I connect to them.

HAPPY: Tell us a bit about recording your EP and what you think you learned from the process.

TREY: Last night I honestly listened back to the demos I recorded myself before the EP and I don’t even think I realised how much I’ve learnt. Working with a producer such as Sam Vallen has taught me all about the processes and professionalism that is expected in a working environment and it was such a fluent process, even when we found ourselves stuck there was always a solution. More than anything I’ve learnt more about discipline with my instrumentation, quick thinking and all of the possibilities when you’ve put your producer hat on and you’re ready to help crash pro tools.

HAPPY: Can you tell us a bit about filming the music video for Embrace and where this inspiration for the track and accompanying clip came from?

TREY: Originally my manager and I sat down and brainstormed some ideas about what we could imagine accompanying the song, which was along the lines of something sensual and mysterious in terms of being vague, imagery that didn’t give too much away, and representing the idea of chasing something but it always being out of reach. We thought the concept was good but the idea of sending it off to Whynotfilms and having them write up a script was a lot more suitable and helped come up with something that was more manageable.

The end result in my opinion is wicked. The video connects with a younger audience with the themes it incorporates, it’s a night out in the city with a woman and her masked lover for the night, there’s a theme of mystery there but also that concept of having that one person so close to you but they are still so distant, your not not knowing who they really are. Without diving too deep there’s always hidden meanings to stuff but it’s more fun for me to know and everyone else to find out.