Shane Cooper better known as Card On Spokes took the time out to contextualise, for one small seed, the upcoming release of the song ’Disguises’ as well as his new EP set to drop early 2013.
There’s something about the melancholic synths and the pitter patter of the hihats building into the drop just before the distorted high voice sings stay, stay, stay glitched out into a non-sensical arrangement of words where a barely audible I’m sorry comes in, only to repeat the stay. A crash bass and multiple kicks later we’ve dropped into the world of alien electronica. Reaching levels of almost ethereal austerity as it switches up without warning yet stays on the same path of discovery and unravelling the layers in which the song is comprised. It’s more of a journey than an actual song and takes its own voyage leaving the traveller subject to its choice of route before reaching the destination.
OSS: The difference between Card On Spokes and Shane Cooper is…
COS: It’s like Iron Man and Tony Stark, but not really. Card On Spokes is a pocket on my jeans where I keep a bag of nyum-nyums that I only indulge in for electric-hootenannys and deep space synth voyages.
Does that leave Shane (Tony) as an instrumentalist?
Ja, when I play as a bassist I go by my given name. When I make music at the mercy of a functioning powerpoint I am COS. Then I can pass the buck if shit hits the fan.
Have you ever found yourself having to do that, passing the buck? Has shit ever hit the fan?
My laptop crashed during a show just before Felix Laband and PHFat once. I had to rinse out some mad delays on my synth till the laptop started up again. I sweated so hard in those few moments. I think the psycho-delay trick worked.
Did anyone notice? Assuming being PHFat fans the kids were already way drunk so they don’t count at this point…
A few kids in the front row started shouting for Dubstep. Some friends said they thought I did it to build tension. Tense it was.
Gotta love the moments of improv right? So how would you say that you’ve stylistically progressed from In You Go? which was your last EP drop…
In You Go was a collection of tunes that I wrote over two years that I felt represented some of the different sounds and beats that I was delving into. It was also closure for me from that period of writing, and gave me a chance to start fresh with a clean canvas. The new EP has a lot of similar colours and characteristics, but I feel my sound is a lot more focused on this EP. I know how to express my ideas more clearly now, and I have better techniques of creating more detail and widening things sonically, which was something I wanted to work on for this release. I learnt a lot from the process of finishing In You Go, and working with Sibot and Dank on the post-production. It informed a lot of the kind of opening moves I made when starting sketches in the studio.
I think a lot of the magic in a track has to happen in the first few hours of writing.
I also have a lot of new sounds and instruments to play with now, so I’ve been recording and manipulating some acoustic instruments on this record. Less is more, but sometimes more is more.
Having greater clarity in the expression of your ideas do you find yourself satisfied in their execution? How do you handle the collaborative efforts you have to undertake for instance in the post of each joint you make, seeing as the process is quite personal? And with the upcoming video how do you think it’s gonna aid the realisation of a tangible idea for the music made? Are you trusting the director’s vision or are you making sure the song doesn’t get lost in the translation that is the video…
Well, I’m happier with the delivery of my sounds than I was before, but I’m always trying to improve on the way I make music, while being true to the initial idea that seeded the song. In terms of the post-production, I only work with people whose opinion I trust and input I value as a quality perspective to help me be more objective about the sound. That’s why I worked with Sibot and Dank on the last EP. I really enjoyed having them hear the stuff and give me feedback. I hear things differently as soon as I’m in a room playing it to someone else. The post-production can be really tricky, it’s like putting a magnifying glass on everything, and at that point you don’t want to back track too far, so you have to be confident in what’s been written. Those guys also know when or when not to to make any comments on the creative aspects of the track, which is key. What it really comes down to though, is if the post-production guys can add the right juice to your song. I had Matthew de Nobrega master In You Go as well, and he’s a wizard for that.
For the video the director told me about his rough idea and then I sent him a song I thought would work. I had full faith in what he would come up with, cause I’m a fan of his work. He called me with an edit one day, and I was completely stoked with the outcome. I think the video suits the track perfectly, and it’s funny as well, which is great. A sense of humour in music and music videos is important.
And what does ‘Disguise’ mean to you? What are you saying with it?
Well, the title was the first word that came to my head when I wanted to name the song, so I can’t claim there is a deeper meaning behind the title. I’m generally more into the shapes and colours of a song than a specific meaning. When I wrote this I was listening to a lot of dark UK stuff, and it was winter and pretty cold in Cape Town, so I guess that influenced me. I also have to credit Earl Grey tea.
Interview by: Phumlani Pikoli