COOPER Dodge may have thousands of people following his music, but finding an audience has never been one of his priorities.
Above: Cooper Dodge has released a new single, Black Sun.
Artwork by Nicholas Keays, image by William Kulich.
This article was first published in the 10 October 2014 edition of the Warragul & Baw Baw Citizen.
The Drouin-based musician and DJ, who goes by the moniker “SBMRGE” for his music, recently released his latest single, Black Sun, to the delight of over 3,000 followers on SoundCloud and over 1,100 Facebook fans.
His online audience may be large for a musician based in Baw Baw, but that popularity is only a side-effect of his personal musical interests.
FREE DOWNLOAD: Black Sun by SBMRGE. Click here.
“I don’t really write music for anyone else to listen to, I write it as a sentimental thing just because I love writing music,” Cooper told the Warragul & Baw Baw Citizen.
“SoundCloud is just a great platform to share your music with other people. I thought, ‘well, if I’m producing music I might as well share it with everyone else.'”
“I don’t really follow the reactions of people to my music. I check up and stuff like that, but it’s not really something I care about as much as writing actual music.”
Cooper has taken a long route to the ambient, wistful music he releases, and what drove him to start producing is “a tricky question.”
“I used to listen to a lot of hard-core and punk, and all of a sudden I started listening to lots of 90’s instrumental hip hop, which really just drew me in,” he said.
“I got interested in writing that kind of stuff and sampling (grabbing sounds from songs and other sources for use in other songs) soul and jazz tracks and stuff like that.
“I’ve played drums since I was really young, so writing hip hop tracks was just a no-brainer really. From there I found a lot of chilled out electronic stuff, which really inspired me to write that kind of music.
“From there my sound’s progressed to be my own.”
“There’s a guy called Shlohmo who was the reason I [decided] I wanted to start producing music. I think he’s a musical genius, and the atmospheres he makes really draw you in and it’s like going on a musical journey for me, listening to Shlohmo.”
Cooper said his sudden popularity on social media and music publishing websites came as a surprise to him. He only began producing music just over a year and a half ago.
“It’s really weird, it just happened extremely quickly, especially with SoundCloud – it’s just a really great way to share music I reckon,” he said.
“It’s just such a big audience.
“For me I’m just writing music and all the other stuff is just in addition, all the shows and things.”
Cooper has played a number of live DJ sets and went on an “unofficial tour” earlier this year.
“It was just a band of four shows; I played [in Melbourne,] on the Sunshine Coast, Bendigo and in Sydney,” he said.
Cooper also said his style of music and how he releases his music means producing from Baw Baw was not a hindrance.
“If I was playing in a band or something like that, of course it would be a lot harder, it’s hard to push that kind of stuff,” he said.
“But when there’s a lot of people doing production it’s a lot easier to network.
“It’s not really a problem, living out here.”
The idea for Cooper’s new single, Black Sun, came together quite quickly after a short period of inactivity.
“I just went through this really bad bout of writer’s block and all of a sudden I just sat down and it just came to me in a day or so,” he said.
“I ended up finding an African choir vocal sample and that completely changed how I wanted to write the song.
“I was just happy with the sound, I guess, and [made a big thing of releasing it because] I was just happy to have something to release, I guess.”
“The process of writing a song is basically weeks, maybe months of writer’s block, and then sitting down, maybe on the way to work on the train, and it usually starts with just a bassline or a melody, basically just the tiniest idea that will actually spark something.
“I do have to prepare to actually sit down and write something.
Asked to describe his sound, Cooper said: “Some of my stuff has a nostalgic sense, I think.”
“To me it’s nostalgic because a lot of my stuff is inspired by earlier stuff I used to listen to. For someone who hasn’t listened to it before though? I would say dreamy, almost, I don’t really know.”
Although he produces music for himself, Cooper is still keen to have a career in music.
“Definitely. it’s something that if I could make a living out of I would do.”
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