Hollie Cook Interview
AUTHOR: Gita Patel aka Shakti (Dubcentral)
Hollie Cook is the daughter of Sex Pistols drummer Paul Cook and mother Jeni who was once a member of Culture Club, and to top it off Boy George is her Godfather! She’s collaborated with Ian Brown, Jamie T, Prince Fatty and Horseman, and featured at The Stone Roses Tour in 2012 and Later with Jools Holland!
How did Hollie Cook get started?
Well, it’s hard to say as I started in the first few years of life! Always singing and dancing and showing off. I left school and got straight into music and was in bands with friends and stuff like that. I went to Music College in between various attempted projects. But I probably really started to come into my own when I joined The Slits when I was 19. I had my first real touring experience with them and got really into performing live. The Slits always had a huge influence from reggae music and although I already loved it, I got more involved and more influenced in writing and performing in that style.
Could you tell me about your work with Prince Fatty and Horseman and how your live band formed?
Somewhere along the way I heard some early Prince Fatty recordings and fell in love with the sound! I got in touch and he invited me to his studio in Brighton. It was all very relaxed and casual and fortunately he kept inviting me back! That has been going on for about the last 7 years now. We ended up with an album, which led to gigs and tours…and here I am. I suppose for me it just sort of fit. There was no real plan of any kind and it sort of just started to take form and fall together. Horseman is an amazing musical human. Anything involving him is hugely blessed. He drums on almost every song I sing and it made sense for him to play for the live band shows. His energy is incredible, so when we do the sound system and he is on the mic there’s no vibe quite like it. People love him. It’s always the best party if Horseman is there to entertain.
Reggae music is created with incredible amounts of soul and pride. It is more than just music; it is a way of life. Can you tell us why you love this sound so much and how it became such a huge part of your life?
I think it’s hard to explain why sometimes. It’s just a feeling and an energy that is special. It draws you in and makes you feel so good. It’s hard to describe without sounding too cheesy isn’t it? But there really is something special it creates.
You’ve been touring around the world over the last few years; can you tell us a little bit more about your travels, any fond memories?
Some highlights over the last couple of years have definitely been going to La Reunion Island and Thailand! I mean I don’t even think I’d heard of La Reunion before I got to play there. And Thailand is such a beautiful country. Getting to travel miles and miles away and dip your feet in the Indian Ocean…even if I did cut my feet on coral and there were too many blue sharks to go swimming! Not long ago I got back from Japan which was awesome. I had been there once before. It’s totally weird and out of this world! I love all my travels. I’m like a gypsy! I feel pretty at one with being on the move. That’s not to say I don’t love being a homebody with my own bed. The highlight of 2013 was definitely Japan.
Your songs are pure, honest, and stimulating. What kind of message do you like to tell with your songs?
When it comes to music and singing, I wouldn’t really consider myself much of a messenger to be honest. The music process is a much more selfish and cathartic one for me! It’s all in some way linked to love. But it’s all up for interpretation if you ask me. I love to know people might be getting loved up to the sounds. When I see couples dancing close and kissing it fills me with joy – to my music I must add! I’m not a general weirdo perving on couples getting loved up! Ha yes lord knows where the purity in my singing voice comes from, I sing with honesty though so maybe I’m purer than I feel.
You call your sound ‘tropical pop’ which has been heavily influenced by your passion for reggae music. Who outside of reggae music inspires you musically?
Ha. I always think I know until I have to think about it! Girl groups such as The Rosettes and The Crystals, Dusty Springfield, and so you know there’s some 60′s pop in there and The Supremes, Diana Ross, Donna Summer, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie holiday, Patsy Cline, David Bowie and T Rex! I listen to anything from drum and bass to metal! I feel that it’s nice to paint your own picture of a sound and not get too boxed in. People make instant judgements when they are presented with a genre without having heard anything and describing music can be a bit boring so to just paint a picture with 2 simple words like ‘Tropical Pop’ that may intrigue someone is cool! So many styles of music and scenes seem to be merging more and more though, which is positive.
I heard that Legendary Front man Ian Brown personally invited you to support the Stone Roses Tour in 2012 after seeing you perform! What was it like playing to a crowd like that!?
He did yes. He sent my dad a text which he forwarded onto me. I was so freaked out when I read it that I just put my phone down on the sofa and carried on watching telly for half an hour! It was so intense to play on a stage like that, that I almost blocked it out completely. It was like it wasn’t happening and totally surreal. Really wonderful to be a part of those, they were the biggest gigs of 2012! Ian Brown is awesome! He’s a big reggae fan and has been so encouraging and positive about the music. I was like a deer in the headlights for that gig! It was the biggest stage I’ve ever been on, I can only be sure it happened because my mum filmed it!
Are you looking forward to coming to Sheffield this weekend to perform with Prince Fatty and Horseman? There is such a buzz in Sheffield and people are travelling from far and wide to see you guys. It’s fancy dress by the way, you dressing up!???
Are they really?!?! That’s mental! We haven’t gotten up North much to play, so it’s going to be great to have a real party up there!! Northerners are always up for a good time…..and dressing up?! I do love dressing up I’m glad you told me! Well I have a very over the top dress that I wanted to wear but always feel it needs a really special occasion, so that might be making an appearance! I call it my genie dress!
The last word is up to you!???
Oh god you’re brave! SING AND DANCE FREELY! Everyone should dance and sing along to at least one song every day! It’s so necessary to just lose yourself and feel uninhibited. Keep your Shakti flowing!! I guess I’m a hippie at heart.
Hollie Cook Website: www.holliecook.com