The Winnie Coopers have delivered their unique blend of hip hop, rock and reggae for more than half a decade now. Theyâ€™ll be showing off their latest goods when they launch their eagerly awaited third album, â€˜Surface Parasitesâ€™, later this month. They may even dress up for the occasion.
â€œItâ€™s good to do hip hop gigs in the suburbs of Brisbane that donâ€™t usually get the opportunity to see that genre of music,â€ says Charlie Thomson, the MC also known as The Educator. â€œAnd weâ€™re looking forward to performing with The Optimen and the Coalition Crew. Thereâ€™s going to be a lot of guest spots and a lot of improvisation, and Iâ€™m hoping I can convince the other members to dress up in Halloween costumes. So that might take some convincing but I was thinking Ghost Busters theme. It depends on the budget constraints.â€
The third album from the Gold Coast five-piece was inspired by Surfers life. â€œBasically the concept of the album is about where weâ€™re from, the Gold Coast, and Surface Parasites is a nickname locals give to the area Surfers Paradise. So I guess itâ€™s a play on words and a bit of a nod to where weâ€™re from. But also, we sort of believe Surfers Paradise is a bit of a microcosmos to society in general, and itâ€™s a place full of hope and despair. We just wanted to deal with those issues in our songwriting and we thought itâ€™d be an interesting backdrop and inspiration for the album.â€
â€˜Surface Parasitesâ€™ represents a musical progression for The Winnie Coopers. â€œThe actual album itself has more of a live band feel to it, more harmonies and melodies in the songs and weâ€™re pretty happy with the production of it.â€
The membersâ€™ varying experiences over the past few years added a depth to their songwriting previously unheard in The Winnie Coopersâ€™ recordings. â€œI think we all went through different things in our lives. A lot of the band members had children and settled down, so we wanted our songs to have, as well as a sense of humour, a serious tone and social messages. I think thatâ€™s just naturally going to happen when youâ€™ve been in a band for a few years, your songwriting is going to mature and develop as you, as a person, do.â€
The five-piece worked with Kate Miller-Heidke and Evil Eddie (of Butterfingers) to make the record a truly local collaboration. â€œSo one of the best things is everything on the album is Queenslander-based, and that was something that was really important to us, that it had a local feel to it, and local explorations â€¦ I guess it highlights the diversity of the album to have two very different guests collaborating on the album. Thatâ€™s what we wanted to do, push the envelope a bit more with the album and with the hip hop music thatâ€™s coming out of the area.â€
Charlie says the collaboration with Eddie felt as natural as hanging out with mates. â€œIt was a lot of fun. All of the band members grew up listening to Butterfingers, and even some of his other hip hop work, and to have him on our album is a great privilege. And his sense of humour and particularly how he doesnâ€™t take himself too seriously is something that I guess we share. It was great to have him involved in the process.â€
Miller-Heidke, who is classically trained, provided a different dynamic to the album. â€œWeâ€™ve done shows together around the traps and it was very humbling working with someone of her caliber on the album. We were really excited about what she brought to the song, and just found her very easy to work with. Sheâ€™s a great inspiration for local musicians.â€
As one of few hip hop crews from the Goldie, The Winnie Coopers see pros and cons from being the black sheep. â€œThereâ€™s only a few groups that are going around the Gold Coast, and I think a big problem is having a lack of venues to perform at. So I think thatâ€™s an issue affecting artists. Having said that, weâ€™re proud to be from the Gold Coast, and represent that area. And itâ€™s still growing and developing but itâ€™s nowhere near as established as the Brisbane music scene. But it makes us stand out. And it also gives us opportunities to perform at venues and with artists from other genres. So we see that as a positive thing because we can play to different audiences.â€
â€˜SURFACE PARASITESâ€™ WILL BE LAUNCHED AT FITZYâ€™S LOGANHOLME ON SATURDAY OCTOBER 23.