Next Wave #1106: The Cope
“If we’re going to do this, we may as well go all in.”
Do you believe in destiny? The idea that two people may cross paths countless times in their lives and never meet, until one day, they do. Then forever after that, it’s impossible to imagine an existence without them.
Meeting electronic duo The Cope, it’s clear that destiny exists. Appearing in seamless harmony on both ideas and execution, the pair’s synergy is evident, bounded by a vision so clear their pairing feels almost fatalistic.
The Dublin music scene is known for being relatively small; a close-knit web where everyone knows everyone. And yet, Joe Furlong and David Anthony Curley had somehow never met. Until one night, at an impromptu karaoke party, they found themselves belting out a Beastie Boys duet at 4am. It was instantaneous; effortless. They decided to get together and make music the following week.
Both bass players and electronic producers with years of band experience, the duo worked fastidiously on their first material in David’s Dublin studio over lockdown. Last year, they debuted with the single ‘True Romance’, an electronic meditation on love, isolation and control.
What truly set The Cope apart, though, was the visual accompaniment to the track. Expertly directed by David himself, it’s an arresting dance performance piece choreographed by their friend, the dance artist Zoë Ashe-Browne.
Ever since ‘True Romance’, The Cope have continued to work with Zoë, collaborating on the masterful music video for their most recent release, ‘Oíche/Back on My Bullshit’. Filmed at KMSKA (Royal Museum of Fine Arts) in Antwerp, the visual is split into two halves and stars James Vu Anh Pham, one of the world’s leading contemporary dancers. The videos feel in direct correspondence to the sonic direction of each song; ‘Oíche’ sweeping and dramatic, ‘Back on My Bullshit’ a near complete switch up in its playfulness.
“We made it [the video pitch] so absurd and over the top because we were like, there’s no way they’ll let us in to do this. So we might as well just imagine it however we want, because we will never get to realise it. And then they [KMSKA] were like yeah, whatever you want. Two days – go”, David explains.
The Cope place a gravity on forming a strong visual narrative to align with their musical releases. Finding themselves in a unique position where their existing skills and studio access meant they could create music for very little, the duo realised they had the budget to build a visual world at the scale they wanted. “You take music and add movement and then storytelling,” David tells. “Each one of those things lifts up the other. It’s so cumulative…it wasn’t like we wrote the music and then were like, we have to make a visual. When the music was done, it was like, we have such an opportunity here to take this to another level.. It needs to be given another world to live in that’s even better.”
When writing together, the pair foster a space where ideas can flow as openly as possible. At the heart of everything is a pure desire for enjoyment, above anything else. “Both of us have a lot of history playing with other people and musicians in bands over the years,” Joe says. “The whole purpose of this [The Cope] was that it was very casual initially, there was no point in bringing ego into it. We started writing together for fun and then realised there’s actually something interesting here. We just try to hold on to that every time we write together.”
The duo are currently working on their debut album, which is set to represent a wide scale of dance and electronic music in one record. “It’s representative of different experiences that you might have, on a night out in a club, for example, or maybe at a festival,” Joe shares of the concept.
Always thinking ahead, The Cope are already considering how the music will translate into a gig experience. “There was a freedom in the writing that it was okay to cross genre, because in a live show, it will all make total sense,” Joe reveals.
“We want it to be expressed in live euphoria. Lots of people in a field or a venue and it’s this huge collective experience,” David adds.
“To create this reciprocal loop between ourselves and an audience,” Joe finishes.
The dream is to create an audio-visual live experience akin to a Chemical Brothers show. “That level of interaction between everything we’ve done musically and audio visually, it comes together and we can be part of it and enjoy it as it happens, as much as people on the other side can,” David says.
“If we’re going to do this, put this music out and try and make this project happen, we may as well go all in,” Joe affirms.
With that kind of promise, it won’t be long until a Cope show will be the hottest tickets in town. Watch this space.
Words: Aimee Phillips
Photography: Alina Pagani