Will Joseph Cook is young – like, really young. Incredibly young. Quite, quite disgustingly young. Finally finishing high school a matter of weeks before this interview, the 18 year old Kentish newcomer is relieved that his love of music won't be restricted to weekends, in service days and holiday periods.
“It's so good to be finished!” he exclaims. “It was weird, because it was more my brother who was into collecting CDs and all that when we were younger, and it was only until I was a teenager that I really got into it.”
Picking up the guitar at the age of 13, Will began writing songs almost immediately. A tool, a vessel for his feelings, music has followed him through his adolescence, becoming first a hobby and then an obsession. Finding a like mind in producer Hugh Worskett, the pair recently completed enthralling new EP 'Proof Enough'.
“It was fairly instantaneous,” he reflects. “We like the same music, he's passionate about what we're doing so it works really well. It wasn't until then that I found something that really worked. And it enabled all my ideas, rather than a producer trying to inject too much of their own influence.”
Snapped up by Atlantic, the teenage talent is remarkably well-grounded for someone who has had such a remarkable 12 month journey. “It was actually last May that I signed my deal with them,” the singer recalls. “It was really natural. I'm friends with my A&R and, for a major, they're just letting me do what I want, embracing my vision of what I want the tracks to sound like. They're fairly laissez faire, they let me get on with it. It's been great.”
Vast pop songs with a human touch, 'Proof Enough' is, well, proof enough that – in the case of Will Joseph Cook – if they're good enough then they're old enough. Dexterous, ambitious and mature, the material is the work of an artist who is deeply independent and knows exactly he wants. “I think if you're calling yourself a singer-songwriter then you've got to remember the second half of your name,” he states. “I've never been into co-writes or anything like that.”
Taking his music out to the world, Will Joseph Cook has linked up with London duo Deafkid for his live shows. It's stripped down but hugely promising, the pair providing a new percussive skeletal for Will to flesh out with that golden, rippling voice. “I've played with a few set ups over the past few years, from just mates playing with me to other musicians that I need to work with. But right now I'm with Deafkid. I'm looking to get more players because at the moment it's just out of necessity that it's the three of us, in terms of being able to fit everything in the back of a Fiat Panda...” he says, laughing gently. “But it's really good. It's nice working with these guys.”
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'Proof Enough' is out now - purchase link. Catch Will Joseph Cook at London's Lexington venue on September 14th.