Cooper, D.C. (Silent Force) (February 2002)


The Voice Of Silent Force: DC Cooper

DC Cooper (© Silent Force) Boasting one of the best voices in all of metal, DC Cooper has clearly something in mind, to infatuate every person out there with the second work of his new band, Silent Force. Let's hope he achieves his goal, because he not only possess a great pair of lungs, but he is also a sincere and clever man, as we can notice from this interview - let's start reading?

II: Hi DC, how are you doing?

DC: I'm fine. How are you?

II: I'm fine, too. Thank you, DC!

DC: Yeah, [from] what town in Italy are you calling?

II: I'm calling from Pesaro. It's a city located in the centre of Italy, near Rimini. Do you know Rimini?

DC: Yeah, I know Rimini. OK!

II: So we can start the interview, right?

DC: Yeah, absolutely.

Silent Force - InfatuatorII: OK, DC, we start with Infatuator, your new CD. What are the differences, in your opinion, between it and The Empire Of Future ?

DC: I think that this new album is much more mature. It sounds more like a band; obviously we have matured as musicians, as friends and as business partners together. People should hear this change and I believe they will. First album ... well I felt very good, I felt very strong about it, but with this album there's even more. You know, whenever you spend a couple of months on the tour bus together, you just have more of a union. I think that this is probably the main difference between The Empire Of Future and Infatuator.

II: You know DC, I think that Infatuator is truly a varied album. I mean, it seems like Stratovarius, Judas Priest, Queensryche all melted together. Were you looking for a diverse CD like this or not in the beginning?

DC: Well, yeah, because the bottom line is that we are not doing anything new. We are not doing something that someone will say: "Oh, my God, listen to this amazing new stuff." It's really impossible to do that today; it's very, very rare that you actually hear a band or a musician doing something really, really new. I don't think of myself or someone else in the band going: "Ta-da, here we are, we do something new." To me, every guitar lick has been played in the history of music, every drumbeat has been done, every vocal line has been sung. It's only how a new interpretation is brought together by a new team of musicians, and I think that we (as Silent Force) try to concentrate very, very directly on making sure that we get that straight, and that we also get our influences across, because, like you said you hear many influences in the record. To me I even hear some Saxon influences, but it's how you make them sound, how you kind of re-invent what your influences are. With this team of musicians everyone has really stepped up to the plate, and really did the best that they could possibly do. I couldn't be more proud of the guys.

II: OK, going on to the songs ? one of the best is certainly the "Trilogy," composed of "Cena Libera," "Gladiator," and "The Blade." Can you tell me how you developed this song?

DC: Oh, well, why do you like the song? [chuckles] OK, Alex and I both have always had this love for the Roman Empire, for its history. We love all the movies about the subject, and we sat and watched all of those from the beginning, back to the one that had Kirk Douglas starring. We were always into that, and Alex had a couple of songs that he had written with "Ta-ta-da", with the big Roman Empire horns, and then crushing rhythms like the "Gladiator" song. He played those songs to me and they were great. So I thought I had to step up and write some lyrics that matched the music. You know, we just enjoy that old theme, and when the Gladiator movie came along, it really set the pace for us. It was just fascinating to me that a gladiator, a warrior, was loved by his fans; that one day he could have sex all over the place with all these women, and eating food and wine, just basically having the best life one could ask ... and then, the very next day he could be lying dead in the middle of the Coliseum, being chewed up by a lion, while his fans were cheering in the stands. That was amazing to me, it's a thing that absolutely blows my mind. Well, obviously things don't happen like that today; but back in those times, there was that type of life that, literally, was living and dying between day and day. You didn't know what the future held for you the next day. You could be like the gladiator, a star one day, and then the next a failure, after losing a fight.

II: OK. Another one is the beautiful "Hear Me Calling," which is dedicated to your lost brother?

DC: "Hear Me Calling" was a really tough one, for sure. I didn't even realize at first what I was doing. The accident was something that had happened quite a few years ago, and whenever you lose a family member ? well, let's say you just try to never really deal with it. You just kind of leave the thing alone and OK, I don't want to talk about it, so then you don't have to deal with it. And that's the way I was for many, many years. But for some reason, I don't know how, something happened. Maybe it was just time to happen, that I was able to sit down and actually write about it. At first I didn't realize I was doing it ? I think Alex was the one who said: "Looks like your brother," and I answered: "Jesus, I guess it is!". So, for me, it was like all of a sudden, the time had arrived to deal with this tragic loss. I also remember that when we finished the recordings, we were listening to the songs and I couldn't keep a straight face when "Hear Me Calling" came. It was very difficult, very emotional, because the song means a lot to me. It refers to the last time I saw him, and I hope that a lot of people can kind of feel the compassion and emotion that's in my voice.

II: An unusual song for Infatuator is "In My Arms," which features a great duet of yours with Inka Auhagen. Do you think you'll do songs like this in the future?

DC: Sure. I mean, I'm a sucker for ballads, so... I enjoy writing ballads, and performing, singing them. So far, if you look at my history, I've always worked with female vocalists, even when I was in Royal Hunt. That probably kind of set the pace for me, and wherever I went, solo albums or not, I had female backing or lead vocals for ballads. I think I'm gonna continue to keep this trend alive, because it's something that I feel ... changes the perspective of the whole song. In fact, with two vocal styles the listener has a different ballad, he can see it in a different way, because there are two perspectives, not just one point of view. For me it means that whenever you have another voice it kind of changes the story a little bit, and it brings, you know, with husband and wife, or boyfriend and girlfriend, something that they can both look each other, they can understand each part that was written. I enjoy doing that kind of stuff. Yeah, I definitely think it will continue to be a vital part of my writing sessions.

II: Now, DC, can you tell me something about the upcoming tour you will do with Angra?

DC: Right now everything is already scheduled, and I will travel in the middle of February to start rehearsals. We will start the tour in Athens, Greece, on March 1st. I think we will come to Italy after Greece, then we will do Spain, France, Germany, Holland, Czech Republic ? so we have a pretty good tour set up right now.

II: There are rumours also about one with Rhapsody, right?

DC: Yeah, I know they are trying to work something out with Rhapsody as well, to enable us to extend our tour schedule after we have done the dates with Angra. I think it will be done, and maybe we will cover at least two more weeks of concerts.

Silent Force - The Empire Of FutureII: Returning to albums, DC, your first record has yet to see the light of day in the US, right? Do you think this situation will be solved soon?

DC: It appears to be changing right now. The interview I did before this was for the West Coast in Los Angeles, with a radio station, and they were very, very excited about the Silent Force stuff. You should know that the reviews we are getting here in the US are all great, and it all represents a pleasant surprise for us, 'cause I have never had so much hope for my own country [laughs]? And I know it's a shame, but I also believe I live in reality, so I just accept this fate and go on to elsewhere, and make my mark in life. But it looks promising right now, even if I don't think we will be able to sell 5,000,000 copies in the future chuckles] ? but who knows; this Saturday I'll do a feature for one of the top magazines here in the US, and I'm hoping that this is going to help as well. However The Empire Of Future album will be re-released here in the States over the next couple of months with a bonus track. It was never released before and I think it was a shame, because there were a lot of people who still bought it as an import sale.

II: But do you think that power metal can return to prominence in the US?

DC: I sure hope so. The biggest downside here are the radio stations and TV, even if in the past I sometimes looked at MTV and they were playing a few Ozzy or Judas Priest videos. But this doesn't happen anymore, and now they have all these black rappers, these boy-bands and stuff like that. It's such a difficult market here in the United States as of late; there's also such a high rate of competition, not even in the metal market, but in general, in the pop and R'n'B ones. These are the markets that are summing up the money right now, and record companies and radio stations obviously are focusing on them. What we do is definitely an underground thing, but it looks to be coming on strong. I hope I'm still around by the time it comes back, because I believe everything runs in cycles.

II: DC, now we move to more personal questions. First of all can you tell me something about the collaboration you had with Shadow Gallery?

DC: Carl-Cadden and Gary Werkhamp asked me if I would be interested in performing on one of their albums, and I told them I would definitely check them out, so they sent me the song. We got together and we became pretty good friends, and I think they are a great band. However I've never understood why they have never played concerts, and it seems that this aspect is just not on their priority list. They try to just put things together as a studio band, and they are happy with this position. So I mean you have to respect it, that's their personal choice, but I would like to see them live, too. However I really enjoyed working on their album, and I really think that the song in which I sing is one of the strongest of the album, but not just because I'm on it. [Cooper guested on 1998's Tyranny - ed.]

II: When did you start singing and did you ever take some lessons?

DC: I took over five years of opera training, but I started this training only after my 6, 7th year singing. I've been singing for over twenty years, so I hope this info doesn't give away my age too bad ... I really hope so [he smiles]. To me it's not the point of the age, of what the number says, but it's on the point of how you act, how do you feel [great way of thinking my buddy - II].

II: DC, among your hobbies there is golf. Have you ever done a foursome with the other members of the band while you were on the road or on vacation?

DC: Well, actually me and Alex play golf. Yes, we were able to play a lot of rounds in the past, and we always look to the next match down the road.

II: But who is the best among you?

DC: Wow, I have to say definitely me. Alex hasn't beat me once yet. But you know, Alex is a very competitive person, and he is really pissed off when he loses a match. But I've played golf longer than he has, so it's pretty normal that I'm a bit better. However you should know that we played a lot also when we recorded Infatuator, because we headed immediately for the golf course when we took a break from the studio sessions. We were playing in the morning then we would return to the studio and work on the album. It was a great way to train before singing.

II: Before the end, I have two more questions, DC. I've visited the Silent Force website today and I think it's very well done. What's your opinion on such things like the web and mp3?

DC: Oh, well, the web is clearly taking over the world, and it has already had a huge impact on the music market. In fact I think that maybe, at some point in the future, we could be left even without the CDs. Music could be only in mp3 format, who knows. But for me having an album, a CD, is still a big thing, because I always recall when I was a boy the excitement of waiting for an album to come out, to have it finally in my hands, to open it and gleefully read the lyrics while listening to the songs. Believe me, it is a great thing, and I hope that the CDs are going to remain in some way. On the other side I'm not a big fan of things such as Napster, because I think that taking the music of someone else for free is just not right. I mean, you can say I'm talking from a musician standpoint, but the listener has to remember that we can't do this for free, because we also have studios to pay and a lot of other expenses like doing tours, etc... The thing is that a lot of people always view musicians like spoiled children who only want to party, who use drugs and don't do anything the rest of day. But a lot of musicians are not this way, we have a life that's almost similar to the majority of people.

DC Cooper - DC CooperII: Final one, DC. You were simply superb as vocalist of Royal Hunt. Why have you parted ways with the band after such beautiful albums as Moving Target or Paradox?

DC: Well, I was basically fired over the Internet. Yes, that's right; I knew that I was fired from the band while surfing on the Internet, and you know what? I still expect a phone call that explains the decision. It's been six years that I'm waiting on this call. The fact is that at the time I was renegotiating my contract with the band, and Andr? didn't want to continue the talks. We were coming off the Paradox tour, and Andr? said that he wanted the band to take a year off. Well, as you might imagine, we were not popular like, say, Van Halen, who can take 5 years off and still make a living, so I managed to do my own thing while the band was in hibernation. I didn't want to sit on my ass and do nothing. So I took advantage of the break to do what I always wanted to do, start my own band. I asked and obtained the permission from the band to do this ... and you might recall that at the same time André started to record his solo album as well, and funnily enough he released it before mine. André knew that we had to renegotiate my contract after the break, but he suddenly stopped talks and next thing I know ... I'm out of Royal Hunt. It was really the most cowardly act I've received in my whole career, and that's the reason while I don't like to talk about it ... even if we had a good thing going?

II: OK, DC. Thank you very much. I think that's enough. All that is left for me to say is good luck with Silent Force and I hope to meet you when youl come in Italy with your band. A big hello for the moment.

DC: Hello Igor. Thanks for everything. I hope to meet you, too. A big kiss to all of Italy.

[Cooper returned to Royal Hunt in 2011. -ed.]


Discography:
Royal Hunt - Moving Target (1995)
Royal Hunt - Live 1996 (1996)
Royal Hunt - Paradox (1997)
Royal Hunt - Closing The Chapter (1998)
Royal Hunt - Double Live In Japan (1996)
DC Cooper (1999)
Silent Force - The Empire Of Future (2000)
Silent Force - Infatuator (2001)
Silent Force - Worlds Apart (2004)
Silent Force - Walk The Earth (2007)
Royal Hunt - Show Me How To Live (2011)
Royal Hunt - A Life To Die For (2013)
Silent Force - Rising From Ashes (2013)
Royal Hunt - Devil's Dozen (2015)

Added: February 8th 2002
Interviewer: Igor Italiani

Artist website: www.facebook.com/silentforceofficial
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Language: english
  

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