First up, who makes up Cogel?
We’re a five piece – Alex Cameron (violin, BV’s), Nick Langley (lead guitar, BV’s), Lloyd Prescott (bass), Ed Prescott (drum, BV’s) and Nic Cogels (vocals, guitar)
Given Nic is from Belgium, what sequence of events led you to end up playing in a band together?
I landed in Oz 6 years ago. I didn’t know any muso so I started solo (hoping to form a band). Then I met Ed who told me he could drum and I played him one of my demo. He liked it and we formed a band with his brother Lloyd. After 6 months of playing as a 3 piece and releasing an EP, we felt like the sound needed something. Nick Langley was playing a gig with a local band one night and we loved his groove (and his moves on stage too!). We had a drink with him that night and we knew he was the right match.
I thought that violin could bring a great texture to our sound. A friend introduced me to Alex Coroneo, violinist from Winter People. She was too busy with her own band to join another one, but she introduced me to another Alex, as they use to play violin together. I met with (our) Alex and we played an acoustic session in my living room. 12 seconds later, Cogel became a 5 piece.
Obviously the name ‘Cogel’ is inspired by Nic’s last name. Why did you drop the ‘S’ and did you ever consider some alternative names?
We looked at a lot of names, but they all felt a bit cliché. My girlfriend said that I should drop the ‘S’ of my name. She thought it sounded cool. Ed was keen for us to have a name that sounded a bit abstract and unusual (a bit like Beck, Feist or Bon Iver). So when we looked at the list again, Cogel stood out like the weirdest option. So we took it.
Your drummer Ed has his own solo project as Edward Deer. Does this help Cogel or is a bit of a distraction?
Ed’s solo project is of great value to the band as his mind is really switched on in terms of trying various arrangements, he keeps learning a lot of ‘tricks’ by doing his own music which are useful for us. It’s never been an obstacle to the band and we’ve managed to keep both projects separate.
Say somebody stumbles across you guys playing a live set. How are they going to describe your sound to their mates. What other comments might they make?
Ha, I wish I knew! People put different labels to our music. They might say our sound is ethereal, dramatic, pop, alternative, indie,… They will probably talk about the violin, because it is a real ‘engine’ to our sound (and Alex is quite energetic on stage too!).
What do your record collections look like? Which bands have had the biggest influence on your sound?
I have records (mainly) from the 90’s until now.
To name a few : Pavement, Lemonheads, Beck, Sonic Youth, Radiohead, Air, Beastie Boys, Feist, Bat for Lashes, Midlake, Something For Kate (love their last album), Chairlift, Kings of Convenience, The National, Sufjan Stevens,…
I’d say most of these bands are a great influence to me. And Evan Dando is probably one of my favourite vocalist.
Who is the main drive of inspiration behind your songs? Is there one experience you always draw on, or do you try and mix it up?
So far we have mainly written as a band, in the rehearsal room. We jam until something ‘grabs’ us, then we investigate the idea further. Or someone brings a melody to the table and we work around it. Also, I’ve brought a couple of songs that I wrote at my place (like Nowhere Near) and then we tried all sorts of arrangements together. So we try and mix it up.
Last year you were invited to support Gotye. What is it like having your talents recognised by Wally and being handpicked to perform at his shows?
We were very excited and honoured. Being handpicked by Gotye gave us more confidence about our sound too. Did I mention he is a really nice guy too?
The film clip for ‘Felusine’ is awesome. How did the idea for all the different heads come about?
Cheers! I saw this poster while I was on a trip in France, it was an ad with people who looked like statues. I thought that using statues – as static as they are – could be a good way to translate the sentiment of the song (being stuck in a relationship). I then thought that projecting faces onto a statue head could create an interesting contrast. So I started drawing/thinking about all sorts of different scenarios that could be cool to do with our heads, like having a bug crawling on Nick Langley’s head or filming my head underwater, to then projected it on a statue head…
I contacted a friend director of mine, Tim Gibbs, who jumped on board and came up with other cool ideas for the different heads to be filmed. He also had the idea to go and film the head in various locations, which truly brought the whole video together.
You have just released your new EP ‘Nowhere Near’, how would you describe the sounds on it. Do you a have a favourite track?
Melodic, Dark and Pop. My favourite track on it is The Bug.
What are your plans for little time that remains in 2012 and what does 2013 hold for Cogel?
We’re writing at the moment and aiming to record an album in 2013. We want to experiment more with the violin and adding keys perhaps. We are working on our live show and try to make it a more visual experience for the audience.