COOPER is Alejandro Diez’s new solo project, after the sad split of LOS FLECHAZOS, the mod band he led during more than a decade.
Till their last gig, during Purple Weekend Festival in 1998 (an event organized by themselves) LOS FLECHAZOS waved the flag of teenage pop for more than a decade, timeless melodies and elegance, and a prove of that was their considerable amount of fierce fans, with which they kept a very strong, close relationship, and their acknowledgement in countless international sixties meetings. But they weren’t just a revival band: like DODGY, SUPERGRASS, LILYS or even OASIS, LOS FLECHAZOS evoked both the sound and aesthetics of pop’s golden age, bringing them a renewed sensibility.
They were the main mod-beat band in Spain, since they gave their first show back in 1986 in León, their hometown. Through all these years they were under different line-up change, always led by Álex Díez (guitar and vocals) and Elena Iglesias (Hammond organ).
The complete story of LOS FLECHAZOS is too long as to be told here, so we will just say that they released six LP´s. The last two appeared in Elefant Records, and were also released in Japan. They toured many times around Spain, with morethan sixty TV appearances. In all this time they also did video-clips, recording sessions in England, concerts in festivals, and tours in Italy, Germany, France, Switzerland and the UK.
We could describe their music as 60’s pop, a mixture between the mid-sixties, Shel Talmy produced bands (WHO, EASYBEATS, CREATION, KINKS...) and American blue-eyed soul sound (MC COYS, MAUDS, YOUNG RASCALS, STANDELLS...). The fact of singing in Spanish helped them to become so popular in Spain, and the two singles released on British label Detour Records, sung in English and with very good feedback, as well as the live CD released on German label Fourtune Records, managed to achieve them almost the same in Europe.
Two years after the band’s end, Alejandro comes back with new illusions and brilliant new songs. COOPER doesn’t mean to be a follow-up to LOS FLECHAZOS; in fact it’s not a proper band, only the way that enables Alejandro to express himself through artistically.
In November 2000 Elefant will release “Fonorama”, COOPER’s first album. The recordings took place in Madrid’s Rock Soul studios. The session musicians that accompanied Alejandro are Carlos Torero (ex-RADIO FUTURA and owner of Rock Soul) on drums, Mc Cartney (ex SEX MUSEUM) on bass and Mario Álvarez (POPELS) on guitar.
Introductions being made, nobody should expect a too forced stylistic turn. Any FLECHAZOS fan would recognize the one that hides behind any track in “Fonorama”, as the vocal style and the composing skills of Alejandro are completely unique. What happens is that, free from the stylistic constraints (self)imposed by LOS FLECHAZOS, this time Alejandro has had the opportunity of trying new ways of ORNAMENTING his songs: string arrangements (“Es tarde”) or even a sampler (“El rascacielos”).
Guitars are much tougher here, close to the current brit-pop acts which Alejandro appreciates so much; besides, one of the key elements in the sound of LOS FLECHAZOS -Elena’s cool Hammond organ- is notably absent throughout the whole album. To cut a long story short, COOPER is not LOS FLECHAZOS, but COOPER is one hundred per cent Alejandro.
Alejandro tours for three months in Spain to promote this new COOPER album. Simultaneously a new single appears, containing two tracks from the album (“Vértigo” and “Rascacielos”) plus two brand new tracks: “Sara tiene un secreto” and “Canción de cuna nº 2”. A video shot by LES NOUVEAUX AUTEURS is also avalaible.
COOPER play in most 2001 Spanish summer festivals such as ContemPOPranea, Benicassim,Sonorama or Socarrat. In September they play BAM (Barcelona) and Lemon Pop (Murcia) Festivals. The end of the tour takes place in Leon (November 2001) with a special party with posters from the whole tour, slide projections and special Dj’s, Alejandro himself included.
The band will take some rest and write some new songs. Meanwhile, Alejandro ends the year 2001 managing the Purple Weekend Mod Festival, taking place in December 2001 in León.
Alexdj’s in Isladencanta Festival, Mallorca, June 2002.
After a hiatus that was starting to be too long, COOPER is back with reloaded energies and excellent songs, as inspired and brilliant as usual.
On March "747" is released. This single means a new stage in the sound adventures of one of our best pop writers and performers; Alejandro has decided not to release an album again; "747" is the first of a series of singles which will be out during the following months. From now on, we’ll enjoy his splendid songs in small pills.
"747" was recorded in January 2003 in Feedback Studios, León; Mario Álvarez (Guitar), Pablo Álvarez (Bass) and Antonio Pérez (Drums), complete the new line-up of COOPER with Alejandro Díez (Vocals and Guitar). The song “Sin respiración”, another new COOPER song recorded during the same sessions, is included in the Elefant compilation “Modapop”.
COOPER plays five very special gigs in May and June, in Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Vitoria y Coruña; as well as giving all their fans the opportunity to enjoy all the new songs played live, the audience was also given a CD with the ticket for the gig. This CD includes the brand new song “Cierra los ojos”, especially recorded for this occasion, and is rounded up with “No matter what” (Pete Ham) and “Rascacielos”, recovered from their live recordings for Radio 3 (spring 2002). This CD is NOT on sale.
On January “Oxidado” is released, COOPER‚s new single includes four songs:
"Cerca del sol" One of the most complete songs in his career, a powerful tune supported by a catchy guitar riff and a brilliant chorus, a fresh and direct song, a new classic on Alejandro´s discography. "Cerca del sol" is COOPER´s new video clip.
"Silverstone" Another classic since its first hearing, possibly the most complete song of his new single, psychedelic pop with celestial choirs and a breathtaking melody.
"Oxidado" It is clear we‚ve in our hands a brilliant single, songs such as "Oxidado" reveal COOPER´s excellent present situation, composing brilliant pop anthems with painstaking lyrics.
"Ráfagas" The band´s fans already know this brilliant cover from COOPER´s firsts gigs, quite a classic of the eighties Spanish pop by LOS BÓLIDOS, the best composition by this cursed band, made a success by LOS SECRETOS in 1982.
During may and june they present “Oxidado” on a tour that takes them to all the major cities in Spain, and they also go back to Germany. On june 6th they play the free open-air special show co-hosted by Radio 3 and the Festival Internacional de Benicàssim (FIB Festival) in Madrid’s plaza de Callao, celebrating the station’s 25th anniversary. The show is broadcasted live through Radio 3.
They play the main summer festivals: ContemPOPranea (Alburquerque), FIB and Lemon Pop (Murcia), showing once more their excellent and powerful live act.
The videoclip of the song “Cierra Los Ojos” is filmed, again under the direction of Miss Lucifer Producciones.
On november Elefant Records releases “Retrovisor”, the second album by COOPER. However, the band has only recorded three new songs -keeping faithful to their compromise with immediacy and spontaneity, they still record in short sessions-, which have been compiled together with other tracks appeared in different formats during 2003 and 2004. Twelve tracks that act like a rear mirror of the band’s immediate past, a retro-spective that shows itself graphically in the album’s artwork by using the collage technique (images from different moments, formats and situations, in an analogy with the sound included in the album). The record also features the videoclips of the songs “747”, “Cerca Del Sol” and “Cierra Los Ojos”.
A limited white vinyl edition (600 copies) is released in a full-coloured sleeve that also includes the lyrics.
The record is presented by a series of acoustic sessions in the auditoriums of the FNAC chain stores in Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia and Oviedo, as well as at the Corte Inglés chainstore in León. In these concerts the band also shows all their videoclips, and among them they introduce to their fans their latest video: “Rabia”, one of the newly recorded songs.
On november 22nd they play this record at the venue El Sol in Madrid, in a concert that is part of the celebrations for the 25th anniversary of both the venue and Radio 3 station. The show is broadcast live through Radio 3.
Following this intense promotional activity, they record live for the TV show Los Conciertos de Radio 3 (TVE 2), and make appearances in TVE 1, Tele 5, MTV and TeleMadrid.
On January 11th they record a live session for the TV show Básico in TeleMadrid.
The “Retrovisor” tour takes place during the months of february-march-april 2005. During these shows, an exclusive CD-Single is given away with the ticket, featuring a new track (“Seis menos diez”), and a cover version from an original track by THE MUFFS adapted into Spanish by Alejandro, the original title of which is “Upside Down”. This CD-Single is completed with the song and the videoclip of the song "Rabia".
During the summer, the band plays many festivals: Eco Pop, Contempopranea, Ebrovisión, FMIC, etc. and is ready to keep on playing indoor venues during the months of october and november.
On December 9th the bands plays at the Purple Weekend Festival in Leon (Spain). After this show, they stop playing live to concentrate on the recording of the new songs to be released on their forthcoming single, expected for release in the autumn of 2006.
In the spring, Alejandro's band entered the recording studio to lay down four new tracks, released after the summer as a four-track EP titled "Días de cine" ("Cinema days", the title of a cult late night TV show on Spanish TV). The cinematic references can be found above all in the titles of the three original songs we find in this new deliver of our best guitar pop songsmiths, which means as well the return of COOPER to live shows and concerts, presenting these new songs on the road during the last weeks of 2006.
The record opens with "El sur", a guitar pop song that had already been played live by Álex Díez and his band in their latest shows. The following tracks are "Rainman", a mid-tempo that follows the tracks of TEENAGE FANCLUB's guitar work, and "Un día de furia", a song so new it didn't even have a title when they entered the studio to record it, which starts and finishes with a catchy distorted synthesizer riff giving the counterpart to the vocal lines. As a bonus track, COOPER close this magnificent EP with a version of the 90's guitar pop classic "Where I find my heaven", originally by the GIGOLO AUNTS.
On its first week out the single climbs directly up to number 5 on the Spanish lists, sharing space with such acts as DEPECHE MODE or Madonna.
The videoclip of the song "Un día de furia", directed by Joel Rojas and Marc Molina (The Hands Collective, IT'S NOT NOT) is based on the tribute to the painting "Wild strawberry eclipse, 1988" by American pop artist Robert Rauschenberg, included in the song lyrics.
In the last months of 2006 and the first months of 2007, COOPER tours promoting "Días de cine" with many shows all over the country.
On the day they were finishing their successful series of shows at El Sol in Madrid, presenting the EP "Días de cine", Álex Díez said jokingly that COOPER were "Spanish pop's best kept secret". The game continues, because the band's seventh single is actually titled "Guárdame un secreto" ("Keep a secret for me"). We can find some on this new EP that adds up to COOPER's already brilliant list of small format records. Four songs that follow up from the previous one from the very cover, with Catherine Deneuve starring again, and introducing the band's new drummer, Nacho García (WINNERYS).
"Canción de viernes" opens the EP with the classic COOPER sound, self-referencing their own repertoire as in songs like "Vértigo" or "Nudo en la garganta" (in fact the repetition of words from these songs is absolutely conscious). "Mi diario" is about emotional instability -a secret to keep, hidden from the rest-, in a power pop style. "Steph" is a precious song, poetic and very moving, with a different sound to the band's previous efforts: as if SHAZAM would play a BEATLES song with Evan Dando. If anything. The last song (the last one?), "Flea market", is a comeback to Álex's anglophile roots, a danceable instrumental number lead by Carlo Coupé's marvelous organ. With this guest musician COOPER travel to places where they could meet THE SMALL FACES, JAMES TAYLOR QUARTET or, of course, Álex's previous band LOS FLECHAZOS.
A videoclip has been filmed of "Canción de viernes", filmed in Spain even though it seems it could have been done in Finland. All the credit for this illusion goes to director Juan Marigorta, who has already directed other videos from the band as "Rabia", "Cerca del sol" or "Cierra los ojos".
In the first week that "Guárdame un secreto" was on sale, it hit number 2 on the list of Singles sold in Spain and it stayed on the charts for the following fifteen consecutive weeks.
On October comes out "Lemon Pop", this single is one and only. COOPER is living it up right now, with more encouragement as the days go by and with four songs that demonstrate their four poles of pop, the four poles of COOPER. “El Círculo Polar” starts it off with 100% COOPER flavour, the classic sound of the band, as in “Vertigo” and “Cierra los Ojos,” but it is surprisingly a cover of MYRACLE BRAH. A perfect adaptation of “Getting Over Delusion” which COOPER has made their very own and one which Andy Bopp is absolutely delighted with. “En el Sofa” is beautiful, a song about perfect love, peaceful, gentle, with delicious words about the beloved. As Álex says in his own words, “It’s the perfect sweet ingredient which could not be left off an EP, the summer hit which everyone discovers in autumn. With “Ruido,” the crazy guitar comes in with the accelerated powerpop, the rebellious young, shedding off many songs from LOS FLECHAZOS and which culminated in “Rabia”, the first cousin and predecessor to “Ruido.” “Ola de calor” - similar to “Steph”- is an exceptional song of COOPER, different but catchy, and the first time you hear the track, it converts into an immediate favourite: pop, colourful and psychedelic, very sixties and yet modern at the same time, fun, fresh and catchy and with two of Álex’s favourite groups: SMALL FACES and CREATION.. But wait...don’t turn it off just yet, there’s still more! As if these four songs and the delicious cover were not enough, although this time it’s not Catherine Deneuve as the protagonist, we wanted to give a gift to all COOPER fans and that is why we decided to include a fifth track. This track is composed of over an hour of cover songs played live at the infamous COOPER concert in Madrid on January 18, 2008 at Gruta 77. A full hour with COOPER live performing their favourite songs from various groups, decades and styles. From GIGOLO AUNTS to BUZZCOCKS, going through BADFINGER, THE MUFFS, THE HOLLIES, NACHA POP and THE FOUNDATIONS and last, but not least, LOS FLECHAZOS.
"Lemon Pop" could not have asked for a better journey, from its release and for seven consecutive weeks, it remains at NUMBER 1! Few indie artists have managed to reach number 1 and even less have maintained this status for so many consecutive weeks headlining the Singles List.
Everything appears to be ready for the group’s takeoff once the new album is out in March 2009 and whose title is “Aeropuerto.” With a bit of patience, little by little, album to album and show to show, COOPER did it!
The 23th March is released "Aeropuerto". Álex Díez explains the title of this new album in this way: “I don’t think airports are transient places. For me, they are a starting point and a final destination. Origin and destination. Start and finish. The beginning of an adventure, that seems full of feelings and experiences to still to discover, or the end of the road, that asks you to go over everything you’ve experienced since you started out. I like to think that this album is like that: a one-way ticket for those who don’t already know COOPER and also a photo album to look back over these last years for those who have traveled with us”.
Begins a tour to promote this new album. They visit stages located throughout the Spanish territory and national festivals such as the Festival VI Indyspensable of Madrid, Benicassim International Festival (where they act just before Paul Weller), Contempopranea, Fuengirola Pop Weekend, Lemon Pop or Twoday Festival. They participate also in the british Indietracks Festival which pays homage to Elefant Records for the twentieth birthday of the label.
"Aeropuerto" is one of the best albums of the year for Efe Eme.
The gigs continue, and Álex is working on new songs for a new release.
Alexpresents his first editorial work, titled Club 45. In it, and with 90 songs that serve as a pretext to portray people and an entire effervescent era of pop culture, Cooper serves us up a sixties session that covers 1964 to 1968. Along with the representative protagonists and diehards of that emerging scene (the collection begins with The High Numbers, and their I’m the Face, and ends with Los Iberos and Hiding Behind My Smile), on this highway, at the speed of 45 revolutions per minute, each stop is a historic single or a single that made history. In Club 45 there will be stops for people who transcended their era. For various reasons. But they will always have the right to drive on the left in the English style or on the right, in the continental. + info: http://www.club45.es
Every year, all around the world, Record Store Day is celebrated. Record Store Day was created for and by music, and thousands of independent and specialized stores come together in order to make this great event happen, getting incredible, one-of-a-kind releases ready for the day. Here at Elefant Records we are congratulating ourselves for celebrating this special day in Spain for the first time, and we’re going to have a really special release, a limited-edition vinyl single by COOPER that collects live sessions of the songs “Hyde Park”, “En el Sofá”, and the previously unreleased “Mi Universo”, as well as a cover of Elvis Costello’s “Alison” will be released.
At the end of June COOPER goes to London to begin recording their next album “Mi Universo”. They will travel withJosé M Rosillo, who will be in charge of production for the album, where they will record in nothing less than the Konk Studios, one of the most legendary studios in the north of London that got the KINKS’ Ray Davies started at the beginning of the 70s. As the culmination of their London adventure, on July 7th and 8th, COOPER play two live shows in two different clubs in the British capital.
Virtual tour for “Mi Universo” from November 8th to November 17th. Over the course of ten days, on ten different websites, the ten songs on the album will be debuted one by one, each with its own new video made just for this occasion. So, starting November 8th, we can discover, each day on a different website, Alex Díez’s new songs, with their marvellous videos that transport us to each song’s universe, as well as show us some moments of the album recording process in the legendary British studios.
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