Under the moniker of Turtle, Glaswegian songwriter and producer Jon Cooper fuses deep electronic beats with delicate singer songwriter vocals. With a new single unveiled here on Radar today, we spoke with Jon about the mythology of turtles, escapism, and the thriving Glasgow music scene.
Following his breath taking debut single Who Knows, Opposite Of Low is the second single from Turtle’s stunning debut Who Knows EP. Released together with a rework by Colombian newcomer OKRAA, Opposite Of Low is a piece of dark and bass-heavy electronica, merging haunting beats with sparky synths and moaning vocals. We caught up with the Glasgow musician to talk about the mythology of turtles, escapism, and the thriving Glasgow music scene.
How come you chose the name Turtle for this project?
– Someone very close to me gave me the name purely cause they thought that it sounded cool. However, I have since learned that the turtle is a very mythological creature and carries lots of philosophical meaning in various cultures and often symbolises wisdom, the origins of creation, knowledge, longevity and cosmology. I was unaware of this for a long time. This kind of blows my mind because these are themes that have always inspired me and still do. I like to make reference to them in my music.
What did you listen to as a child? And do you think that has influenced the music you’re making today?
– The first thing that really inspired me was Jean Michelle Jarre – Oxygen and Mike Oldfield – Tuubular Bells at the age of 11. Their approach to multi layered composition and use of melody and rhythm has greatly influenced my music.
The turtle often symbolises wisdom, the origins of creation, knowledge, longevity and cosmology
Tell us more about your debut EP, Who Knows.
– I wanted to carry a slightly worn and damaged lofi sound across the production of the whole EP. I wanted to just explore my ideas and hopefully they resonated something positive in the listener. I was listening to Thom Yorke, Nils Frahm, Four Tet, and Steve Reich at the time.
What mood or situation do you think one should be in when listening to your music?
– Probably a reflective state of mind, where you are looking for some momentary escapism.
Opposite of Low stands out a bit from the rest of the tracks. What can you tell us about that song?
– Yeah, it just kind of came together really quickly, I programmed the rhythms and then recorded the piano and then played in the low woobly bassline and it all just quickly built itself, they don’t always happen like that but with this I knew it had a little something special. I wanted it to be full on electronic but have some emotive musicality to it too. It’s all about the key changes.
You’ve been compared to artists such as James Blake, John Hopkins, and Thom Yorke. What does that mean to you?
– It’s very flattering, these are artists and producers that I really admire.
We’ve seen a lot of great music coming out of the Glasgow scene recently. Do you have any thoughts on why that is? And what has Glasgow as a city meant to you as a musician?
– Yeah, I think it’s something Glasgow City Council are putting in the water to try and boost the creative sector, haha. Yeah, I don’t know for sure man. Glasgow is much like London. It’s an epicentre of artistic movements, sub cultures and disciplines. Glasgow means alot to me as a musician, but I prefer to source most of my inspiration from outside the UK, like Iceland, Germany, America and France.
What do you like to listen to yourself?
– I like to listen to various stuff like Brian Eno, Steve Reich, Four Tet, Atoms For Peace, Helios, Nils Frahm, Darkside, Mike Oldfield, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Terry Riley, James Holden, Carbon Based Lifeforms, Boards Of Canada, Portico Quartet, John Shuttleworth and Jedward.
What are your hopes and dreams for the future?
– To be healthy and happy and augmented as a super A.I galactic federation agent.
Listen to Turtle’s new single Opposite Of Low here.
Photography by Sophie Harris Taylor.