In his early days, Cook imagined music created just using a computer, sans instruments. “It was just a phase, a personal challenge,” he smiles. Compressed sounds, heavy Auto-Tune, and blaring synths: Cook’s digitally-filtered style does not go unnoticed. PC Music counts Danny L Harle, Hannah Diamond, Tommy Cash, EasyFun and GFOTY among its artists and producers. The genre is polarizing, but has found an audience among a dedicated group of young fans.
Cook has also done a number of collaborations, teaming up with Sophie, Oneohtrix Point Never, Caroline Polachek, or most recently with Jónsi and Oklou. One of his most loyal collaborators remains Charli XCX; since beginning working together in 2017, the two have produced two mixtapes (Number 1 Angel and Pop 2) and two albums (Charli and How I’m Feeling Now), for which Cook was producer and co-composer. He also holds the official role of creative director of the English pop star. “I love collaborations where the personality of the artist comes out clearly, when you feel the charisma or the personal touch behind it,” Cook says.
While some artists are reluctant to reveal the thinking behind their own image, this jovial thirty-something gladly explains his relationship to his look. “I’ve always liked playing with it. My look was often described with the term “normcore,” and it amuses me to hijack the codes, to always wear the same glasses, to have the look of a chic British nerd. It creates associations of ideas out of sync with my music,” he says. “This shoot was an opportunity for me to do a completely banal act, that of having a photo taken, while at the same time being a bit subversive, because I am not a model. When I first started listening to music, I was fascinated by artists like Daft Punk, Gorillaz, and Kraftwerk, who have a very strong aesthetic and play with pretense.”
Cook’s music has been used in various fashion shows — notably during Chanel’s Resort 2015 collection, which Karl Lagerfeld presented in Dubai — but the musician prefers to observe the fashion world from a distance. “Fashion interests me, in particular the visual side and the possible links with music,” he says. “It’s an intriguing world, a little intimidating too, with all the metaphorical aspect of the fabrics, the impact on the public, the trends that follow one another…I like the endless debates on what is retro or not, innovative or not, all these labels that I find quite funny. I find it hard to follow all of this, but I admire people who manage to decipher the codes of fashion.”