Radical Face To Release New EP THERAPY on 4/26 via Bear Machine Records
Radical Face the Los Angeles-based project of musician Ben Cooper will release the TherapyEP on April 26 via Bear Machine Records. The forthcoming EP follows up the acclaimed The Family Tree series -- The Roots (2011), The Branches (2013), and The Leaves (2016) in which Cooper grasped onto ideas and perceptions that left him hopelessly drained, creatively and emotionally. Speaking with a professional finally enabled him to let go, something he's honored by naming his new effort Therapy.
Today Radical Face is pleased to present the offical video for "Hard Of Hearing" the first single to be lifted from his forthcoming release. The video which was shot by friend and fashion photographer Roy Berry premiered today at Brooklyn Vegan and song will be available to share on streaming services this Friday. About the song Cooper says, "'Hard of Hearing' is about the awkward middle period, that space where you don't feel well at all, but you can outwardly function again. I learned from regular work with a therapist that you usually understand things long before you feel them, and that can create a sense of limbo. That limbo is where this song lives."
On Therapy, Radical Face has let go of all his past narratives. Instead of an intricate saga, he's kept his parameters simple. Instead of his troubled past, he's focused on his scarred present. Instead of acoustic folk, he's written lush compositions. Unsure yet confident, battered yet resilient, Cooper is taking Radical Face in a poignant new direction.
With The Family Tree, Cooper sought to confront his difficult upbringing in Florida by forming a fictional genealogy paired with stirring folk arrangements. Intense family drama near the end of the process pushed The Leaves to take on a far more personal tone, as Cooper felt "dishonest... putting it into a separate avatar." That only made the songs increasingly more difficult to perform, however, which coupled with the artistic exhaustion of pairing music with his grand concept made him pine for palliation.
In an attempt to test himself and move on from the compositional confines of that trilogy, Cooper undertook a number of different projects. There was his Missing Film instrumental album, a score he released for filmmakers to use for free, and his Covers, Vol. 1 EP, in which he only sang songs by female artists. Adding to the challenge was his relocation to California; moving away from his studio in Florida forced him to relearn how to record in an apartment with minimal tools.
Weekly therapy sessions helped him realize the portrait he'd created in The Family Tree was masking the hard truth: "There's no real positive there," as Cooper puts it. While he's proud of the work he did on the trilogy, he looks at it differently now that it's in the rearview. "I don't regret it, but it wasn't what I thought. I thought I was telling a different story, immortalizing the strange into something beneficial rather than just dysfunction."
Approaching songwriting from this painfully achieved mindfulness has opened Cooper up to fresh understandings. "Looking back, it's like letting go. Mourning concepts, in a way," he explains. "Sometimes you have a narrative, it's an idea, a projection you see for yourself. Sometimes, you're able to understand that that's just some picture, you would never be that thing. It's letting go of the narrative."