On her debut album, ‘Quick! No One’s Looking,’ indie rock singer-songwriter Heather Cook invites listeners into her simultaneously awe-inspiring and heartwrenching world of childlike wonder, mischief, and foggy yet clear-as-day memories of growing up in New Jersey. Her ephemeral vocals, pensive delivery, and introspective lyrics are set against a backdrop of groovy angular riffs, crisp acoustics, and textural white noise.
In this guest post for A Grrrl’s Two Sound Cents, Cook shares her recipe of the ingredients that inspired each song on ‘Quick! No One’s Looking.’
Hello! Heather Cook here! My first full-length album Quick! No One’s Looking, in many ways is a tribute to growing up in the flowing fields of the greatest state of all, New Jersey. It’s a land of long drives on the mystical turnpike, blistering heartbreaks, trespassing on mischief night, and power plants that look like glowing cities. Here exists something sentimental to a fault – reflecting back on the moments where I felt my worst during the best days of my life. Similar to a three-course meal, I thought a lot about the structure of this album and how each song would complement each other. That being said, here is a recipe of the ingredients that inspired Quick! No One’s Looking, now streaming everywhere via Weird Sister Records
Set the oven to 400 degrees!
2 teaspoons of “Back on Top” by The Front Bottoms
TFB is quintessential Jersey listening and the anthems of my early 20s. Songs like “Cough It Out” and “Laugh Til I Cry” capture a hometown nostalgia while maintaining catchy hooks which is something I wanted to permeate into the album’s more upbeat tunes, like “Dark Water” and “North Meteor Room.” Brian Sella’s style of acoustic guitar over rock drums was something I snatched!
¾ Cups of “Change” by Alex G
The bare bones repetitive nature of the chord progression inspired the pattern of my song “Your Car.” I’m simply a sucker for a line that get’s repeated over and over, perfect for scream crying on the parkway.
A pinch of Beabadoobee
Beabadoobee’s first EP and album made me want to experiment with a lo-fi grunge vibe, which flowed into the production style of my only electric drum-beat song, “Goth Scout.” Her three-piece sound and experimental 90s style was a strong reference in the studio for this track. I tip my hat to my producer, Doug Gallo, for that!
½ Cup of “2009” by Mac Miller
The instrumental intro to this song always sneaks up on me and makes my heart do a flip. It captures the sound of missing a forgotten time and place. These emotions inspired “Heat Lightning,” the instrumental introduction to my album. Lyrically, “2009” is the essence of longing, and that seeped into the cracks of my creative process while writing these songs.
One egg and a splash of The Fledgling by Jane Langton.
The Fledgling is a whimsical children’s book about a girl who could fly through the sky with the birds. This magical tale inspired the album art, done by the talented Simon J. Curd. I wanted the album artwork to capture the kind of surreal supernatural atmosphere that seems to haunt southern New Jersey. Big imagination and big emotions. That’s what it’s all about.
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