Cooper Hannahson has come across incredibly valuable musical experience in just shy of a quarter of a century. A substantial genre palette courtesy of his father’s invested passion in all shapes, sizes, and sounds of music has given Cooper a collaborative-like style that is versatile and malleable to fit performer’s ever changing interests and opinions on their music. When asked his music preference and influence can derive from James Brown era funk, 1990’s punk rock and modern indie/pop. These styles only scratch the surface as other noteworthy performances of his include musical theatre orchestras, heavy metal bands, hip-hop groups and modern jazz-fusion acts. The wide variety of his work throughout his 8-year professional career has introduced him to many unforgettably wonderful musicians, given him a substantial understanding of today’s contemporary music, and has gifted him with an active performance and teaching career.
As most musicians, Cooper’s playing can be traced back to the earliest of years as his father was a drummer and more than a handful of baby photos are of Cooper behind a set of drums, however Cooper’s professional playing began at the age of 14. His musical family background didn’t just start with his father; his great grandfather and great uncle were widely renowned church organists, pianists, and high school music teachers. St. Catharines’ high school jazz bands gave way to his first regular scheduled performances and the development of his band leading abilities. These school-arranged performances uncovered his love for simply playing music, regardless of instrumentation or style, as he was a member of every band at West Park Secondary and the music council. Music class presented the tools in which Cooper found inspiration and success with music. Gwen Stickney and Melinda Sayliss from West Park Secondary School were inexcusably at fault for giving him opportunities to grow in to a mature and competent musician. It was after these school board organized bands that the reality of playing music as a career became a solidified aspiration.
In 2009, on a rainy November weekday Cooper lugged a drum kit across town and in to the basement of a family he had never met and proceeded to spend the next 4 years rehearsing, writing, making lots of noise, and borderline living in said basement with heavy metal act Between Breathing – the first attempt at original writing and composing in a group as well as his first look in to the “behind the scenes” that goes on within a performing group. 2012 saw their release of “Homegrown”, an EP recorded in Maryland, Bethesda at Taylor Larson’s Oceanic Recording Studios. Between Breathing had two tours as a headlining act before financials drove the group in to the ground in May of 2014.
During his time with Between Breathing, Cooper also made waves as a percussionist in the Niagara region brass beast ‘My Son the Hurricane’ – a 14-piece band featuring horns, drummers, guitars, a lead singer, and an emcee. Hurricane was Cooper’s proving ground for touring and performing for days at a time as the band took part in such events as Hillside, Beaches Jazz Festival, SCENE Fest, Lupercalia, Gain Music Festival, Rock the Beach Festival, Windsor Fam Festival, Toronto Beerfest, etc. In 2013 the group released “Cashing a Deadman’s Cheque” on Vegas Funeral Records. The first single ‘Pigeon Park’ features U.S.S. front man Ash Buchholtz and 3 time Juno/Polaris nominee D-Sisive. The album was engineered by Jeff Pelletier (Ludacris, Big Sugar). The band still gets around Ontario presently and has been featured on Much Music, CBC Radio One, and a heap of college radio stations with their most recent record “Is This What You Want?” The band also uses Cooper as a drummer when their permanent member isn’t available, but moving to an auxiliary percussion set-up brought out a different style of playing and elevated his desire to perform and be in different groups outside of his regular performances.
Currently residing in Hamilton, Ontario and finishing up his studies as a Mohawk College student, Cooper is enrolled in the advanced contemporary performance program studying with internationally renowned jazz musicians, classical performers, and recognized industry professionals alongside gifted and driven young musicians with similar ambitions. He has been privileged to learn from reputable professionals such as Pat Collins, Anthony Michelli, Kevin Dempsey, Darcy Hepner, Jamshed Turel, and Adrean Farrugia to name but a few. Cooper regards the time spent in Mohawk’s music facility as his most imperative musical proving ground to date as it led him to further intensify his already astounding passion of all things music and assist him in carving a path for a future, prosperous career in the industry as a performer, composer, sideman, and all around appreciator.
His most recent fusion project “Gung Ho Catalyst” sees him collaborating with 3 of the most devout and passionate musicians he’s come across throughout his college endeavors, with whom a level of chemistry and band work ethic is grossly apparent as they write genre-defying original material while performing very actively in Hamilton, Peterborough, Guelph, the greater Toronto area and further. Their debut release “Murmurisms” is due out the end of January on all online musical outlets as well as at their release show in downtown Hamilton February 3rd, 2017.