There’s a next-level genius at the heart of Ultimate Painting’s music, but at surface level, it sounds so simple: the airy guitars, the lo-fi garage tones, the paint-by-numbers pop. Yet with that sound, the duo of Jack Cooper and James Hoare creates its own style, a play on pop that’s catchy and homey, somewhere between Britpop lads and Mac DeMarco.
With its third studio album, Dusk, fresh off the presses this September, its songs bring to mind visions of warm, breezy days. But what about the song titles, ones that reference Rolling Stones members and endless running? Cooper caught up with DigBoston over the phone to answers questions prompted by song titles off the LP.
DIGBOSTON: What was your first paying jobs?
COOPER: My dad told me I had to go and get a job when I was 15. I rode down on my bike to a secondhand car lot and asked if I could clean their cars, so I did.
2) “SONG FOR BRIAN JONES”
DIGBOSTON: What’s one thing you want to ask him?
COOPER: That song is James’ and I’m not a giant Rolling Stones fan. I liked their ‘60s stuff, but I do think they’re one of the most overrated bands. And I hate that question people ask: Are you into The Beatles or the Stones? I guess I would just ask him if he’s still alive.
3) “A PORTRAIT OF JASON”
DIGBOSTON: How would you describe your painting abilities?
COOPER: I remember doing drawings as a kid. I start off quite meticulous, but then I get bored and mess it all up. I’m okay at painting rooms though.
4) “LEAD THE WAY”
DIGBOSTON: What would you say you’re qualified to teach a class in?
COOPER: Ugh, nothing. My wife asked the other day if I ever thought of teaching guitar lessons. I taught myself so I do loads of things that no one else does or should do. Lots of bad technique, so I couldn’t do that. I feel like I’m quite good at it but I couldn’t teach it. Nothing… That’s depressing. Well, the one thing I do really well is make garlic bread. I love cooking — everything I could cook, my wife can cook better — and I think that’s something I could teach people about.
5) “MONDAY MORNING, SOMEWHERE CENTRAL”
DIGBOSTON: What’s your go-to method of combating general Monday shittiness?
COOPER: Fortunately, I haven’t had a proper job in a while. I do have a part-time job, but I rarely work Monday mornings. I don’t think I could deal with that or office work. Because I couldn’t deal with it, I don’t. There’s my advice [laughs]. I guess lots and lots of coffee.
6) “WHO IS YOUR NEXT TARGET?”
DIGBOSTON: Let’s use the song as the question!
COOPER: Uh, god. I don’t know. I can’t think of anyone I would want gone.
DIGBOSTON: It doesn’t have to mean target in who do you want to shoot. It could be interpreted as a goal if that’s easier.
COOPER: Wow, I didn’t even think of that. Well, I guess that says a lot about me [laughs]. We have a long drive today and the one thing I’m looking forward to is the sandwich in this bag. Our friend who drums with us said he had this same sandwich and it sucked, but I’m holding out hope. That’s my next target, this vegan thing from Whole Foods with loads of vegetables and hummus. His issue was that it was too messy, but I think I can do it better.
7) “SKIPPOOL CREEK”
DIGBOSTON: What’s the best body of water you’ve seen on tour?
COOPER: Hm, the random spots we’ve passed driving around, really.
8) “I’M SET FREE”
DIGBOSTON: What’s the best freebie you’ve gotten in 2016?
COOPER: When you play shows, you often get drink tickets. They’re free, you know, but you tip the bartender, so I don’t know if that’s actually free. Like, it’s good to get the free drink, but it doesn’t seem so free when you have to tip the bartender. We discuss this quite frequently, really. It defeats the purpose of the item being free, but I do love them, so yeah.
9) “SILHOUETTED SHIMMERING”
DIGBOSTON: What’s the most glamorous thing that’s happened to Ultimate Painting?
COOPER: It certainly wasn’t where we stayed last night. Maybe the thought of pining for things is glamorous.
10) “I CAN’T RUN ANYMORE”
DIGBOSTON: What record store would you run to for shopping if you knew you wouldn’t get tired running there?
COOPER: Well we’re about to go to End of An Ear in Austin, TX, so there. There was that spot we went to in Boston though that closed: Weirdo Records? That was great. The woman who worked there knew so much and she was so friendly — you know, the antithesis of what record store owners are usually like. If I could run in reverse, so fast that I break through the space time continuum, then I would. It was worth it.
ULTIMATE PAINTING, EZTV, DOUG TUTTLE, JOHN ANDREWS & THE YAWNS. TUE 12.6. MIDDLE EAST UPSTAIRS, 472 MASS. AVE., CAMBRIDGE. 7PM/ALL AGES/$12. MIDEASTOFFERS.COM.