We had the good fortune of connecting with Cooper Appelt and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Cooper, how do you think about risk?
I think it is very natural to consider risk and reward in almost any part of your life or career. A large part of risk for me is being willing to accept an outcome that might not be ideal. Life and music often does not come out the exact way you planned, but I believe that’s all part of the excitement! I’ve been lucky to have a lot of support from my family, friends, and colleagues throughout my life, and that support has given me a lot of confidence to follow my dreams. In my musical career, I think that taking risks is just a part of the job. When you agree to work for a band, an artist, or take any kind of gig that comes along, there is no guarantee that the job will continue to pay your bills in the future. You have to be willing to adapt and to do the best you can in any situation. When I moved to Los Angeles from Texas eleven years ago, I didn’t have a gig or a job lined up. I took a risk by believing that I could be a part of the music scene here, and I knew the only way to test that belief was to actually live in LA, play to the best of my ability, and put in the time and effort to make connections with the other professionals here. The first few months in the new scene were scary as hell, and I quickly went through my savings in the move. But after struggling a lot, the gigs began to start coming in and I started to build my career. Now I couldn’t be happier to call LA my home, work with some of the most talented people I know, and make a living creating music. In life, as in art, some of the biggest risks lead to some of the biggest rewards.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I started playing piano at an early age, and when I was ten years old, the upright bass found me. Shortly after that, the electric bass joined the club. After that point, I did as much bass playing as I could. I played in the orchestra, the jazz band, and with all of the other musicians I could find in the small city of College Station, Texas. I could never pick just one style of music to dedicate myself towards, so I decided I would just play all of them. I love all kinds of music and have spent most of my time studying and developing my playing so that I could have as many musical experiences as possible. Professionally, I have played in string sections for orchestras and movie soundtracks, played jazz in countless different groups, toured with rock and reggae bands, played in numerous top 40 bands, and found myself in a variety of different studio recording situations. I want to play great music with other great musicians, and bring the music to life from the low end. Luckily that dream has come true. But it took a lot of time and practice to develop the technique, music reading ability, and experience on the bandstand to get to where I am today. After spending so much time in studios, I also fell in love with the process of recording music. So four years ago, I opened Fireflower Studios where I am able to help other people capture their musical Ideas and share them with the world. With my experience as a performer, it gives me a unique perspective as a recording engineer. I also love the technology of recording and mixing, and it gives me an opportunity to learn more and experience music even more deeply.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
One of the best parts of Los Angeles is that it never runs out of amazing and unique experiences. The food scene in LA is hard to beat. In my neighborhood of Highland Park, we have some of my favorite eateries: Delia’s has some of the best breakfast burritos, and Joy has the most mouth watering hot and sour soup. We’ve got La Estrella Tacos, one of the best taco trucks in town, and Gloria’s is also one of my favorite spots for breakfast and lunch. Their chicken enchiladas are to die for. There are other hidden gems in the city like KazuNori downtown for sushi rolls, and Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong for some of the best Korean barbecue. If you’re downtown after dark on a Monday, the Falls Lounge has a great straight ahead jazz jam session hosted by Matt Yeakley. Seven Grand also has great live music and cocktails if you’re looking for something to sip on while enjoying a show. If you want a meal or drinks with a view, Perch is a great spot that sits on top of a building, with live music too. I tend to follow the music, so depending on who is playing where, I usually end up at one of the many incredible venues this city has to offer. A trip to Mt. Wilson has become one of my favorite ways to spend an afternoon. The drive up there is beautiful, and the history of the telescopes that live up there is fascinating. Last but not least, catching a show at the Hollywood Bowl is a must-do LA experience.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would love to shoutout to my mom, Kathi Appelt. She has always believed in me and helped me pursue my talents and interests. She is an author, and has had an amazing career writing books and poetry, as well as teaching others to do the same. She is also the most supportive person I know, and not just to her family. Whenever there is someone she can help along the way, she will go out of her way to make it happen. She also taught me that one of the best investments you can make is in other people. If you believe in others and support them, they usually find a way of believing in themselves, and incredible things can happen in their lives. Her hard work and dedication to her craft continues to inspire me, and her selfless actions and generosity have taught me how to be a better person. Her books are incredible, and I’m not just saying that because I’m her son. Check out her book “The Underneath” to see what I’m talking about.
Facebook: Cooper Appelt
Laurel Kathleen (all photos)