The idea that practice makes perfect dates back almost 500 years to the British writer John Heyward, who proclaimed ‘Vse makes maistry.’ Apparently, Mr. Heyward was on to something, since success may actually lie in the grueling discipline that is built of hard work and practice. According to esteemed author and sociologist Malcolm Gladwell, ten thousand hours is the minimum amount of work required to guarantee that ones skills are at the level where success is almost inevitable.
In the field of music, few artists, is seems, bother to commit to such daunting a routine. The one’s that do, however, have often seen their efforts rewarded. The Beatles famously played six sets a night for a year and a half during their early days in Hamburg. On their return to Liverpool they were seasoned musicians at an age when most bands were just getting started. Forty years later, another band has been putting in the work; readying themselves for the time that when lighting strikes they are ready for the success that is their destiny. KOPEK is ready.
While still only in their late twenties, Irish trio Kopek have a history that stretches back a decade. Drummer Shane Cooney and bassist Brad Kinsella grew up as next-door neighbors in Dublin, and through their shared love of classic and modern rock music, quickly decided that rock stardom was their ticket to bigger and better things. “We listened to all the old stuff, The Stones, Hendrix, The Doors, Zeppelin, amazing bands where you can hear the energy,” recalls Cooney. The first singer who answered their ad in a local musician’s magazine turned out to be the golden voiced Daniel Jordan, and from there Kopek, average age 15, was born.
Early gigs in and around Dublin included many a battle of the bands contests, which the trio won with studied regularity. “We moped the floor with the other bands,” says Cooney, “not that they were bad’ he adds politely, ‘we were just better.” Contest spoils were often in the form of equipment, which gave the new band an even bigger leg up on the competition. “The first thing we won was a backline and we’ve never had to buy any gear since,” the lucky drummer adds.
From 2002 to 2009 Kopek toured relentlessly, and continued to win competitions. Germany, Belgium, Switzerland and multiple U.S. visits were all ticked off the list. Mid-decade the band decamped to Amsterdam for a year of work side by side in a greenhouse – “Dutch flowers, all that shit” – during the day, and rehearsals at night, even scoring free studio space and an offer of a Swiss tour from local musician friends. (If it’s beginning to seem that good luck follows this band around keep reading)
In 2005 Kopek won the contest that would keep them in guitar strings for life (almost). Best Live Act at the Global Battle Of The Bands (gbob.com) earned them $100,000, a world tour, and one assumes a hell of a lot of fun. One thing that was eluding Kopek, however, was a partnership that could help bring them to a worldwide music buying audience. In 2009 Dublin based record company Religion entered the picture, and signed the band to a large multi-album deal. With guidance, help and production from Glenn Herlihy, and mastermind mixer Tom Lord-Alge, Kopek’s debut album, White Collar Lies was born. “It’s been amazing to have traveled all over the world and met so many people and then to find someone on your doorstep to be your partner,’ says Cooney, ‘we really feel fortunate.”
White Collar Lies is a bracing dose of heartfelt and expertly performed modern rock. Jordan’s voice rips through the speakers, carried aloft by the twin engines of Cooney and Kinsella. “Love Is Dead,” the first single, is a swaggering, fist-pumping ode to the band’s first love, music.
To call Kopek a return to rock & roll brilliance would be the minimum praise deserved of a band who has definitely put in their 10,000 hours. For Kopek, success is not only deserved, but mathematically inevitable.