Justin Cooper is the co-founder (along with friends Lucas Tirigall and Justin Wills) of Society6, a platform for the world’s artists and creatives to promote their work and connect with unique opportunities. He is also the co-founder of Passenger, an online community platform that brands like Apple, Nike and Starbucks use to collaborate with their customers to design better experiences (products and otherwise). He is also both a visual artist and musician in his own right. Justin is currently residing in Los Angeles with his wife and daughter. He loves surfing, digging for vinyl and searching for a tee-shirts that don’t suck.
Today, he’s sharing with us five things that inspire independence and creativity.
1. Big Muff Pi Distortion/Sustain pedal from Electro-Harmonix
If I don’t have my Electro-Harmonix Big Muff Pi working in my effects chain, I might as well take the strings off of my bass, it’s that good folks. The dirty legend of a NYC original, this is the go to box for everyone from J Hendrix to J Mascis. Aside from the fact that the Big Muff makes any instrument from a guitar to keys sound grizzly, just look at the simplicity and beauty of the design that hasn’t changed much in more than 30-years. if you ever need to play the bass part to Radiohead’s National Anthem—a Big Muff is what you seek!
2. Daydream Nation by Sonic Youth
Daydream Nation is the fifth studio album from one of my favorite bands, Sonic Youth. It was recorded in New York’s Green Street basement studio and released in October 1988 by Enigma Records, which is right around the time my days skateboarding the streets of Kansas City had really started to progress (and possibly peak) and my musical preference was mostly punk and Public Enemy, another common thread to this album. I’m not sure if there are too many things in my life that aren’t inspired, or at least somehow connected to music, but this album is always nearby. Some of the band’s more experimental tendencies are on display in the song “Providence” consisting of a piano solo by Thurston Moore recorded at his mom’s house using a Walkman (another of my favorite things). The album cover features the 1983 Gerhard Richter photorealist painting Kerze or “Candle”, although I’m more favorable to the work that Raymond Pettibon has done for the band.
3. Chuck Taylor All-Stars from Converse
Good luck catching me without a pair of these on my feet. Billed as the most “successful” shoe in history, hopefully determined by it’s design and not profits, this shoe has been worn by more people that have inspired me than I could even start to list.
4. The Search for Animal Chin from Powell Peralta
I, myself, spent a good number of my early years searching for Animal Chin! My friends and I would drop this tape into the VCR nearly every day before heading out for a skate session. “Search for Animal Chin” was directed by former Dogtown Z-Boy and co-founder of Powell Peralta skateboards, Stacy Peralta. Featuring many of skateboarding’s forefathers, the Bones Brigade included Steve Caballero, Mike McGill, Tommy Guerrero, Lance Mountain, and Tony Hawk. These guys are responsible for inspiring most of the skate scene in the early 80s and laying the foundation for what skateboarding has become today. I just love what this film stands for, more than anything else.
5. Mixtape by Justin Cooper
My family and I have made our lives together in Southern California. Since the last 11 years have been so blessed, I thought it only appropriate to include the soundtrack that inspired it all. This mixtape that carried us across I-40 includes tracks from Catherine Wheel, James and Massive Attack.