Todd Cook

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Todd Cook

If you’re after music with heart and that tells a story, look no further than folks/roots singer Todd Cook. We took a look into Todd’s life, his love of the land and how he came to playing the didgeridoo ahead of his Ballarat show later this month.
Hey Todd, thanks for chatting to Forte Mag! How are you and what are you up to at the moment?
Hi Forte, no problem at all. I’m well thanks. I’m currently doing a number of shows throughout regional Victoria and Tasmania. I normally head north to N.T or to U.K during our winter. But I thought I would embrace the season, put on a beanie and get out and do some shows. Hopefully some punters want to get away from their fireplace and embrace some live music as well. I think I have chosen some of the coldest places for this tour. West Gippsland, Tassie and Ballarat – bring it on!
I love that your music includes the didgeridoo, which is a tricky instrument to master, did it take you a while to pick up?
Honestly, I’ve been at it since I was kid. I got my first didge when I was about 10. We were on a family holiday in Kakudu and we bought it off a local bloke who we gave a lift to. We were staying with the head Ranger, who was a family friend, for about two weeks. I remember visiting a number of communities and kicking the footy with the local kids. When it got too hot we’d have a play of the didge – it’s something that just clicked for me.
I moved back up to N.T when I was about 21 to play AFL in the off season. The club I played for had an amazing local connection with indigenous communities. I got to hear the didge being played traditionally and with purpose. I got taken under the wing of some great didge players. It went from there I guess.
What made you decide to include it in your music?
Wherever I play, regional Victoria, Darwin, outback NT or overseas, people really connect with it. They’re instantly listening and I always receive such positive feedback. It’s always just felt natural to include it in some of my music.
What kind of stories do your ‘dark, turbulent songs’ from your album tell?
My last release had a song about the Black Saturday fires on it called ‘Brilliant Green’. It was a collaboration with local artists from the West Gippsland area. It was about the regrowth after the fires had been though. The first sign of things getting better was these bright, green tree ferns amongst the blackness. I thought it was a great sign of hope after so much devastation.
While you’ve spent considerable time in NT you did grow up in Gippsland, do you think that has influenced your sound?
Definitely. I grew up in a small farming community called Athlone in West Gippsland. After living in N.T and touring and living in Scotland/Ireland it feels like halfway, a meeting place. There is also an Athlone in Central Ireland and the countryside is really similar; lush, green paddocks, rolling hills. The Athlone in Australia doesn’t have any castles or churches though. It has wombats, wallabies and Wedgetails. Which I think are a lot cooler.
I also picked up a lot from my time living in Scotland and touring consistently through Ireland. I almost predominantly play in DADGAD tuning now which has a lot of connections with Celtic Music. It can be quite sparse and haunting which I think reflects the wide open space of N.T as well.
What’s your ideal response from the audience?
Tough one… Not sure. If people can find a connection with your music or you can move them in any way that’s pretty amazing. If people get it, I’m happy. Some people like to move, dance or sing and some people just like to kick back and take it all in. All crowds are different. I love meeting people from all walks of life. Every gig you play can be everything or nothing. You never know who you are going to meet.
Thanks again for the chat, is there anything you’d like to add before we finish up?
Thanks for having me. Anyone who wants to come say hi and check out my music go to
When & Where: Old Drouin Butterfactory, Drouin – June 20 & Main Bar, Ballarat – June 27