Q&A: Jared Cooper, Musician

Name: Jared Cooper

Age: 29

Sign: Pisces

Hometown: Amityville, N.Y.

Occupation: Musician

How did you come to be in Knoxville?

New York City looked pretty bleak back in the '80s. There was a lot of crime and violence and my parents didn't think it was a good time for kids to be there, so they moved us to Inverness, Fla. We only stayed there for four years because the weather was just too hot. They heard that Knoxville was an affordable city with four actual seasons, so we came and have been here ever since. I do miss New York, though. We'd go to the Hamptons and the beach in the summer. I love the beach. It seems like you are at the end of one side of the world.

What kind of musician are you?

I play guitar and sing for a band called Oversat, who originally formed in 1999. We've recently reformed (seriously) and are finishing up our first EP. Some small tours are being booked for the Southeast region and we are planning a tour of Norway and Denmark in late July and August of this year. Our sound covers a wide spectrum of influences, from early '60s and "Killed by Death" punk to modern heavy/drudgecore. Oversat took a break for a few years back in 2005, but we have all had other bands and projects in the meantime. I plan on continuing my music endeavors and take them wherever they allow me to go. I would love to be able to put more time into it and have it be a full-time thing. I'm excited about leaving Knoxville and seeing other parts of the country and the world.

Did your family have any influence over your musical upbringing?

In the '80s I really looked up to my older brother. I listened to what he listened to—Prince, Cyndi Lauper, the Go Go's. INXS was really cool. I also got some influence from my dad. He introduced me to the Who, Hendrix, Jefferson Airplane. He's a pretty laid-back guy but we are both conservative and stubborn. My mother didn't have much to do with my life in music, but I am the person I am because of her. She's a retired Catholic school assistant and is still very involved in the Catholic community. My faith and religion definitely come from her.

What do you love about Knoxville?

When I'm not focusing on music, I'd say my favorite activity is hiking and camping. The greatest asset this town has to offer is the close proximity to all the great parks in the region. I can't think of a better way to spend my free time than taking a trip with a good friend and submerging ourselves in such a great escape. When I do go to shows, it's almost always at the Longbranch or Pilot Light. I like the atmosphere. It can be tame or out of control. It's the unpredictability of it that I admire.

Can you explain your personal style and affinity for skinny jeans?

I have a lot of clothes that are almost identical. Not to fool people, though; I could really care less. Style is something that gets people to notice you just a little more. Not to say that I possess this style, but I think everyone has their own. I don't watch a lot of TV or read Hollywood gossip for help on this subject. I just wear what makes me feel comfortable. As for the skinny jeans, I wear them because I want to be a 12-year-old skater boy, but I know I'm a few years late. I would describe my personal look as "post-apocalyptic retro-hobo debonair."

Clothing worn:

Flannel shirt: T.J. Maxx, two weeks ago, $15

Sunglasses: Walgreens, last summer, $15

Skinny jeans: Levi's from Target, a couple of months ago, $25

Predistressed boots: Knoxville Center Mall, gift from brother a week ago, $20