Local artist profile: Warwick Cooney

February 11, 2024 BY

Family values: Warwick Cooney said he grew up with a dad who passed on to him his love of music - a tradition he seems determined to preserve. Photo: SUPPLIED

THIS week we chat with Warwick Cooney, the drummer and one of the principal songwriters from local hard-core punk/ desert rock/ Aussie alternative band Harold Holt Search Party, who are performing at the wildly popular and sold out Trash Cult in Eaglehawk tomorrow afternoon with Japanese Buddhist punks Buddhadatta.


What motivated you to become a musician?

I grew up in a family who were lucky enough to all play instruments as kids. Growing up with a dad who loved his music and listening to it with him on long drives gave me a love of music from a young age too.


How would you describe your style and how did you develop it?

It’s hard to describe our, Harold Holt Search Party’s, sound. It’s a mix of hard-core punk with a bit of desert rock and Aussie 90s alternative. We have and continue to develop it as we play gigs and jam. We have all been in bands for over 10 years now.


Which other musicians inspire you and why?

I take a lot of inspiration from a lot of different musicians. I try to listen to different types of music as much as possible and get to live shows to try and make sure we don’t sound like anything else too much. Currently I’m listening to a lot of The Jesus Lizard, RKL, 7 Seconds, Shihad, and Magic Dirt. Playing live with other great bands always inspires me to do better as well.


What are some highlights or fond memories you have from your career so far?

The great thing about playing in a band is that there are new highlights all the time. We were lucky enough to play in Bendigo with Get Dead from the USA. I was in hospital with food poisoning, had to get myself discharged to play and was unable to stay for the entire night. But I’m told it was an amazing night.

Playing in Eaglehawk at Trash Cult is always a highlight, getting to play with some international artists and our friends Alarms.


How has your career been affected by COVID? Has there been little change or has it had a substantial effect?

During COVID we were forced to miss some gigs due to cancellations and members having COVID. In general there were just not as many gigs going. Now with the country open again we have been playing more than ever here in the goldfields, Melbourne and have travelled interstate to play.


How can people check out your music online?

You can buy and listen to our stuff on Bandcamp, or check us out at @hhsp.music on Instagram (and) Harold Holt Search Party on Facebook. We’ve also got some stuff up on YouTube and are working on releasing some new stuff soon.


Do you have any gigs coming up?

We are lucky enough to have a few gigs coming up, including a 10 February arvo show with Buddhadatta from Japan at Trash Cult Eaglehawk. Then we are heading to NSW and the ACT in early April.

Harold Holt Search Party also co-headlined the Gold Rock 2 local music festival at Handle Bar last weekend.


What would you say to young regional aspiring musicians who are thinking of making a go of the creative life?

Just have a crack. It’s all you have to do honestly. Don’t wait until you are an old fart like me.

Find inspiring and supportive people to be around if you can. But most of all have fun if it’s something you love. If you lose the fun you will lose the love.