Artist Interview: Alex Cooke (Wave Types)

by Brett Quattrucci on September 02, 2022

For those who don't know him, Alex Cooke is an incredibly talented guitarist and one of the masterminds behind his prog-rock band, Wave Types. He is also one of my all-time favorite guitar heroes and it was an absolute honor to be able to pick his brain and learn about his background as a guitarist. Combining modern tones, heavy rhythms, and blues-inspired licks, Alex has carved out a niche of his own within the progressive scene. His playing style is highly melodic, and his technique is equally as fluid. If you haven't watched any of his playthroughs, I highly recommend it. Matter of fact, I will post one at the bottom of this blog. Let's jump right into the interview!

Q: Where are you from?

A: Baltimore Maryland! Currently living in Ellicott City Maryland!

Q: How long have you been playing guitar?

A: I've been playing for 17 years! I started playing the bass for the first 3 years and later switched over to the guitar. I always wanted to be different growing up, so the bass was intriguing to me.

Q: How would you describe your own music?

A: I try to convey a lot of emotion in my music. I make sure everything I do has feeling. Whether you like the music or not I hope you felt something.

Q: What music or artists inspired you to start playing the guitar?

A: It all started when I was a kid, and my older brother David was listening to Rage Against the Machine in our room we shared. He actually woke me up to it lol. My jaw instantly hit the floor. I've never heard any music remotely close to that. I was hooked instantly. He showed me some local radio stations and all I did was listen to music from that point on. I discovered my life's biggest passion which led to me having to play an instrument! My biggest inspiration Mike Waters (my best friends dad) played in a local band that literally was covering all the music I was listening to on the radio. Hearing them play live music as a kid influenced me beyond anything else. RAKER!!!!!!!

Q: What was your first ever guitar?

A: My first Bass was a Squire P Bass (blue) so funny story. When I use to "air guitar" in my room prior to me actually playing. I played air guitar left-handed haha. I'm actually ambidextrous I get confused on what hand to use sometimes lol. When my dad took me to get my first bass, I quickly realized left-handed instruments were slim pickings. So, I got a right-handed instrument knowing I would thank myself later in life. My first guitar was some cheap knock off strat I forgot exactly what it was. I do remember it was black with a black pick guard.

Q: What's some of your all-time favorite gear?

A: Guitars: Legator, Tom Anderson, Suhr, LsL. Amps: Bogner Uberschall (green light), Mesa Dual Rectifier, Diezel D-Moll, Fender Bassbreaker, Cornford MK-50, Victory V130. Cables: Happy Cable Company. 

Q:  Did you always enjoy the type of music you create or did your taste evolve to this point?

I always had an ear for killer guitars work. In high school I listened to a lot of instrumental music like Greg Howe, Guthrie Govan and Doug Aldrich (electro vision) plenty others btw. When the prog stuff started getting popular later on it was a perfect marriage in my eyes. I always wanted to do a solo project type thing. Wave Types was always a back-up plan and eventually it became the plan.

Q: What is your personal favorite song that you’ve written?

Longate! When I wrote it, I just knew I created something I was really proud of. The response from everyone solidified that I could accomplish something in this industry. Quick shout out to all my fans. I love you guys.. I can't thank you enough. My dream to make music became a reality. My career could end today, and I'll be content. Although I'm not done yet...

Q: Which modern or classic artists inspire you the most?

A: Greg Howe.. His hooks and lead work spoke to me.

Q: Do you have any non-guitar heroes?

A: Mike Waters. Forever and always! He showed me what was possible. Creating music was actually a possibility.

Q: How did you develop your tone?

A: I like a little aggression with the rhythm tones, silky smooth lead tones, and those glassy cleans. I'm very very particular with my lead tones. Not every amp does what I want it to.

Q: How did you develop your playing style?

A: I picked up a bag of tricks from so many different styles and guitarist. Definitely a big 90s influence in regard to my clean riffs and layers. My lead work is influenced by Greg Howe, a bunch of 80s shredders!

Q: If you could jam with any artists, present or past, who would you choose?

A: Greg Howe, Kurt Cobain, Guthrie Govan, Aaron Marshall and I would create something sick!

Q: What song, artist, or genre have you been listening to the most in the past month? 

A: Summertime I've been spinning a lot of Incubus lately!

Q: What is something you love to do other than play the guitar?

A: I love fishing! I'm always fishing when I can. It helps me think it also helps me tune the outside world and get lost a bit. I love fishing. Also, fine dining! Good food, trying new things I'm always down for that!

Q: How do you break through plateaus and/ or writer's block?

A: Listen to new music, experiment with different tunings, work on your mindset a bit by trying to get myself in a more creative mood. Fishing oddly enough helps with those things for me.

Q: What’s the longest period of time you’ve gone without playing the guitar since you first started?

A: Probably a week only because I forgot to bring my guitar on vacation lol.

Q: What’s your preferred string gauge?

A:10-46 Daddario XTs!

Q: What’s something you wish you knew when you first started playing guitar?

A: Not really something I knew but more advice regardless of anything always be yourself. Do you!!

And since you all were wondering, if Alex could morph into any animal, he would be a squid so that he could explore the deepest depths of the ocean. A sentiment that I think is highly reflective of his experimental approach to music.

Oh... and his favorite ice cream is soft vanilla in a waffle cone. Slightly less exploratory, but not at all a bad choice.

Huge thanks to Alex for taking the time to share these answers with us. If you are just finding out about him, I hope his music inspires you daily and challenges you as a guitarist in the same way it has for me.

If you feel we can improve our artist interviews or have questions that you'd like us to include in the future, please don't hesitate to reach out via our Contact Page or write us a comment below! 

Before you go, be sure to take a look at Alex's playthrough of his personal favorite song, Longate.


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Author Bio

Brett, the owner and founder of Ploutone, is a modern guitarist on a mission to create a sustainable future and build a thriving community through the power of music. Brett founded Ploutone to celebrate independent artists and foster connections among guitarists worldwide. With a vision of spreading positivity and promoting sustainability, Brett hopes to inspire others to push the boundaries of their instruments and contribute to a better world.