A couple of years ago, most people knew Cooper Saver as a promoter. His Far Away parties, which he’d largely been throwing in warehouses and other covert spaces across his native Los Angeles since 2012, were widely regarded as some of the best in the city, and regularly hosted DJs like Floating Points, Avalon Emerson, Young Marco, Four Tet, and others too numerous to list.
Saver himself also played at many of these events, usually in the warm-up slot, and from the outside, it certainly looked like he’d carved himself a comfortable niche in LA’s dance music landscape. In reality though, Saver was struggling a bit. “I felt like my mental health was deteriorating,” he says.
Even with partner and fellow DJ Jen Ferrer helping to organise and run the events, the promoter grind was causing Saver all sorts of stress and anxiety. “It was not making me happy to be [throwing parties] all the time,” he explains. “There was a turning point where I was really enjoying making music, and getting busier with DJing too. It’s hard to juggle travelling with the parties, and ultimately I’d rather be focusing on my own DJing than being a promoter full time.”
With Far Away now scaled back to something that only happens every few months, Saver has been making the most of his newfound free time. Although he’d previously been dabbling in production for the better part of a decade, and had impressively been commissioned over the years to remix artists like The Golden Filter, Holy Ghost!, Perel and Jacques Renault, 2019 finally saw the release of his long-awaited first solo EPs. They arrived via Permanent Vacation, Internasjonal and Biologic, and Saver has also just contributed a track to the ‘Fragments’ compilation on Hivern Discs, which will be issuing more of his music in the future.
Things have also changed on the DJ front, as Saver has gone from a steady diet of warm-up slots and hotel gigs in Los Angeles to regularly playing in Europe at places like Panorama Bar. The transition, while welcome, has also presented him with some new challenges. “Opening [at Far Away for all those years] was good experience,” he explains. “It gave me a good opportunity to play around with different ideas in a low-pressure setting, and also just learn how to warm up properly.” Now that he’s headlining parties outside of LA, however, he’s having to adjust his approach. “I’m still figuring it out,” he admits. “I buy so many records that are suited for peak time that I never really got to play until the last couple of years... [it’s difficult] to programme that music in a way that’s fluid and makes sense in a party environment.”
Musically, this results in him playing a little more techno and a little less house and disco, but Saver generally tries to disregard notions of genre, preferring instead to simply “keep things cosmic and spacious”. Despite his background as a party promoter, he’s a laid-back guy, and wants his personality to shine through when he’s behind the decks. “I like keeping things energetic, but subtle,” he says. “I’m never really going level 10, but [my music] isn’t sad and sleepy either.” Perhaps chill is the right word to describe Saver, both as a person and an artist.
A true product of the West Coast, he’s found community in Los Angeles, both with online radio station dublab, where he’s had a show for many years, and with the city’s larger electronic music scene. Back when Far Away started, Saver wasn’t even old enough to legally enter a club, but he’s delighted to say that he’s now no longer the youngest person at every event. He’s become one of the veterans heading out of town for gigs, although he’s admittedly still learning to navigate the rigours of a busy travel calendar. “I’m still assessing the situation,” he says, “but I also really like living in LA, and when I have my downtime here, I’m really happy. It’s a nice place to live, and it’s home.”