Wherever musician Edmond Lapine, 34, made his home -- be it Park City, Utah; Olympia, Washington; or Oakland -- others couldn't help but be drawn to his wisdom, generosity and undeniable creativity.
"He's just a magnetic person. Edmond was one of the purest hearts," says Colleen Johnson, a friend of Lapine's from Evergreen State College in Olympia, where they connected through a mutual friend and a shared love of music. "For a lot of us, music is our entire world, and everything that matters happens within that framework,” Johnson says. “I feel he embodied that completely. He was so dedicated to the scene.”
Sami Long Kopelman, Lapine’s mother, says her son was drawn to music even as a child. Lapine loved to record his voice on a Fisher-Price cassette player she’d given him when he was young, and over time he collected other instruments and tools that fostered his love for the medium.
“After declaring he wanted to be a rock star and becoming part of a local Park City, Utah, teen band, it was nearly impossible to get Edmond into any other hobby or activity,” Kopelman says.
A self-taught guitarist, Lapine played in various bands around the Northwest before moving to Oakland two years ago, drawn by the city's vibrant electronic music scene. He produced music under the moniker Cool d'État, a DJ name marked by an irreverent humor that Johnson says reflects Lapine’s "curmudgeonly joie de vivre.”
But what truly seemed to sustain Lapine was the sense of community that music brings. “Even though he liked a lot of different stuff and I liked a lot of different stuff, there was overlap, and I could always tell that he would steer our conversations about music to where that overlap existed so we could relate to each other,” Lapine's former coworker David Adelson told the San Francisco Chronicle.
Joshua James Amberson, who performed with Lapine in the music group Letters, wrote about the times they'd shared obsessing over music together and the support they'd provided each other. "Even though I hadn't seen him since he moved to the Bay a couple years ago, I always knew Edmond was rooting for me, believing in me, and I hope he knew that I rooted and believed in him in the same way," Amberson wrote.
It's that support that sticks in Johnson's mind most when she thinks back on her friendship with Lapine. She recalls the time when Lapine approached her after a show she played with her band Upside Drown a few years ago: "He was talking to me and said, 'Colleen, what you just did - that is why I play music. That’s why I’m here, that was everything.'" Johnson says. "It meant a lot to hear that from somebody who’s a dynamic and incredibly intelligent person.”
Roxy Blank, Lapine's partner, remembers him the same way, with a combination of "insight, emotional intelligence, and his general intellect" -- and she was enchanted, she says, "from the moment I met him."
Hear more of Lapine's music as Cool d'État at his Soundcloud page.