Interview: Ella Hooper

Ella Hooper has been part of the Australian music scene for many years, many of us will remember her as Killing Heidi frontwoman, and more recently as one half of the acoustic duo The Verses with her brother Jesse. She has also been working on radio and recording her solo album. We were fortunate to have her take some time out to tell us about the upcoming album, In Tongues.

Welcome to Beauty and Lace Ella, thanks for talking to us.

You have been well known to Aussie music fans since your Killing Heidi days, can you tell us a little about your decision to release a solo album now?

I know this sounds a bit cliché but it just felt like something I had to do. I felt a need to push away from my previous set ups and creative habits and try something new, and after being in bands for years, and always with my brother, going solo felt like the thing I hadn’t done yet, the itch not yet scratched. All these songs wanted to come out but not in a band setting, just as one persons story, or point of view.

The album is called In Tongues and is due for release in 2013, can you tell us about it?

In Tongues is about change, loss of control, obsession, passion, giving in to instinct and other raw and juicy emotions!  It also explores, subtly, the astrological phase ‘Saturn Return’…and it’s challenges.

Your debut solo single Low High has just been released, what can you tell us about the track?

The song is inspired by my nearest and dearest and their struggles with maintaining balance and perspective in the light of their mood disorders- Bi-polar, hormonal upheaval etc. and what they sometimes create out of that battle. The chaos, numbness, disconnection and also beauty that can occur.

Ella Hooper

The Low High percussion is a little out of the ordinary, can you tell us how this came about?

That’s actually me playing a whisky bottle (Jamieson), an empty kick drum case and two bits of wood! It was that unique rhythm that the whole thing sprang from, and the mood of the song was very much a response to the kind of hypnotic, snake charmer beat we built with that ‘junk yard’ percussion line.

Where did the inspiration for this album, and this track, come from?

It was a challenging and interesting year preceding this album. It pushed a few buttons and I found myself in need of a new approach and path. I had to make some difficult changes, especially not working with my brother any more, as I have since I was 13. I also had a long distance love affair bloom, so the anguish of falling in love but being separated influenced my writing too.

Low High is quite a different sound from what we’ve heard from you before, can you tell us a little about the change in direction?

I wanted a more modern, raw sound for this record. I was listening to everything from Harry Belafonte to The Kills to Lykke Li to Massive Attack. I also wanted to sing less and more softly than in the past, so tried to restrain myself in that aspect too.

The Low High clip is interestingly cinematic, what can you tell us about it?

My photographer Wilk and I came up with the concept together, thinking of ways to display control and being taken over by unseen forces -then men in black. We chose black and white to further express the new, more stark approach to my music and visuals. Less is more in other words.

Who came up with the concept for the video?

Myself and Wilk the photographer / director I work closely with.

What’s next for Ella Hooper?

I’m currently crazy busy doing all my media gigs, hosting, MC’ing and mentoring, and also now promoting Low High on top of that. Which is awesome! I love being busy. Next up is a film clip for single number two and working up the live band for some shows early next year.

What does being a woman mean to you?

It means being happy in my skin, I feel fortunate to be blessed with this gender. Also emotional intelligence, enjoying and expressing my femininity through art, clothes, make up and the way I live my life. Plus, sticking up for other women, and men!

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