By Kyra Shennon
The evolution of Ella Hooper’s music has taken her to all kinds of places, from her rise to success in Killing Heidi, breaking off with her brother, Jesse, to pursue a more country sound in The Verses, touring with Fleetwood Mac and bringing her passion of music to T.V with Spicks and Specks. Her involvement in music for almost 2 decades could aptly dub her a veteran of the Australian music scene. On Thursday the 8th of May, she played an atmospheric and intimate gig at the Art bar to promote her debut solo album In Tongues.
“I wanted to explore something really, really not-rock for a while after Killing Heidi. (The verses) were all about harmony and all about song-craft and Killing Heidi was very much about contrast and big ideas.” She affirms her latest album is a return to her “pop-rock roots” but with more personal, story-telling influence.
Charming, cheery and confident, she draws the audience into her world, giving a little insight into the story behind each song as she performs them. Ella describes her lyrics as “All very personal and relatable…. Sometimes I’ll write a song and I’ll look back and go, ‘Oh that sounds good’ but it has no meaning or no story and I just scrap it.”
Ella explains some of the inspiration for In Tongues, comes from reading a lot and puts the mystical, mythical elements in her music down to her fascination with certain themes and archetypes in the human psyche. “When an archetype is then wrapped in quite a poetic story, there’s nothing stronger than that…..so I kinda wanted to do the rock-pop version.” Hans Christian Anderson’s folk tale The Red Shoes inspired a fun and ‘dancey’ pop song on the record. She cites, “those good stories spawn movies, they spawn fashion, they spawn all kinds of things, so this was my turn at adding to that language.”
Just around the corner holds, “more touring, then releasing this damn album!” Ideas are flowing for a follow up solo album with “lots of writing, lots of recording” on the cards for the talented songstress.
I was very interested to know Ella’s views on how a song writer could go about getting their songs heard. “There’s so many ways these days, it’s very exciting times for songwriters and those who want to enter the industry. It’s never been easier because of the internet and blogs are making it very accessible, but that also does increase the amount of noise that’s out there.” Her main piece of advice, “it’s easy to put stuff out there but it’s hard to make it stand out, if you want to make it stand out, you’ve got to find what it is that makes you unique, you’ve just got to find that little quirk and highlight that quirk.”
Keep those eyes and ears open for In Tongues.
Photo by Mathew Picken