Somewhere Between The Dark And The Light
Ella Hooper performs at the ARTBAR this Thursday, May 8. BOB GORDON reports.
Ella Hooper has to stop to think about the last time she performed in Perth. It all comes flooding back, however, she when recalls just what the show was.
“Oh, it was with The Verses supporting Fleetwood Mac,” she says of her former (post-Killing Heidi) band with brother, Jesse, who toured with the iconic US outfit in 2009. “We loved it, we felt very, very lucky. It was a great way to get around the country and work with your idols, basically.”
The Verses went on to release an album in 2010, before the siblings went onto separate projects. Hooper has since performed regularly, written articles for magazines and recently become a team captain on the revised ABC-TV series, Spicks And Specks.
Music is at the heart of it all, however, and Hooper will release her debut solo album, In Tongues, in the next few months.
“I write constantly,” she says, “but I had a batch of songs that all of a sudden sounded to me like they wanted to be a solo record. And that’s the reason I did it. There were five or six songs in a row where I thought, ‘hmm, there’s a theme here. It feels like it could be a string theme for a solo record’.”
The first single, Low High, evokes some elements of what Hooper has done before, but in itself is different because of that. One wonders if approaching a solo album some 18 years into her music career, comes with a considered approach or something more organically…
“It’s a bit of both, actually,” Hooper says. “Like, you do set out with a vision, or I did, but sometimes that vision changes along the way, due to learning more, or having different experiences. I think it was half in my head what I wanted to do and half that it mutated into something different, hopefully something even bigger than I originally envisaged.
“Low High is a really good mid-point as to what the rest of the record is about. It shows a little bit of the light and a little bit of the dark, not too far one way, or the other. I also thought that it was one of the most freshest sounding tracks. There wasn’t much guitar on it, which for me was a whole new palette, so I really wanted to show people that I’d moved into a new area.”
As for her role on Spicks And Specks, Hooper has enjoyed making the transition from ‘guest’ to regular cast member.
“I love it,” she enthuses. “It’s great. I can’t believe I get to do it every week and enjoy the show that I used love so much as a guest, now as a part of the team. And it’s teaching me about telly. When you get to do it every week, of course, you get better and better. It’s something you don’t really get to improve upon as a guest. On an off night there’s no chance to correct it next week, whereas with this there is.”
Hooper’s probably diversified her career more than she’d ever expected, but like they say, it’s good to be busy.
“And I’m busier than I’ve ever been,” she notes. “It’s funny, people follow me on social media and see that I’m either at rehearsal or at Spicks And Specks or working on songs or writing for a magazine. I love being busy, but now the next thing for me is learning how to balance my creative energies and get the most out of them… I’m sounding very mature, talking about balance! (laughs).”