Ella Hooper Talks The Roxy, Nashville and Melbourne bars

Ella Hooper Press Photo

Ella Hooper burst onto the Australian music scene as the technicolor teen queen frontwoman of rock pop band Killing Heidi. She’s been an avid contributor to the musical landscape ever since. Now establishing herself as a solo artist via a vibrant brand of spiky alternative pop she has three indie releases under her belt with the next slated for late 2018, promising classic rock feels, strong street walking struts and Ella’s unmistakable, uniquely textured voice delivering the goods. She also moonlights as a TV host, radio presenter, and DJ.
What’s your name and what do you?
Ella Hooper. I’m a singer-songwriter, rock band front-woman, presenter, and DJ.
What kind of music do you play? What best describes your sound?
At the moment, classic edgy rock/pop. I’m influenced by bands like Blondie, The Pretenders, and Divinyls. Big choruses, moody verses, heartfelt but drawing on the great cannon of classic motifs. I’m not trying to reinvent the wheel but add a new chapter to the good old stuff.
What would you say is your biggest influence?
The wild spirit of late Australian rock goddess, Chrissie Amphlett of the Divinyls has influenced me greatly. And Stevie Nick in solo 80’s mode.
Where’s the best club/venue you’ve ever played?
For grungy rock rooms maybe the Roxy in LA and for fancy theatre style rooms the Sydney opera house is pretty hard to beat (sorry hometown Melbourne!)
And the best festival?
The Queenscliff Music Festival has been my fave for a while as it’s just so civilized and I’m afraid my hectic muddy gumboot days are over. We go as a whole family, grandparents to little ones and I love that inclusivity. That’s what music is for me. Connection. Not just getting trashed. Not until the little ones go to bed anyway.. heh.
Where’s the most unique festival you’ve been to and what was so special?
The 1st ‘White Night’ in Melbourne was amazing, in that it was completely nocturnal (like me) and the stage I played on was erected out over the entrance to Flinders Street train station. Playing floating above an icon of my city with people filling the streets before me as far as the eye could see was pretty great and somewhat surreal feeling.
What was the most difficult festival you ever went to and was it worth it?
One we played in Toowoomba quite recently! There was sideways rain, pitch black skies in the middle of the day and no wet weather plan. We all had the distinct feeling we were going to die.
I guess it was worth it in that I now know I can use a mic stand as a shield to deflect other bits of stage flying around! Upskilling.
Have you ever traveled somewhere that you feel has influenced your life and music that you play/produce?
I know it’s a lame answer but, everywhere! Traveling far and wide with a band since I was 15 has been crucial to my understanding of the world and where I come from when I write songs. My parents say all the traveling kind of made up for the fact I didn’t finish high school and didn’t go to uni (something they really wanted for me) as it gave me such a broad range of experiences, and I tend to agree. I feel travel and touring, in general, has shaped me into who I am and definitely made me double down committing to my passion, as I know how lucky I am to be someone who likes to move around a lot with the job of someone who gets to move around a lot!
Where’s your hometown?
It’s the antithesis of cosmopolitan. A rural Victorian town called Violet Town. It’s just a wee blip off the Hume highway but it’s my heart’s eternal home for sure. Every street is named after a flower. It’s tiny and precious.
What’s your favorite local bar/restaurant/bar/club?
In Melbourne, it’s probably Marion wine bar on Gertrude street. or Long Play. Both have just the right vibe, nice but not snooty, good acoustics (of course) and killer drinks.
Where’s your favorite clubbing destination?
I’m not much of a clubber, but if you mean a place where there is DJ’s – David Lynch’s club Silencio in Paris.
Is there something you can’t travel without?
Pure Essential oils. I love Perfect potion’s 5 elements set, though I always finish the ‘Earth’ bottle way too quickly. (She needs grounding!)
What travel destination would you recommend our readers add to their bucket list?
I just had possibly the best 2 weeks of my life in a place called Colliuere in the South of France. It’s unbelievable. Ancient, quaint, funny, chilled, unpretentious, with plenty of wineries and old castles by the sea, what more could you want?
Where was the most surprising place you discovered a big musical influence? 
For songwriting, Nashville got me good. It is THE music city I guess. I love the way how even the cab driver who picks you up from the airport LIVES for music and has a mixtape or demo of his or her own to share. That passion. For performance, The Spiegeltent, anywhere in the world, maybe Ireland, with the likes of Camille O’Sullivan doing Brecht, Brielle, and Waits. Camille the badass Irish/French cabaret singer is one of the most captivating performers I have ever seen, and I don’t usually even like covers?!
You’ve just released a new single ‘To The Bone’ what location/city did you record them in?
in Melbourne at a few special spots. Sound Park, an awesome old school studio in Northcote, the fave of Paul Kelly and other illustrious Melbourne musicians, and a small studio for those in the know called ‘Glamour Trowel’ in Preston, the depressing suburb we all love to hate catching Ubers too, made famous by Court Barnett.
When should we expect a full album from Ella Hooper?
I think there’s an EP trying to get out first. I love a short format. But maybe a full-length album next year.
Where can we see you play over the next few months?
I’m at The Village Festival Yeppoon, QLD, Big Sound in Brisbane in September, the Tote in Melb late Sept and possibly announcing a run of Parlour shows that could take me anywhere, so, everywhere!
Any current travel plans for the rest of 2018 outside of touring or for touring?
Planning a road trip to the red center with my girlfriend before the year is out. The Northern Territory is a special high vibrational spot. Every time I go I want to stay longer and longer. And gig wise I’ll be heading back to the US early in 2019, so get ready to say howdy then US friends.