Brendan: Hey everyone! Today I'm very excited to be speaking with the dazzling and
charismatic Ella Hooper from Killing Heidi.
How are you, Ella?
Ella: Whoo! I love that intro!
Brendan: Aww thank you!
Ella: Thank you! I'm feeling very good. I'm feeling pretty dazzling and pretty
Brendan : Oh. That's fantastic. So, you with Killing Heidi, are on the road at the moment for
a regional tour after the Capital City Tour in June. How is that going?
Ella: It's awesome. It's awesome. We've done Darwin already and now we're having a bit
of a break and then we pick it back up in Queensland and we're pretty much going
everywhere. We just felt like you know the city run went so well and it was so fun
we had to do a little bit more.
Brendan: Oh. Yeah. I agree. Definitely. Sweet. So, I gotta ask, writing and performing with
your brother Jesse, how's that go? Having your brother there with you all the
time, I mean, I know if I was writing music and touring with my older brother then
that would not –
Ella: Would not fly [laughs]
Brendan: - sound very good and that would not sell.
Ella: Well we always hear that. We always kind of had, "How do you work with your
sibling all driving you mad?" But the thing is, I don't think we know anything else.
We've been doing it for so long and we have had little breaks where we've worked
with other people and we've gotten away from each other and travelled and
things. There's always a special chemistry there that we actually both really
appreciate and go, "Now this is good, there's something here." And of course we
sort of bug each other and piss each other off sometimes as only siblings can. You
know what buttons to pushright. Usually it works really well and we kind of have a
little bit of that sibling ESP. We can tell when someone's wanting to say something
and is feeling funny about something and you would know the signs better than a
stranger or even a close friend. You just know. So that kind of comes in handy.
Brendan: Yeah. Definitely. Yeah so over the years since ... Because you started Killing Heidi
when you were 13 which, when I read that, it was like wow-
Ella: Mmm crazy.
Brendan: -that's insane. So, how do you think your songwriting and your musical skills has
developed over the years since you first started Killing Heidi?
Ella: Well it's definitely developed. I mean, I feel so lucky to be able to have done this
thing called music for 20 years, you know and I think when you start out you have
a really incredible period where you're a bit naïve and you don't really know the
rules. It's great so you don't hold yourself back because there are no rules. And
then you go through a stage where you learn, you sort of learn the ropes and get a
little bit inhibited and intimidated and think, "Oh my God, what am I doing?
Everyone out here is so much better than me." And then hopefully if you just keep
going, keep going, keep pushing through it you'll have a second coming of that
really free kind of creative period, which is what I feel like I'm going into now. I've
done it for so long that I'm confident, but I'm also not comparing myself to others
and I'm just kind of enjoying it and being in the moment and it's a really good
place to be.
Brendan: Yeah. Definitely. That's fantastic. So, back in '06, what was the ... I mean I'm sure
everyone's dying to know ... Why did you guys break up Killing Heidi in '06?
Ella: mmm .. That's a good question. We were just ... look we'd been doing it for 10
years straight by then and I think we just wanted a break. We just wanted to try
other things. Do something different. It was very all consuming when the band
was in its first heyday of playing all the time and of making albums all the time.
You really couldn't think about anything else, every day you had off was just you
know one day away from getting back onto making a new track or getting back in
the studio. So yeah, and that's all great when you're into it, but when you want a
break and you're not really able to take a break and you're not able to change
your head space out or think of other things. At such a young age I still hadn't
tried anything different and I was 20 something, 24 or whatever-
Brendan: 23, if my Spidey senses are right. Yep.
Ella: -yeah and I just was like, okay, I need to try something different. Which we did,
but also, I didn't know for sure whether that would be like, "Okay, we're never
getting back together, or we're going to take a break." It was genuinely just like
let's have a break and see what happens and then I think we all realised the break
is what we want and we want to make it like a permanent break.
Brendan: Yeah. Fair enough. Well, yeah I'm not going to hold that against you. So yeah,
okay. So, your performance style, as I was saying before I saw you back in June,
and I remember writing in my review of that show, that your energy on stage was
like a little kid in Toys R Us, who just had the most amazing Happy Meal ever-
Brendan: -so, how do you ... and well sorry ... With me being a live music journalist, my
focus is mainly on sound quality from both you guys the artists and the sound
mixer. Being nearly blind makes me focus on that. Then on top of that, energy
which you got down pat and how the artist engage their audience and kind of
interact with their crowd and feed off the energy. So, well first, how do you kind
of keep up that amazing energy time in and time out. And kind of, for new fans
listening that haven't experienced your shows, what can they expect? Addressing
those points I mentioned.
Ella: Well, thank you so much for you know picking up what I'm putting down and
feeling that energy and feeling that vibe, because that's definitely something I try
to invest in and I really try to invest in having a connection with the crowd and
talking to the crowd and sharing something. I don't just clock on, clock off. And
especially with this reunion and having stepped away from it for 10 years, I'm
coming back with nothing but likev energy and enthusiasm for building that
connection and I don't want to let one gig slip through the net when that isn't
there because then there definitely would've been a few towards the end of
Killing Heidi the first time around where we were just exhausted or we'd done
that same gig several times and maybe just maybe we would've been not as
present as I want us to be now.
So I really love that you felt that and that everyone coming to the Killing Heidi
version 2.0 show is saying that. And saying like, "Oh my goodness. It's just you guys
look like you're having a ball and you're all on fire and Ella you're giving so much."
I'm like, so how do I do that? I don't know, I just commit. I'm not the most fitness
Betty or exercise guru or yoga girl. I just, when I perform I find a wellspring of
energy that I don't find any other way. Singing opens it up for me because its
genuine, I'm genuinely feeling what I'm saying and then I'm moving my body in
accordance with what I'm saying and what I want you to feel as the crowd. And I
can't exactly explain just how it happens, but it happens and I keep it up for an
hour and a bit and then I fall down in a heap. [laughs]
Brendan: [laughs] I could imagine, because ... Well, I was reviewing a show recently where
you know they had a lot of energy too and I actually referred to that guy as like a
monkey on speed so, I love my analogies, but I was thinking, wow how do you guys
still manage to sing and perform these songs at perfect sound –
Ella: It’s hard-
Brendan: -whilst running around the stage.
Ella: -that's the tricky bit. It's jumping up and down. Your singing is always going to
suffer a little bit. I've thought about this a lot. I'm like, "Oh, what should I, should
I jump and perform right now, or should I really nail the note." And it's sometimes
a choice you have to make and you're like, "Well, I can get the note. It might not
be beautiful, but I'm going to keep moving." Sometimes you really need to just
stop and commit and sing and I think I usually choose sound over visuals until I get
too excited and then I just can't stop moving and I'm just dancing my butt off and I
might not sing so brilliantly at that stage, but hopefully it's a mix.
Brendan: Well, yeah. I didn't notice any gaps in the awesome sound so ...
Ella: Thank you. I'm a bit of a perfectionist ... So I'm kind of like ... I can hear where
it's not perfect, but usually I think if you're giving your energy to the crowd they
don't mind if you hit a dull note here or there if you are giving everything on
Brendan: mmm Well, definitely. So, I mean, you started Killing Heidi when you were 13,
released the first album when you were 16 and wow. And then you've gone on to
do some incredible things. What's been the biggest challenge for you, you reckon?
Ella: Mmmm..I guess transitions. Transitions are challenging when you're sort of trying
to change your sound or change your ... How you're perceived. I think I've changed
a lot as an artist and I've gone through lots of different stages, but I will always be
the girl from Killing Heidi to most people and that's fine because I am the girl
from Killing Heidi. But it's taken me a fair while to sort of accept that and see
that as a strength and not be ... Not feel pigeonholed, you know, like I've realised
that this is my own pigeonhole that I can actually use and own and make the most
of and it's not limiting as I once maybe, kind of, thought it was a bit limiting to
just be the girl from Killing Heidi because I want to be a lot of other things as
well. But now I'm realising I'm a bit older and wiser and a little bit more crafty
and I'm like, "No, this is actually only limiting if I let it be."
Brendan: Well, it's a pretty awesome pigeonhole, if it is a pigeonhole so-
Ella: Thanks. Yeah. I've realised that now.
Brendan: Oh that's fantastic. I've read that you've got the ... Let's see if my shotty eyes can
read this right. The Telstra Road to Discovery Project. Tell me a little bit more
Ella: I have to cut you off there, because that's actually, no more.
Brendan: Oh well my bad.
Ella: Yeah. No, that's okay. Google you know, is a double edged sword.
Brendan: Yeah. Well you did mention earlier that you're doing some teaching, so-
Ella: Mm-hmm (affirmative)-
Brendan: Kind of inspiring young minds.
Ella: Exactly. I do a lot of mentoring and do a lot of, sort of work with the next
generation of songwriters and singers and performers and I love doing that.
Brendan: That's fantastic.
Ella: Yeah. It feels really good after all these years of getting things right and getting
things wrong it's a great thing to share.
Brendan: Yeah. Definitely. Well, sharing is caring. So-
Brendan: Yeah. Definitely. So, back to starting at 13, which that really just baffles me that
it started at 13, like God if I hit musical talent like that when I was 13, wow. But
so what kind of started the musical spark for you?
Ella: Being a fan. Being a big lover of music. I just grew up listening to records, CDs,
vinyls, tapes you know my parents had a really good music collection at home and
I just loved the way that they would get home from work and put a song on and it
would be like the start of their evening, the end of their day, a mood changer, a
way of communicating. We definitely were a bit of a music effaced household. So
that, Jesse and I just got that loud and clear and that became the inspiration to
try and do it ourselves because we just didn't think there's anything cooler that
you can do, other than you know making music is the the pinnacle of what we
cared about and what we thought was cool so we just started having a go really
Brendan: Yeah. Well, I mean, I don't think there is anything cooler than writing and
performing music and yeah ...
Ella: Well everybody, all artists are different too, like, I'm sure for a painter, painting is
the pinnacle and for a sculptor, sculpting is the pinnacle. And I just you know.. I
grew up in a house where there was records ... I love music.
Brendan: Now, music. Just music. Lock it in Freddy. So, you've accomplished a somewhat
amazing milestones. You've won four ARIA Awards. Four time platinum status and
some APRA Songwriter of the Year and everything. Kind of what's been the
highlight or highlights of your memories of your career so far?
Ella: mmm I mean that's ... You make it sound pretty good. I think it's just longevity.
Longevity. All those awards and accolades are amazing to have. They make you
feel really appreciated and they make you think okay cool people like this. That's
really nice. I feel supported. I want to keep going. But the stuff that really makes
you feel proud on the inside, even in your subconscious is just the fact that we're
still going. The fact that we have sort of, I think, almost our longevity. We're just
experimenting with it now with this brief 20 year reunion and the regional run and
the city run. I feel like another layer of pride, it's probably my new favourite thing
that we've ever done is keep going and find a new way to be activated in 2017,
which I just didn't see coming you know. It's a real treat.
Brendan: Yeah. Definitely. And I've got two more questions because we're running out of
time but unfortunately. So, ok, if I say the funniest most W-T-F memory because
I'm sure you've got plenty of them because you've played in so many gigs of so
many capacities to so many people, kind of what's the one memory that comes to
mind that really makes you go W-T-F?
Ella: Okay. Okay. A hard one. A time when ... I have to think of them quickly because
usually they're all tied in the other stories and stuff but let me think ...
Brendan: The first one that comes to mind.
Ella: I'd probably say ... Early, early days going over to LA and playing the Roxy and the
Viper Room in LA. Being a very underage teenager myself who one summer ago
was bored out of my mind in high school twisting my hair and writing songs in the
back of my high school book. Next summer I'm in LA at the Viper Room, which is
Johnny Depp’s rock and roll club right on Sunset Strip and I’m like “what is going
on?” I'm playing shows, doing showcases, that first culture shock, I'll never forget
it. It was very weird and it really blew my mind.
Brendan: Wow. Nice. And finally, what's kind of happening behind the scenes at the moment
and is there going to be some more Killing Heidi music in the near future?
Ella: I don't think so. We're just so happy playing the old songs and so far the fans are
really like you know are appreciating that and we're happy to share that. It's often
mentioned, but there are no plans to make any in the near future. We're just
doing the reunion and we'll see how that goes but there's always some gig popping
up here, there, and everywhere and perhaps something for New Year's Eve. Stay
tuned. Stay in touch on all of our socials and we will let you know if anything
exciting is coming in that form.
Brendan: Awesome. Well I vote for more music so-
Ella: Aww thank you.
Brendan: Well it's been an absolute pleasure talking to you and I'm amongst the millions
that ... You were my teenage crush growing up so ...
Ella: Awww thank you.
Brendan: No worries. And I can't wait to see you in Newcastle, well not really see you, but I
can't wait to experience the show in Newcastle in a couple of weeks. Thank you so
Ella: My pleasure. Thank you so much for having me and I will see you there.
Brendan: Will do. Looking forward to it.