Jacko Hooper – From Home EP + Interview
You may or may not remember Jacko Hooper from some of our earlier posts. Specifically, his wonderful acoustic sessions we filmed out in the woods not too long ago, and as lovely as those sessions were out in the (semi) wilderness, his debut trumps them in almost every way.
Should we be admitting to such things? Well in this case we’re happy too because of quite how intimate and well put together his first effort is. The fact Jacko has been around music for most of his life is no clearer than in the marvellous instrumentation and variety of the EP. From the stripped back piano of Lullaby to the beautifully subtle birdsong and glockenspiel throughout The River, here’s an artist that not only loves his craft, but has the talent, breadth of knowledge and know how to create the music just as he wants it. This might only be something that snotty music bloggers with a massive nerdy streak appreciate, but the production and recording quality of this debut EP also really is sublime. This i’d argue also matters more than you think, a professional sounding product will inevitably be taken more seriously than something recorded through your MacBook’s built in mic (admit it, we’ve all been there).
Because of how much we enjoyed Jacko Hooper’s music, especially this new EP, we thought it’d be a great idea to get in touch with Jacko to discuss his first outing as a solo act. Big named artists always scoop the interviews, but there’s definitely something to be said for those just starting out, those initial times often the ones that shape the ‘big’ bands in their years of success. Are we trying to demonstrate our prescience then in interviewing Jacko? Not really, but we thought it’d be great to see it from the artists initial perspective:
So From Home is your debut EP, how have you found the experience?
Yeah, it’s been a really great learning curve actually. It was really cool to have complete control over every aspect of the music and production, something that i’ve never actually done before, and doing the whole EP literally, from home.
It was cool getting in a couple of friends to add instrumentation and messing about with structures of tracks and really spending some time on it, in a studio obviously you always feel slightly rushed because there’s a deadline and you have to get stuff done, which is rubbish for creativity. When you’ve got more time and it’s in your own home I think you’ll get something your more happy with, and that’s more true to your sound. Plus, it helped me get stuck into the nitty and gritty of production and recording. I don’t see myself as a producer or a professional sound engineer but it’s nice to know I can whack out a few tracks from home, and I learnt a shit load.
There’s quite a lot more instrumentation in your EP than in some of the tracks you played for us, how much creative control did you keep over that aspect of the EP?
Well, i did most of the instrumentation myself except the bass which my good friend Tom Peterson did for me and the piano on Lullaby that was done by the equally lovely Eva Rose, which is probably one of my favourite parts of the EP in the end. These instruments were pretty much the last thing that went on though, everything was done before that so the tracks were already ‘complete’ they just needed the extra instruments that I had in my head, or had played myself, but knew that I have certain chums that can do it better than I can!
Being an aspiring singer/songwriter, it can be difficult to get up and running, it’s still early days for you, but where would you like to be in a few years time, and how would you like to get there?
I would love to have brought out an album, jumped on a fair few festival bills and just generally be touring and working as a musician. I have a few little targets over the next year or two which i’ll keep to myself (in case i don’t fulfill them!) but i would love to play with a few different artists, the likes of Keaton Henson, James Vincent McMorrow are Ben Howard are all artists that i would to one day share the stage with. Essentially, I don’t want to have a real job in five years.
Brighton’s a pretty vibrant music scene, has that helped you as an artist at all?
Definitely. Not just for gigging myself but for seeing so much live music and so many good artists. It makes you stay on your toes a bit I think because you see musicians and you’re like ‘ok, i need to up my game here, these guys are great’. Which I really like, I think you need that kind motivation and appreciation of other stuff to keep your feet on the ground and to keep pushing yourself. The only downside of it I guess is that Brighton is a bit of a victim of it’s own success… There’s so much live music sometimes you’re battling with ten other gigs for a crowd as there’s ‘a show down the road and it’s free to get in’. But there could be far worse problems to have I think… If your a music lover it’s a good little scene.
It’s a very standardised question, but still an important one, what have your influences been not only on this album, but overall as an artists?
Musically, i’m a big fan of artists like Jeff Buckley and Thom Yorke for their vocal styles, during this EP I was listening to a lot of The Snake, The Cross, The Crown, Ben Howard and the other two that I previously mentioned and I think this rubbed off on the EP in places. I kind of went into it deliberately not being too sure of what was going to come out at the end, I wanted it to be a bit of a musical journey if you will…
I think it’s hard for any musician to pinpoint their sound so I just write what I like, and what I enjoy playing, and if other people enjoy it then that’s incredibly cool. It seems to be that the tracks that I bust out quite quickly and don’t really think people will necessarily like are the ones that people enjoy the most, i think that says it all really. People can tell when a song is real. Lyrically I don’t think I need to go into it too much, they are there to be read and heard so people can take from it what they want. I tend to use people, places and dreams as influences but I never write anything that doesn’t have some sort of story to it. The occasional anecdote or abstract idea pops out every now and then and I read it back a month later and realise what i meant (which is very strange and happens a fair bit), but generally speaking there’s a story there.
And names for the future, who have you got your eye on at the moment in the music world?
Keaton Henson deserves the attention that he will undoubtedly get. My friends in Forestears are making some great stuff at the moment too, I think they could have a pretty fun year ahead of them so I’ll leave it with those two.
And so that’s Jacko Hooper and his exquisite EP From Home which you can pick up from his Bandcamp HERE. It’s a wonderful initial outing and we can’t wait to hear more.