Jesca Hoop interview - Jesca Hoop

Jesca Hoop's music is like rummaging through an old antique trunk, one stored in the attic for years and covered in dust until you pull open the lid and submerge yourself in the treasures stored inside. Old black and white photos, a vintage hat, toys, trinkets, and each one with a story to tell. Jesca's music, which swings widely from cabaret to folk to dark indie pop, is like a treasure trove, each object hand-crafted from her technicolour imagination. And she's very kindly consented for us to have a peek inside.

Like me you're a West Coast girl who now finds herself in Manchester. What brought you over here? How have the natives been treating you? Do you miss the sun?

California uber alles! I find myself in Manchester as a result of the Elbow tour in fall of 2008 of UK and Europe where I participated as support act. I fell in love with a lovely man on that tour. I moved to Manchester in May 2009. I don't miss the sun oddly. I am a northern bird where the winters are heavy and gray. This winter here has been alright. I am looking forward to the cold breaking however.

Even though I’ve been here a few months I still find the accents tough going sometimes. Do you ever have trouble figuring out what people are saying to you? Sometimes I just smile and nod because I’m too embarrassed to ask them to repeat themselves.

I have alot of fun with accents of all kinds. I find some of the Scottish pronunciations impossible. Sometimes I feel like I am constantly saying "what?" to my boyfriend (whose accent is more of a hybrid). The northern accent doesn't usually throw me off.

Has your creativity, or the way you approach writing songs and making music been effected by your move here?

Well, only in the way that I am looking into relatively new surroundings as I traverse the crooked road throughout my imagination.

Your new album Hunting My Dress is a bit of a departure from your previous work. Some of the songs, like the up coming single ‘Feast Of The Heart’ feel edgier, less whimsical then some of our earlier material. What influenced the making of this album?

I would say that Hunting My Dress rounds closer to home. I don't see it as a departure but rather a progression in my creative evolution. This record is visited by a couple of themes. Death, love, war seem to reoccur.

You were the nanny for Tom Wait’s children, how did that come about? Has he been a big influence on your music? Do you think you two will ever collaborate in the future?

I asked the stars for a mentor, one who could help put me on track. Thats how I came to work for Tom and Kathleen. Tom Waits' influences my music in the way that he is highly creative and stays true to his vision. He sets a good example for musicians who want to express there very own individual voice.

You’ve worked closely with Guy Garvey of Elbow, most recently on the song ‘Murder Of Birds’ What’s he like to work with?

Guy is wonderful. We laugh alot. We talk alot. He is one of my favourite singers working today.

When I’ve seen you live it’s just been you alone on stage with your guitar. It must be terrifying facing a large crowd like that on your own, especially if you’re opening for someone else. How do you prepare for that? Do you have any pre-concert rituals? Any superstitions?

Strangely it isn't terrifying generally. In many ways it easier to play to a larger crowd than an intimate one. There advantages to both. Opening for someone else usually comes with its challenges. I learned the hard way by going out to open for the Polyphonic Spree. It was my first ever tour and I did that one solo. Playing for the Spree'scrowd who were all chomping to here a band of 21 people set me up for quite a challenge. I learned a lot along the way.

What’s next for you?

I am heading out to do a bunch of dates in Ireland and then I will have time to write. I will be going to SXSW. Hunting My Dress will be released in Europe and in the States in April and May. I will be writing all the while. I also hope to get some gardening in and a trip to India not to mention all the lovely activities that I enjoy at home.

Jesca Hoop''s new single Feast Of The Heart is out now.

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