“We don’t really throw stuff. We’re more passive aggressive." - Ella Hooper, on sibling squabbles.
"The night before we were like ‘They’re going to say no, it was all a lie, it’s a joke, it can’t be true.’ But it’s happening, and it’s been fantastic." - Ella Hooper, on opening for Fleetwood Mac.
“With a new project and a new name there’s no preconceived ideas... Now we feel like we can do pretty much anything we like.” - Jesse Hooper, on reinventing themselves.
Dec 7, 2009. By Jordana Borensztajn.
Scoring the spot as the opening act on Fleetwood Mac’s Aussie tour would be a dream gig for any band. It’s even better for a group that’s reinventing itself, and re-emerging on the scene with a new name, a new sound and a new EP.
After a four-year hiatus, Jesse and Ella Hooper – aka the former Killing Heidi brother and sister duo – waved goodbye to their power pop roots and are greeting fans as the newly formed The Verses.
Ella says playing for stadium-sized crowds has been a great way to come back with a bang. “It’s the best thing. It’s the most amazing opportunity for our band at this stage. Fleetwood Mac is one of our favourite bands and a really big influence on us musically. Lots of people said – way before we knew Fleetwood Mac were coming out – ‘We can really hear that Fleetwood Mac influence in your sound.’
“Then low and behold we’re supporting them – nine shows all around Australia. It’s just blown us away. The night before we were like ‘They’re going to say no, it was all a lie, it’s a joke, it can’t be true.’ But it’s happening, and it’s been fantastic. They’re amazing to watch and we’re learning a lot just by being there.”
Jesse tells Nova the reactions from Fleetwood Mac crowds have been mixed, and pretty funny at times. “Through the first few songs, people are like ‘Who are these guys, what are they doing here, I thought this was Fleetwood Mac.’ Then a few songs later they’re like ‘Oh they’re not bad.’ So I think we turn them around. It’s a pretty broad audience too, so just to get that many ears in front of this band at this stage is fantastic.”
Leaving the upbeat pop of Killing Heidi behind for more melodic and mature, harmony-infused tracks, the Hoopers have a whole new image, and plenty of extra layers of meaning.
“Killing Heidi was something we had been doing since we were 13 and 15. It was such an amazing time (but) when we looked back at the early Killing Heidi stuff, we still loved it but it was like looking back at your kiddy photos. We felt like we were different people. We had grown up and we wanted to try something new. We just wanted to do something else,” he explains.
“With a new project and a new name there’s no preconceived ideas. I feel like perhaps there were walls there in terms of what kind of style of song we could do. And now we feel like we can do pretty much anything we like.”
While the pair is at risk of alienating some of their old fans, they’re also highly likely to sweep in plenty of newcomers. Ella says so far they’ve had a pretty good rate of conversion. “Some people I’m sure we might lose if they were really into that energetic style of power pop that Killing Heidi was. But the lucky thing is that is people have grown up too. There’s a good chance that people who maybe had Reflector as their first album are more mature and like more mature music.”
No matter how grown up these siblings might be, when it comes to family relationships, bickering and squabbling is sometimes unavoidable. “We get along most of the time, but we have our moments. We really want this to work so I think that comes first, really, and obviously being family we care for each other on a lot of different levels but we still crack the sh**s with each other,” Jesse laughs.
“We don’t really throw stuff. We’re more passive aggressive so it’s probably more awkward for the band around us,” Ella adds.
With a four-track EP now available, the brand new chapter of The Verses’ journey is looking pretty promising. “At the moment we’re just excited because it’s taken us a long time to get this back up and running. We don’t know how hard it’s going to be but we haven’t really seen anything other than great responses so far,” Jesse says.
“We’ve had a very good run," Ella adds. "We’ve always been a little bit blessed and we’ve always worked really hard but I feel like this is a really good time for us to come out and do the music we’re doing, and be in the place that we’re in. So I actually feel like the stars are aligning and it’s going to be a really good ride.”