Growing up in a Mormon household in California, living off grid in the wilderness, being Tom Waits’ children’s nanny, moving to Manchester, collaborating with the likes of Guy Garvey and Stewart Copeland and releasing six albums, Jesca Hoop has packed a lot into an eclectic life so far. Her latest collection of heartfelt, intense and lyrically songs, Memories Are Now has just come out, and she’s coming to Epic Studios to play for us. I spoke to her about her writing process and her musical inspirations.

When I was 15. You moved off grid in your late teens, and you also worked as a wilderness survival guide. What does being lost in the wilds of nature give you as a person and as inspiration for your music? A craving for dwelling as close to the elements as possible while still being sheltered. Once I spent whole weeks living completely outdoors, I lost my desire to ever live in a house and for many years, I adopted canvas dwellings as my choice of shelter. You moved to Manchester in 2008 – how was that change for you, coming from California and LA. Have you grown to love the city, and if so what in particular? I have mixed feelings about Manchester, but to be fair, I have mixed feelings about the other places I have lived as well. I have yet to live in a city or town that holds it all


ou grew up in a Mormon household in California. When did you first start writing your own songs?

for me. You’ve toured a lot over the years – what has been your most memorable gig? Recently, I really enjoyed guesting on Prairie Home Companion with host Chris Tile. Tat gig was pure joy and a rather intense working environment too having only a couple hours to work up the material with the house band. Also radio shows are always better, in my opinion, done for a live audience and the Fitzgerald Teatre is the lovely place to host the lovely listeners. Do you have a tried and tested writing method that works for you or is it more ad hoc? Yes, it involves increments of time…. and dedicating a minimum every day. I must work for that minimum at least to get the ideas going. If nothing comes in that minimum, no sweat - I try again the following day. Once the ideas form, I can more easily spend long lengths of time honing them. You’re signed to Sub Pop, that legendary label. What’s next for you after this album

and tour? Aside from living life to the fullest, I will crack on with the writing of the next album. It’s really too soon to speak about it. Your latest album, Memories Are Now came out in February. I understand that first the first time for one of your solo records you recorded it away from Tony Berg’s Zeitgeist Studios. How did you find working with Blake Mills this time around? Blake is one of the most naturally musical people that I know. He has got vision and drive and deeply cares about the projects that he chooses to take on. It’s a very personal and emotive album but full of strength, not sappy or weak. It’s inspirational in fact. How do you manage to successfully translate your own life experiences, good and bad, into universal themes that we can all relate to? I seem to write about things that trouble me but I won’t publish the work if the trouble is not universally shared. I am not fond of self indulgence and the line can be thin at times when music is like a therapy for you. I do my best to look at songwriting as a service and it really only serves if the story is relatable. You have written songs about religion and myth – do you think it’s important to have a spiritual belief of some kind in these difficult times for the world? I think it is important to remain in constant curiosity and awe. I feel that in bending to the endless questions and nature’s joyful reveal, there is food for the soul. You’ve worked with so many people in collaboration. Is it easier or harder to write and perform as a solo artist? You have total freedom but that can be full of pressure in its own way. Solo work nd collaborations both come with challenges. I do enjoy the freedom of writing solo and I also love the kindling of creative forces with others. Both of the process have the potential to surprise you and if you are reaching to meet your potential, surprise will inevitably come. Who are your musical inspirations that have stuck with you through the years? Paul Simon, Kate Bush, Te Beatles, Joni Mitchell, David Bowie, David Byrne, Annie Lennox, Nina Simone, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young…. and on and on and on! What do you hope your audiences take away with them from one of your shows? A full body experience and a heart opening. I’d like them to leave feeling fired up, ready to talk laugh sing and play as they skip, slink, twirl and strut out of there.


INFORMATION Jesca Hoop plays at Epic Studios on 2nd April. Tickets available from

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