You don’t have to be in a funk just because it’s Monday. Instead, get funky!
TrunkSpace brings you another edition of Musical Mondaze. This time out we’re chatting with Jesca Hoop, a singer/songwriter whose musical diversity is a breath of fresh air. Constantly challenging herself creatively, she has an uncanny ability to connect with people in a way that makes it seem like we as listeners are all on the journey with her, a feat that she accomplishes regardless of the musical style she is dabbling in.
We sat down with Hoop to discuss her latest album “Memories Are Now” and the path that lead her to its inception.
TrunkSpace: Your latest album “Memories Are Now” has become like a collection of lullabies for us in that, no matter what mood we’re in, the tracks are able to bring balance and a sense of calmness. There is a physical feel, something quantifiable but not necessarily quantifiable, to the album as a whole. Is that something you set out to achieve when working on a new album and in choosing the songs that will appear on that particular record?
Hoop: Hmmm. I would say that in general my motivation in writing songs and curating an album is based on a range of emotions and raising of particular energies. I do aim to connect physically, to move parts internally in the listener by shaping penetrative and cleansing resonances.
TrunkSpace: When you look at “Memories Are Now” and compare it against some of your earliest work, where do you see your biggest growth as an artist?
Hoop: I think there are considerable milestones of growth within the writing. I am particularly proud of “Pegasi” and “The Coming” as pieces of songwriting. In those songs, I feel I am communicating very clearly while still staying true to what makes me uniquely me. I feel that that has come from years of standing my ground as an artist. This album sees me in my art on my terms… and celebrates.
TrunkSpace: In writing the album, where were you finding your song-by-song influences? Musically, there’s some really interesting dynamics, particularly with “Cut Connection” and “Songs of Old,” which seem to have a very Irish folk feel.
Hoop: This album seems to return to a connection in one sense or the next. The universal need for it. Every song is asking for connection and through connection…transformation.
TrunkSpace: You’ve never shied away from experimenting with varying styles. Does that keep the process of songwriting fresh for you?
Hoop: Styling for me comes from my curiosity of what the human voice can do and what my particular voice is capable of. There seems to be endless potential and untapped territory. Generally, I look to the genres in order to help raise certain energies. I handpick elements from here and there that in combination create a certain feeling… it’s not about genres… it’s about opening the world of music, its many instruments and combining sensibilities to come up with something that is more about resonance, timbres and emotional energies.
TrunkSpace: How about lyrically? Were you drawing from experiences in writing this album or were you approaching the songs from a storyteller’s perspective?
Hoop: “Memories Are Now” all comes from a directly personal place but at the foot of a universal bridge. Again circling back to connection, I aim to relate through music and to reach others through storytelling to increase human dialogue, if not just internally, by communicating my experiences and perspectives. I feel that those who can communicate their experiences and do, serve the greater good. Communication makes contact makes a connection.
TrunkSpace: A lot of times when you hear an actor or actress asked about his or her work, they’ll say that they can’t watch it. Do you think that applies to musicians? Do you ever sit down and listen to one of your earlier albums or do you avoid it?
Hoop: I have a natural resistance to watching or hearing live footage unless it has been recorded by someone I trust. The experience is important to me and the feeling I take away from a show is a great deal of the reward. I don’t want that spoiled by a poor mix or bad lighting. I have a natural resistance in order to preserve the experience.
TrunkSpace: Where are you the most critical of your own work? Is it in the early stages of songwriting? Is it in the studio? Is it in releasing new music to the masses?
Hoop: Early stages of songwriting definitely. It may take a lot to get me to the core of a good idea and in the early stages and I may not necessarily trust that the wobbly legs of a new idea will eventually hold up a workhorse.
TrunkSpace: You have been performing and touring longer than many artists will ever hope to achieve. Does the grind of it… the constant traveling and living out of a suitcase… does it get easier or more difficult as it becomes sort of second nature?
Hoop: You realize certainly how very little stuff you need, that’s for sure. I love to travel. I love teamwork and I love playing for audiences. There are challenges to road travel as it relates to health and fitness in particular, but the challenges, for me, are all manageable by devising a program for health and fitness that fits within the varying modes of travel. Rituals become highly valued and help create home wherever in the world you are.
TrunkSpace: There’s something special about life on the road… that whole gypsy soul aspect of it. Do you crave home when you’re on the highways and byways, and then instantly want to get right back out there when a tour comes to an end?
Hoop: I certainly experience a good deal of wanderlust though I love many of the benefits of being in one place for a length of time. I love family, food, culture and my fitness practices, which increase when I am at home.
TrunkSpace: Is there a particular tour that holds a special place in your heart and if so, why?
Hoop: The Sam Beam And Jesca Hoop tour. It was super fun lighthearted and easy. I get a whole lot out of the collaboration and the company, travel, shows and music is my pure joy.
TrunkSpace: When you look forward, what is one thing you hope to achieve in your career that you have yet to accomplish?
Hoop: Sold out shows at 3000 cap.
TrunkSpace: What is your advice for any young artist out there trying to find his or her way as they attempt to discover their voice as an artist?
Hoop: Avoid “X-Factor” at all cost. Stop listening to the top 40 for a while. There are no two voices the same. Search yourself for something extraordinary and seek to deliver it. When you sing, listen for the sounds that are unique to you and expand upon those… until they are recognizable to others. Be willing to be vulnerable in your practice to reach your true voice and remember that the voice is our most powerful instrument for communication and its primary function is to connect.