Indie + alternative music culture depends on dedicated artists who create diversity & drive innovation in all aspects of songwriting, production & performance. We constantly feature new & notable independent acts on the verge of success. Meet this week’s featured artist in an exclusive interview. Introducing You To Your Next Favorite Artist: Jacko Hooper
Jacko Hooper is a singer-songwriter from Brighton. Combining delicate acoustic noodlings with a soulful voice to create a sound that has seen him accelerate through the acoustic scene and quickly become a favourite amongst music lovers. Truthful, well constructed lyricism and emotive melodies that have been leaving audiences around the country mesmerized.
Alongside writing and performing Jacko also hosts and curates Brighton’s premier singer-songwriter night Folklore, a packed one-in-one-out monthly event that brings together the most crucial and current acoustic and folk acts from across the country, in fact, it’s got such a reputation that acts such as Gabrielle Aplin, Hudson Taylor and Amber Run have all dropped by to play secret impromptu shows in the last year. Folklore has also recently expanded into a boutique record label in its own right and will be releasing a limited edition physical version of ‘After the Storm’.
We recently talked with Jacko to get his take on alternative culture. Read on to find out more about your next favorite artist.
Comments From The Curating-Editor
Jacko Hooper makes soulful and cerebral indie-folk, with charmingly pensive sunrise melodies. Reminiscent of James Bay, Chet Faker and early alt-J vocals, his latest EP After The Storm is an easing and clear depiction of intimate lyricism and thoughtful production. Each song makes you feel as if Jacko is sitting right next to you, recounting his yearning thoughts in poetic fashion with the appropriate cinematic effects layered in. My personal favorite off the EP is the Closer. There’s a stunning warmth in the track, combining both a sense of pain and affection, which naturally makes you want to “move in closer” and immerse yourself into Hooper’s discography.
What are your top 3 favorite albums that inspired you to get into music?
Muse – Showbiz
Sigur Ros – Ágætis byrjun
Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova – Once
What are your fondest musical memories?
As a listener, it would probably be thinking about when I was a child and used to get home from school, head upstairs and sit under my bunk bed with my portable radio. I would listen to the local radio and tape my favourite songs on a cassette tape as they came on. (Which makes me feel ancient but is totally true).
As an artist I have many… Meeting some of the people I have, playing in Europe for the first time, releasing my first vinyl record are all there. The stand out moment is still probably playing the biggest venue in my home town. The Brighton Centre holds over 5,000 people and I was invited to open up for James Blunt there. Before that the biggest show I had done was about 900 so it was a big leap, however one I enjoyed immensely.
Lately what musical periods or styles do you find yourself most drawn to as a listener?
At the moment I’m very much back into my singer-songwriters and have been listening to the new Lisa Hannigan record, the new James Vincent McMorrow record and working through some Neil Young too. What I listen to is so diverse I go through a lot of stages throughout the year where i’ll be listening to particular genres or artists. There are too many to mention.
What is your creative process like? How do you approach the writing process? Is there a particular message or theme central to your creative works?
Not really… similar things pop up as they will do but it’s certainly not a conscious decision on my part. I simply write the music that I feel i need to. I often feel led by it rather than me pushing an idea or agenda with what sound I want. It comes as it comes and as long as it’s an honest representation of who I am and what I feel, that’s what is most important to me.
We’re a firm believer that the cities that artists are based in helps craft their sound. How would you describe your city’s music scene? How has it inspired you into crafting your sound?
I don’t think Brighton has necessarily inspired me in terms of my sound but it has done so much for me in other ways. For starters I’ve been gigging since I was 13, because the city made that possible. It’s tremendously hard for young bands now to get shows and I was so lucky. We would turn up, not go towards the bar but straight to the stage and play in a pub or venue or wherever would have us and then leave straight away as we weren’t allowed to be there… But we were. That was the important thing. I was able to learn my craft and earn a lot of stripes from a young age because I was in Brighton and it’s a city that encourages the arts and expression.
Brighton has such a wealth of music and talent, it’s difficult to not be inspired by it in honesty. You immediately know so many people around you doing so much great stuff, it can almost be hard to keep up at times.
What is your dream collaboration and why?
I would love to sing with Glen Hansard. He was probably my main inspiration when it came to pursuing this side of music. To see one person portray so much emotion and to get such an emotional reaction out of me was something incredibly inspiring and addictive. To sing with him would be a dream come true, for sure.
Which songs are you currently obsessed with? What bands do you believe are your best kept secret in the indie community?
Songs that i’m currently obsessed with would be
Nothing But Thieves – Love, Please Stay
Rag ‘n’ Bone Man – Human
Gallant – Weight In Gold
+ Eddi Front – Gigantic
Most of the best kept secrets seem to have already split up.. But in terms of the here and now I would definitely say you should check out Yonaka, who are a Brighton band who i saw recently and blew me away. My good friend Luo is undoubtedly someone people should check out and also Kudo Blue.
What are you currently working on? Any new projects?
Well I have just released my new EP so now it’s a case of demoing stuff for what comes next and I’m looking to do a collaboration with my good friend and producer Luo. It’s been a lot of work the last six months so I think i’m in that little cushion where I can take my foot off the gas for a week or two… Never much longer than that though!
Buy his After The Storm EP via iTunes.