Personal space: at home with Ella Hooper

Musician Ella Hooper in her Carlton pad musing on the bohemian lifestyle through her window. Photo: Michael Rayner

Musician Ella Hooper in her Carlton pad musing on the bohemian lifestyle through her window. Photo: Michael Rayner

It’s 20 years since a teenage Ella Hooper and her brother Jesse launched their band Killing Heidi in Violet Town in north-east Victoria. They are marking the moment with their first national tour in a decade.

“It feels bizarre and amazing,” says Ella, now 34.

“We broke up a long time ago – 2006 – so it’s 10 years since we played and 20 since we started.”

Ella, who is also an ambassador for Music Victoria, encouraging music lovers to sign up to support local musicians, lives in a two-storey terrace house in Carlton with two friends. Like any share house, this one reflects the personality of its tenants, but there is one theme that stands out.

“It’s super-feminine,” says Ella, referring in particular to the pink Smeg toaster. “I think we were all in the mood. Me and the other girls who live here were having fun when we moved in and looking to make the house a bit humorous and cute.”

Her own room, she says, is “pretty girly for someone who’s a real tomboy”. “It’s weird to see such pink and floral in here because I’m really not that sort of person. My room, I guess, is my softer side.”

  • Killing Heidi play at 170 Russell, Melbourne, on Friday, June 9. The event is sold out; waitlist at livenation.com.au
  • Join Ella in supporting Victoria’s music community and become a member of Music Victoria. musicvictoria.com.au

Tambourine

Photo: Michael Rayner

Photo: Michael Rayner

TambourineThis is made out of Schweppes bottle caps and old soft drink cans. My friend Taja brought it back from Thailand 10 years ago as a present and I thought it was so beautiful. I like things with rough edges, things that have had previous lives.

House plant

Her succulent plants. Photo: Michael Rayner

Her succulent plants. Photo: Michael Rayner

I love succulents because they thrive on neglect. They’re the hardiest of the indoor plants and I’m no green thumb.

I’m taking cuttings from my mum’s house in the country and shoving them in pots. And green is my favourite colour.

1960s Guyatone Guitar

Ella's first guitar. Photo: Michael Rayner

Ella’s first guitar. Photo: Michael Rayner

It was a cheapish Japanese rip-off of an American supermarket guitar, like My First Electric Guitar. They’re really funky and have this warmish tone. I found it at a great guitar emporium called Found Sound in Carlton.

I like guitar shops. I’m like a kid in a candy store, except I’m on a budget. I go in there often with my friend Dan Sultan, who is not on a budget. He likes to spend a lot of money and I wince and go “do you really need another Les Paul?”.

Chest of drawers

Ella's retro 'antique' chest of drawers. Photo: Michael Rayner

Ella’s retro ‘antique’ chest of drawers. Photo: Michael Rayner

I got this at a lost and found market in Brunswick East that I am absolutely obsessed with. This and its pair were only $200 or something ridiculous.

The market has got the best, most kooky stuff – stuff you can’t get at Ikea. It reminds me of Priscilla Presley.

LP

sundays

I got this record in an op shop many years ago. I’m a mad keen op-shopper. It’s called Reading, Writing and Arithmetic, by The Sundays. It’s a beautiful record.

Harriet Wheeler has such a gorgeous voice. This style of music – low-fi indie pop – has really come back in the past few years – jangly, loose, quite breathy. It sounds like autumn to me.

Egg timer

15 min egg timer. Photo: Michael Rayner

15 min egg timer. Photo: Michael Rayner

It gives me a 15-minute concentration window to focus on something because I’m a bit of a fidget and I’d rather run around the house accomplishing nothing.

Smeg toaster

Pink Smeg toaster. Photo: Michael Rayner

Pink Smeg toaster. Photo: Michael Rayner

We’re dreaming of one day completing the set and getting the Smeg pink fridge and oven.

Artwork by Bek Mifsud

Framed art print. Photo: Michael Rayner

Framed art print. Photo: Michael Rayner

I met Bek when I was growing up in north-east Victoria and she became a friend. When she painted this, she was living in Alice Springs. It’s called Ellery Burning. It’s of a brush fire happening in Ellery Creek, 100 kilometres from Alice. I bought it from a show.

Book of Haikus, by Jack Kerouac

Book of Haiku by Jack Kerouac. Photo: Michael Rayner

Book of Haiku by Jack Kerouac. Photo: Michael Rayner

It was a gift. I went through the Kerouac stage in my late teens, early 20s, getting into things from the Beat ouvre. These haikus break the (structural) rules. They don’t go for long but they can convey a lot. Reading them is calming and soothing.

 

 

 

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