Jacko Hooper is a singer-songwriter from Brighton who just released his latest single “Beg, Steal or Borrow” last Friday.
We are thrilled that Jacko agreed to talk to us about music and taking a trip down the memory lane.
Tell us about the journey up until the release of your latest single “Beg, Steal or Borrow”.
It’s been quite the journey so far, I started by releasing bedroom demos in my bedroom back in 2012/2013? Since then quite a lot has happened. Shows with many artists I admire and I’ve been fortunate enough to perform in different countries. I prefer to look forward though, rather than looking at what came before and I’m hoping 2020 is going to be a busy one for me.
Tell us about the inspiration behind the song
“Beg, Steal or Borrow” in essence, a love song, however a little on the extreme side of things
The song is, in essence, a love song, however a little on the extreme side of things. It’s about someone who is willing to harm themselves in order to be there for the person they love, rather than looking out for themselves too. It’s a love song but? a little more destructive than that.
What does the song mean to you?
I don’t release anything unless it means a lot to me, this song is certainly no different and marks the start of a new chapter which always has an extra bit of weight behind it.
What does your creative process look like?
I predominantly write at my rehearsal space, I do write at home too but I find it harder to switch off my surroundings and neighbours? I prefer to be in a room on my own with no distractions. Then I’ll bring it home to demo it, or perhaps complete it. Usually, the song itself is written pretty quickly, or at least the bulk of it. If I sit on a song for a few days I generally get rid of it, as soon as things become too analytical all magic of the song’s core is gone. For me, that is.
Music to me is all I’ve knownJACKO HOOPER
Do you face any challenges as an independent artist?
As many as anyone else? But the challenge is part of the journey. Those moments of victory are all the sweeter when you’ve poured everything you have into it. I think one of the challenges is to keep headstrong, stay true to yourself and believe in the project you are building. Sometimes the knocks can add up and you need to be careful to look after yourself mentally I think. I’m rather accustomed to it at this stage but it is still very difficult at time.
Do you have a song, that when you hear it, you’d say, “I wish I’d written that”?
Pffft. Too many to mention. In terms of commercial success, I’ve always listened to “Take Me To Church?” by Hozier and been blown away. The production is incredible and that chorus? I think it?s as good as it can get.
I wish I wrote “True Love Will Find You In The End” by Daniel Johnston but it’s far too pure for me to have scribed.
What is your biggest achievement to date?
Maybe the fact I’m still releasing? As I say, it can be hard. I’ve done some great shows in the past, The Brighton Centre supporting James Blunt was certainly up there. To play the biggest room in your hometown is something that not many people get to do so I’ll always cherish it.
Introducing Passenger at my night at Folklore was also special. I’ve listened to his music for a long time so to be able to do that was a great moment. Sharing the stage with Chet Faker a few times, who is one of my favourite artists.
There’s been a few, I try to remind myself this from time to time when the doom clouds descend.
We’ve heard that Brighton is overcrowded with talent. How do you manage to find your own space?
There’s an insane amount of talent in Brighton, running Folklore Sessions I know this particularly well as I book a lot of Brighton-based artists. I don’t know if you need to find your own space as such, I think it’s more important to work with and network with the array of talent we have at our disposal. It’s incredibly inspiring and can enhance your writing.
Let’s talk about “Folklore Sessions”. This week you’ve had 72nd show. Can you tell how it all started and where do you see it go next?
Folklore started as a monthly night, which is what the 72nd show refers to, it was the 72nd showcase that’s been running. It was meant to be one gig at the pub in September 2014 but I just carried it on and the night itself grew and the acts began stacking up.
We are now a promotions company in our own right and also a record label. We have a few shows coming up, the best place to see all about it is on the website.
We’re always looking for new music too, so don’t be shy.
What are your musical aspirations?
I’d like to build up to releasing an album and I’ve got some tour plans in the pipeline. I just want to be able to share music that I connect with and then hopefully others will too, I don’t plan on a Radio 1 smash hit, I just want to be truthful to my chosen art form.
When did you realise that you want to be a singer-songwriter?
Probably around 11 or 12? That’s when I started writing. I knew that I was going to do music from that point, I never intended to go to university or go the “standard” route. It never even seemed an option.
What needs to happen for you to say “I finally made it in music”?
I think to be able to tour around Europe, to know I could turn up in a town and a couple of hundred people are there to listen. That’s the dream I think.
Do you remember the day when you hit 2 million streams on Spotify? What did it feel like?
Spotify is weird. It was a good feeling, for sure, but I do think people pin too much on Spotify. With regards to streams etc? I’ve seen artists pull their hair out and go mad over the number of streams they currently don’t have and I’ve certainly done it myself.
It was definitely a good feeling but I try not to focus on it too much. Write the music, release the music, the numbers will follow or they won’t.
Recently you looked into the lineup of one of the festivals and openly showed that there is not enough female talent. What inspired you to do that as we all know that it is a relatively delicate subject?
I just thought it was completely indefensible. There are so many incredible female musicians to get a higher percentage of them booked for festivals. Why is this even something we’re still talking about? Utterly bizarre.
Who would you like to collaborate with in the future?
I’d love to perform live with Glen Hansard, that’s the ultimate right there.
What you got planned for 2020?
My plan this year is to release as much new music as I can. I’ll also be releasing Folklore Vol.2 with a whole array of really talented acts who will be part of the release, so that’s exciting for sure. As I said previously, I’m also working on some tour plans so let’s see how we get on.