The nucleus of Killing Heidi was singer/songwriter Ella Hooper and her older brother, guitarist Jesse Hooper. They grew up in Violet Town, a small Victorian country town, with a population of approximately 2,000 where their parents worked as music and drama teachers.
They started jamming together at home; Ella singing while Jesse played the guitar. They played an acoustic gig together at the Violet Town Arts Festival in 1996, when Ella was 13 years old. Bent Records label owner and local record studio owner, Jamie Durrant, offered them some time in a studio with a couple of schoolmates as the rhythm section. They submitted these recordings into the Triple J Unearthed competition in 1996 and the track “Kettle” won the competition for their area of rural Victoria. “Kettle” was written by Ella Hooper; Brian Walton and Jessie Hooper added some guitar parts later.
The name “Killing Heidi” came from the band members generating two lists before their first gig; one filled with “soft” words, one with “harsh” words. Killing was chosen as the harsh, Heidi the soft. According to the band, the name basically means “the end of innocence”.
Producer Paul Kosky who had worked with Crowded House, Rage Against the Machine, Kate Ceberano, and The Clouds was looking for a band to manage and sign to his new recording label Wah Wah Music. He decided to check out a very basic live performance by Killing Heidi. He developed the band from the ground up for the next two years working on songwriting, song structure and overall direction of the music. He became the manager of the band and arranged a contract with Roadshow Music (who had a contract with Savage Garden) for his label, Killing Heidi had also acquired a new rhythm section (which Kosky sourced and introduced to Killing Heidi) with Adam Pedretti (ex-Non-Intentional Lifeform) on drums and Warren Jenkin on bass. They recorded the rest of the first album in 1998.
Killing Heidi’s first single “Weir” was released in August 1999 and reached #6 on the ARIA charts (and Platinum sales) by the end of 1999. The second single “Mascara”, about self-image and individuality, was released in December 1999 and reached the top of the Australian charts on January 30th 2000, which was Ella’s 17th birthday. - it stayed at #1 for three weeks, also achieving Platinum status.
The band’s debut album Reflector was released in early 2000 and debuted at #1, quickly becoming the fastest-selling album in Australian music history. The album spent seven weeks at #1 on the ARIA charts, and spawned two further singles: “Live Without It” and “Superman Supergirl”.
Reflector eventually sold over 350,000 albums in Australia, earning 5x platinum status and Killing Heidi won four ARIA Music Awards in October 2000.
The band’s momentum halted when a cyst was found on Hooper’s vocal cords and she underwent an operation in 2001. Her voice was slow to recover, which “destroyed any confidence [Ella Hooper] had in her voice.”
The band recorded its second album Present, despite Hooper’s continuing problems with her vocal cords. This album was not as successful as its predecessor, selling only 50,000 copies and failing to make the top ten of the Australian album charts. It spawned two singles - “Heavensent” which reached the top 30 in early 2002 and “Outside Of Me” which reached a peak of #12 later in 2002; a third song from the album, “Ammyl”, was released to radio in 2003 but was never released as a commercial single.
In 2002 manager Paul Kosky and the band split in an ending characterized as “acrimonious”; the split “almost spelt the end” for the band, and left Kosky feeling that he was the scapegoat blamed for the problems with the second album.
Chris Robinson bought out Kosky’s share of their partnership and became the band’s new manager.
In late 2003, the band spent three months in Los Angeles recording their next album.
The first single from the band’s third album was “I Am”, released on July 12, 2004. Debuting at #16 on the Australian singles charts, it spent three months in the Top 50 charts and reached Gold sales. It also features on the Australian version of the Spider-Man 2 soundtrack.
In late August 2004, Killing Heidi released their third studio album. Self-titled as Killing Heidi, the album featured a less styled and more sonically expressive sound. It debuted at #7 on the charts, again only reaching gold and then fell out of the charts relatively quickly.
In September 2004, the second single from the album, “Calm Down” was released, peaking at #23. Early 2005 saw a third song from the album, “Running Underwater” released to radio, but like “Ammyl” in 2003, it was not released as a commercial single and received very little radio airplay. Later in 2005, Killing Heidi left Sony BMG.
In mid-2006, rumours began to surface in the media of the possibility of Killing Heidi breaking up. The reports continued for several weeks, with articles in some magazines and newspapers claiming the band had already split. The band clarified the situation in a blog entry on their MySpace page:
“oh the waiting… oh the waiting… ok, hi everyone. Here is the news: We are taking a break from killing heidi for a while but do not see this as a break up! It is us needing to try something else for a little while cos its all we’ve done for 9 years now. Killing Heidi will be playing some shows in the next 6 months so if you really want to you can get to these shows. I will post the dates as they are confirmed. Ella and Jesse are working on a new as yet unnamed project and will be playing in vic and nsw trying out new material and playing a few oldies too. Pedro is rocking with the very loud and very talented “Monster Truck Extravaganza” (see our top friends for a link to their myspace) so check them out when they start doing shows soon. Hopefully you guys will like what we all get up to over the next little while!!! There have been requests to change the new traks to downloads so i will look into that too!!! Thanks everyone for your continued support, we love playing for you guys and look forward to seeing on the road again soon!!!”
Ella Hooper, after spending time with Jesse in The Verses, is now a solo artist.
Edited by Nobodylikesyou on 22 May 2013, 05:00
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