Killing Heidi has called their third studio album - KILLING HEIDI. According to 21-year-old front woman Ella Hooper, the band's new mandate to "keep things simple" has not only provided new found unity amongst its members and a heightened sense of musical clarity, but has them experiencing the pinnacle of career confidence. "More than ever before, this record is about us just being ourselves". It's no secret that Killing Heidi have faced their fair share of challenges over the last couple of years. In the middle of recording their previous album PRESENT (the highly-anticipated follow-up to the multi platinum REFLECTOR) Ella Hooper was forced to undergo major throat surgery, delaying delivery of the album by over 6 months. Consequently, the album KILLING HEIDI is a tell-it-like-is, pop/rock record that reflects the bands new outlook.
Take the track CALM DOWN. "It's about a big ass crush", says Hooper. Musically, the track epitomizes the band's crunchier, more stripped back approach to rocking out but still manages to pulsate with immediate pop melody. While Killing Heidi's past hits were styled on mild tempo pop verses blasting into a riff driven rock chorus, CALM DOWN is a more relentless, integrated track which drives at the same speed from start to finish, as if the instrumentation is holding the energy of Hooper's head reeling infatuation from swirling out of control. Vocally, Hooper swings from sexually charged to ruthlessly empowered on the stand out track NOT FOR ME. "I didn't want to be afraid to just tell it like it is on this album", she says. With snarling lyrics like "Said I'd be nothing without you, now I see it was all just about you, never be what you wanted me to be, now I see that you're nothing without me", you know she ain't lying. The throbbing, menacing drum beat sends out a clear signal that if Killing Heidi has just fought a war - they have won it.
The band's self-titled album was produced in LA with John Travis at the helm (Kid Rock, Sugar Ray). Hooper describes the LA based English/Indian producer as "a bloody brilliant guy to work with". "John guided us well but also really listened to our ideas and encouraged our feedback. We were more of a part of this album than anything we have done before". Hooper also acknowledges that the band grew in confidence as musicians as a result of the more collaborative recording process.
Hooper also admits she has never been prouder of an album performance vocally. "I was having a really shitty time with my voice and because of the operation I couldn't get it where I wanted it on the last album", she says. After rehabilitating with a voice coach in LA for several months, she is now hitting the highest notes of her career. "There's this one note in WAY HOME which I could never dreamed of hitting a year ago". Hooper's thoroughly grown up vocal performance also gives truly radio destined tracks like RUNNING UNDER WATER an edge and grit that will no doubt cement her status as Australia's sassiest rock chick. Whereas on breezy, summer tracks like SUMMER LONG she proves she can be as hopelessly romantic and little girl lost, as the barely 21-year-old girl it is easy to forget she still is.