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She's been praised by music heavyweights like Tom Waits and Peter Gabriel, and having worked with Elbow's Guy Garvey, it's safe to say that Jesca Hoop has learned from some of the best. Originally a California girl, Hoop moved to Manchester, UK and has found her greatest successes there. In June, she released her third album (and her first since moving abroad), The House That Jack Built, the darkly textured musical arrangements and complex, personal lyrics can easily distract listeners from what's her most pop sensible album to date. Before her show at Detroit Bar in Costa Mesa, we caught up with the singer via phone in Los Angeles before her string of West Coast shows.
OC Weekly (Daniel Kohn): What was different about this album as opposed to some of your previous work?
Jesca Hoop: I had three producers on this record and all three had different ideas on where to go. They all took turns adding their input. That was the biggest difference, but another difference would be the subject of the songs. It's a heavier record with sharp, dark subject matter.
OC Weekly (Daniel Kohn): Lyrically, this seems like a very personal album and a bit different musically than what you've previously released. Did you find it more difficult and challenging to make since it was such a personal record?
Musically, I have no allegiance to any kind of genre, so I can go anywhere I want to go. As for the personal nature of it, I feel that I'm telling stories that are not about me, but about things that people are going through. In a way that we all will face death in one way or the next and the qualities that we're speaking about aren't about me, but they're about being human.
What do you find to be different about the reception you receive in the UK versus people's reaction to the material in the States?
It's easier for the UK people to find me and know that I'm there. In the U.S., there's a big, big span of land to cross and it's harder to reach the U.S. people so I'm doing what I can to reach the audience. That's the nature of the landscape in Europe and England is that it's smaller and it's a lot easier to find me.
What's it been like working with Guy Garvey? What have you learned from being around him?
He's a really lovely person. He's funny, intelligent and has a beautiful voice. He's an overall joy to be around. I admire his ability to use language well, his way with words is pretty fantastic.
Since most of your tour is in California, is it safe to say that you're a fan of the state?
Absolutely. I'm a California girl through and through, and absolutely love it here. I love the whole country too, the East Coast, the South. I love America.
What do you look forward to most when you come to Southern California that you can't get in Manchester?
Yoga. There's a particular kind of yoga in California that's more hardcore that you don't really find anywhere else.
Jesca Hoop plays Detroit Bar in Costa Mesa Thursday August 9 with Jesse Harris, Voxhaul Broadcast & The Ultimate Bearhug. Tickets are $10 and it's a 21+ show.
Daniel Kohn is a writer based in Southern California. With bylines in an assortment of outlets, Kohn primarily specializes in music with other interests ranging from sports to food. As a transplant, Kohn loves the beautiful weather and is glad he no longer has to deal with brutal winters. If you see him, say hi and of course, he’s always willing to down a beer or two…if you’re paying.