Nellee Hooper

For me, Nellee Hooper is very much about me coming to London and he would be very sociable. He is like this big daddy - a host character who would introduce me to tons of people. He has a real talent to see what’s inside a person and he would set up things to surprise me. For example, when we were working on this island, in the evening, he would blindfold me and put me in the car and take me to this beach and he would have set up a little DAT recording system with a microphone with a very, very long lead and I would have some headphones, so I would record vocals whilst running along in the sand. So he would be very fearless in sussing out what was inside of me and dying to get out. He would set up these situations where I had to do things that were quite scary, but I had to do it. I wrote this one song called Cover Me, which was about entering the unknown. Nellee would do this same thing, blindfold me and take me off in the car and put me into this cave, which was underground and full of bats. It was completely black inside so that I couldn’t even see the ground - sometimes it was just like canyons and stuff, and I would do the vocal whilst I was walking inside the cave and I would be just about to fall over - you can even hear the sounds of bats. So, it was with stuff like this that Nellee pushed me into areas that he knew I wanted to go into, but I didn’t have the guts or the confidence to go there. He would create a nest for me, a cradle, with a lot of confidence to work in. It was with him, for example, that I learnt to work with a programmer. He had his own studio with his own programmer, and I would come and do stuff with them and everything was taken care of. So I learnt a lot of stuff from him, like how to behave in a London studio, how to communicate with the engineer and how to communicate with the programmer. Again, very paternal, although very different to Graham Massey. As Graham Massey had very similar musical tastes to me, but Nellee had completely different tastes. So Graham Massey was very supportive of me in a purely musical sense, where Nellee Hooper was very supportive in helping me to deal with the world, the studio, my sense and longing for adventure - so more how to act and operate as a musician, rather than musical direction, which Graham has probably been more helpful with.

David Toop Interview, 2002