Hannah Hooper knows how to handle a New York City stage

Hannah Hooper is no stranger to playing New York City. After all, the Grouplove singer was a fixture in the city art and club scene for over ten years before her Los Angeles.-formed rock band got signed to Atlantic Records. And because of that, she has a unique perspective on playing a local show.

“Be honest and play the songs you are genuinely connected to,” is Hooper’s wisdom. “I think if you’re a phony, you will feel it in New York.”

Ahead of the band’s performance at OZY Fest in Central Park this weekend, Hooper opened up about being part of the festival’s lineup, the hardest part about recording the fourth album and the worst show of her life.


You guys are preparing to record your fourth studio album. How’s that going?

It’s pretty crazy. We have so much material. The trouble for us, right now, is narrowing it down into a cohesive 10 or 12 songs for the album.


Is too much material a good or bad thing? The live show is where bands support themselves these days.

It feels like the A.D.D. generation of hit singles. But we don’t like to think of things that way [when we record]. Honestly, our focus is still making a body of artwork.


Grouplove’s almost 10 years in. Does the road wear on you, physically and creatively?

It’s hard, but it’s the coolest job. There are some days, we’re pulling in somewhere and it’s the eighth show in a row, our voices hurt, we’re hungover or whatever. But there are worse places you can be. You could work in the White House right now [laughs].


Talk to me about OZY Fest and what it means to be part of this lineup of guests.

Honestly, we’re on tour and like, “Oh cool, we’re playing Central Park.” But then we found out Hillary Clinton was going to be there and we’re like, “What is this festival?” I’m super-curious to go there and feel out the difference.


Playing an NYC crowd can be intimidating. Have you ever felt?

I lived in New York 10 years, so that intimidation people feel when they come into the city I’ve [felt]. If you’re genuinely passionate about what you do, and it’s honest, regardless of the style, you’ll be welcome. And you’ll get people dancing. The only bad show I ever had [in New York ] was Mercury Lounge. I couldn’t hear myself and had a terrible show. I ran downstairs and cried beneath the stage, I was so embarrassed. I just had this moment, like, this is how so many people have felt in this club!