ian and i go way back. we were just kids studying together back in munich, an odd couple but somehow it worked out. maybe it's our motivation that keeps us connected-- ian always pushed me to do things i was too jaded or too cool to do and i always told him what music he should be listening to and what food he should be eating. now he's living the rockstar life in berlin with his lovely lady, lilly, working for soundcloud and playing shows to a bevy of eyelash batting german girls. he's driven, intelligent, charming, talented (ok, i'll quit jerking you off, asshole!) and was one of the first people i asked to do BIG THINGS AHEAD last year. despite the age of the answers, it's still worth reading and i think ian would agree that what he's done since filling this out is certainly on the path that he sees for himself. digging around for these old photos was a trip! dont forget to listen to a few tracks! see you soon in berlin!?
Latest tracks by Ian Hooper
Name: Ian William Hooper
Age: The ripe young age of 22…for another month
Hometown: Gig Harbor, Washington
Where are you right now? Berlin, Germany
What do you do? I am torn. During the working day, with my wingtips and tie, I play Bruce Wayne, working in the heart of Berlin…except I’m no billionaire bachelor. I am an exploited wage slave in the capitalist system. Ha, no. Well, sort of, I guess. By night, I play Batman…except instead of handing out life-lessons in justice to the city’s slum, I play music. My life is very two-sided but, luckily, I am pursuing two paths in life that are of great interest to me.
I recently finished my Fulbright in Hamburg and applied for this gig in Berlin – luckily, I got it. I am an intern with a transatlantic non-partisan organization based in Berlin. Having studied international relations, I figured this would be a solid fit for me. A month in, it has turned out to be a mixed-blessing. The organization, while well-intentioned, seems to serve as a quasi rich-man’s club and seeks to facilitate ties between the upper echelons of Germany’s and America’s private and public sectors. They do have interesting exchanges for journalists, social-studies teachers and underprivileged youth. I am essentially a glorified secretary. Nonetheless, it is pretty well-paid, it allots me the opportunity to live in one of the world’s greatest cities for my age and to learn a great deal about what it means to be at the bottom of a hierarchical organization wherein shit runs down its slippery slope to…the bottom.
Where are you going? This is a question I ask myself daily…multiple times. I would like to imagine that I am going forward. I am at a crossroads in life but am moderately comfortable with the uncertainty pertaining to my future. Right now, I am balancing options: looking into graduate programs in international business and management (seems to be a good option for me); law school (highly unlikely); trying to land a job that requires and motivates me to think and take initiative; and pursuing my aspirations to become a professional musician (which is really just an imaginary line that gets crossed once I have to start hustling gigs to eat – the hobby aspect and money on the side thing is pretty sweet for now).
The biggest question for me though is: Germany or America?
What will you be doing when you get there? I anticipate that I will be learning. Whether it is school, a job or music, I stand to learn a lot about myself in terms of what I really enjoy doing and how best to do it. No matter what I do though, I am sure I will have my hands in both music and work – best of both worlds, options are essential in life.
How did you decide to go in this direction? Considering that my direction is pretty limited, I cannot ascertain that any conscious decision has really been made. I guess the driving the factor, if you will, is the hope for a high quality of life. Regardless of what I end up doing, it is important for me to be financially stable and to be happy. Everyone’s dream, right? Well, yeah, I guess I fit the mold in that respect. So, I am guided by some force that is pushing me to succeed in whatever it is I do. Whatever direction I take, wherever I next land, I anticipate it to function as a stepping-stone – a leg up to something better.
Do you have any expectations? To be happy. To be content but never settled. I hope I always have the urge to explore. I anticipate that this will come from an amalgamation of inputs into my life’s equation: family, friends, hobbies and job.
Are you excited? Nervous? Terrified? Thrilled? Excited, definitely. I have no idea what will become of me but I do not think I will settle for a paltry end-product. I must admit, though, that nervousness and fear of failure are strong motivators for me.
What are you looking forward to? Everything, really. I am looking forward to having the opportunity to make a change – maybe not on a scale as grand as the world as a whole but hopefully in some beneficial way. I am looking forward to watching my friends grow old and living life with them. I am really looking forward to having a family and kids; I fucking love little kids.
What are you scared of? Living in a housing development in rural America, coming home from a job I hate to an unsatisfied family.
Ha, really, I am just scared of selling myself short.
What happens if it doesn’t work out? I don’t want to say, “It will” but if it doesn’t pan out the way that I have dreamed it up, I assume I will have myself to blame…or lack of contacts in today’s plutocratic world.
What is the worst thing that could happen? Not really sure: to lose a loved one, to lose the ability to enjoy life.
What is the best thing that could happen? To have a happy, healthy family. To have the ability to see my parents and my sister and my closest friends often. To be a musician. To have a job that I look forward to going to everyday. To have enough money that I do not have to worry about money anymore. To be able to soak up the culture offered by a real city but also the freedom that only nature can proffer.
Did you ever think you’d be where you are now? Yes, in part. I figured I would end up working in Germany at some point, as I am a dual citizen with Ireland and can do the EU thing without hassle. I assumed I would give the international relations idea a whirl but this isn’t proving to be what I had hoped. I never thought I would be playing gigs regularly and getting paid well for them, or that I would be recording a cd and talking to people about management.
Have you ever felt like this before? Yes, I can only characterize my sentiment since high school as confident uncertainty. I do not know where I am going but I am going to try hard to get there.
What are you leaving behind? Well, having lived in Germany for three of the past four years, it is hard asserted that I am leaving anything behind anymore. But, I really am. I go home once a year and each time it makes me more homesick. I love my parents and my little sister and, every time I leave the country, it hurts the most to fly away from them. I am leaving my friends: such a beautiful, wonderfully mixed and talented group of individuals that I know I will never be able to replace (nor would I want to). I am leaving behind a lady, which makes distance and time seem such formidable opponents. I am leaving the unparalleled natural beauty and space of the Pacific Northwest, a region of the world that has so profoundly shaped my personality and attitude toward life. I am leaving behind America: all that is familiar.
What will you miss? Everything I just wrote, including driving. I miss driving when I am in Germany…but I miss the bike-culture when I am in the states (unless I am in Portland).
What did your friends say when you told them? Most of my friends are used to me leaving by now. I still get mixed reactions though. Some still cry and tell me to stay but all are supportive of what I am doing. It gets harder every time to leave my friends. When you are one of the only ones gone far away, the fear grows that you will be forgotten.
ARE YOU READY? Do bears shit in the woods?