It's called 'being a teenager'. And, for many Australians, Killing Heidi provided the soundtrack to that strange neverland between childhood and the adult world.
"I didn't want to end up making the musical version of mutton dressed as lamb.”
Listening to their music again – after all these years – dunks your head back into long-forgotten memories. For lead singer Ella Hooper, who was only 13 when the band started, the experience is even more visceral. "It’s definitely a time capsule for my teenage years. In a very intimate, real, personal way.
"That’s what I like most about it. It connects me to a time when we all shared that teenage, Australian, high school, semi outsider, moment of pure awkwardness."
The first notes of that moment for Ella rang out a touch over 20 years ago. That's a lot of time in between and a lot of growing up. As adults, the brother-sister duo (Ella and Jesse) were unsure if they'd be able to capture the essence of what Killing Heidi was, while still being true to their grown-up selves.
"I didn't want to end up making the musical version of mutton dressed as lamb, trying to be this angsty, 15-year old. But musically, that's what the songs want. They demand a certain amount of energy and angst."
In an interview a few years ago, Ella said she could never revisit the Killing Heidi days on stage as it wouldn't feel natural singing such youthful songs.
Recalling this moment, Ella has a laugh at her own expense. "I am a sucker for saying 'no, no, never, never, oh maybe, ok yep!'. I'm learning to swap that out for 'never say never' because otherwise I just end up going back on my word."
The initial comeback was meant to last one show as Ella felt she could manage the weirdness for one night, but then something surprising happened. "It didn't feel weird. It's definitely still angsty in parts.
“But I have so much more control now. I haven't really stopped singing since the whole thing exploded 20 years ago, so with all that experience I can bring a lot more texture and richness to it."
While their adult-selves are definitely honing the stage show, Ella says fans will still get a good hit of the Killing Heidi they remember and love. "We're not making it country-folk-adult contemporary," she laughs. "We're just bringing more experience to it.
“I think the main reason this is feeling so natural is because I'm far enough removed from it being my full-time identity. Now that I've had time to redefine myself, I can go and put it on like it's a favourite old outfit."
It's not just her ephemeral past-self Ella will be stepping into. Costumes are a big part of the Killing Heidi cosmos. "I am getting some pretty bad-ass stuff made for the tour. I feel like it helps me take on that role and that character."
Anyone who remembers Killing Heidi will remember Ella's iconic jumpsuits. "Everyone called it the superhero look. And it kinda did make me feel strong."
While she still loves the jumpsuits, Ella says she definitely remembers some cringe-worthy moments from the early days. "We're kind of cherry picking the parts we did like. It's a great opportunity to redefine our youth and create the super show we always wanted."
Killing Heidi DatesFri 2 Jun - The Astor Theatre (Perth)
Sat 3 Jun - The Gov (Adelaide)
Thu 8 Jun - The Metro Theatre (Sydney)
Fri 9 Jun - 170 Russell (Melbourne)
Sat 10 Jun - The Tivoli Theatre (Brisbane)