Brownstock 2015: Interview with The Hoosiers

Photos by Bill Ahmed

[Shelby Loasby | Head of Print]

One of the biggest bands of our generation put on a spectacle at Brownstock Festival last weekend – the Hoosiers. Their energetic, highly entertaining and flawless performance, took us on a journey through their discography and reminded us of their unique and nostalgic sound.

The boys rocked out to hits, ‘Cops and Robbers’ and ‘Worried about Ray’ before moving on to their latest album, The News from Nowhere, with ‘Fidget Brain’ and ‘Handsome girls and pretty boys.’


Before being mesmerised by their talent, however, Trident Media were lucky enough to catch up with the boys backstage and got to know a bit more about the stars behind ‘Goodbye Mr. A.’

Who are the Hoosiers and what does it mean?

If you’ve been living under a rock and don’t know who the boys are, there’s; Irwin Sparkes – singer and lead guitar, Alan ‘Alphonso’ Sharland – drums, Sam Swallow – Keyboard, and Martin Skarendahl – Bass guitar.

The band have produced three killer albums, re-released one with a different name, and have just announced their fourth studio album, The Secret Service, which will be released on 9th October.

The name originates from Irwin and Alan’s visit to the USofA, and is actually a colloquial term for an Indiana citizen. The boys went out to Indiana on a soccer scholarship for a year, and when they returned to the UK, they started looking at band names.

“We wanted to have a connection to our time in the US somehow,.” said Alan, “and the Hoosiers worked!”


What did they get up to at university in Indiana?

Like most university experiences, Irwin and Alan had a few funny stories to share.

“We were petty thieves!” said Irwin. “We were petty larceny criminals.”

Alan laughed but said, “It’s not funny though, it’s naughty. I think being in a different country, there was a certain element of thinking we could get away with things.”

The boys described one incriminating, drunken night; “We stole eggs and bacon, and then went back to someone’s house and things went out of hand,” said Irwin. “Before you know it, it was a full on food fight with stolen eggs being thrown at people’s faces.”

We then explained to the band that ‘Goodbye Mr. A’ and ‘Worried about Ray’ were anthems for most of our generation at university, and asked if they had one back in their day:

Irwin: Living on Prayer! Alan: Yeah definately! Irwin: Don’t get me wrong, we’re not that old! Alan: Yeah back in the 70s Irwin: It had been out for about six months at this point! Trident Media: It is a tune! Irwin: It is isn’t it. And ‘Teenage Dirtbag.’ That is a tune! TM: Yes! Wheatus came to our uni and they played every song and left ‘Teenage Dirtbag’ to the end. Irwin: Eurgh who does that?! TM: Everyone said “Come on! Play your only song!” Alan: Yeah otherwise people leave. We’ve witnessed this! Irwin: Yeah we will tell you! We stick up for Wheatus!

(Read our Interview with Wheatus here!)


What is the inspiration for their music?

Each Hoosiers’ album has a different sound and feel, with different ideas and inspirations coming to the table from each member. Alan described the change in sound as a “natural change as you go through retirement.”

He added, “We’ve never had like a specific genre where we get our hair cut like mods and play the same thing all the time. It’s part of our personality, keeps ourselves on our toes.”

Sam shed light on the songwriting process and how their music comes together. “There’s not just one writer. Everyone’s getting into different stuff and there’s always different influences coming in.”

The band also try to steer away from the generic ‘boy loves girl,’ lyrics: “We tend to try and make something that doesn’t feel like it’s just been rehashing an old idea about love or the same view,” said Irwin.

“There’s nothing you can say that hasn’t been said, but it’s saying it from your point of view or finding a slight twist on it.” He added, “That’s something that draws us to it.”

Whilst the Hoosiers enjoy working with a plethora of influences and create different albums, Alan explained: “There’s still always a consistency going through all the records so it is the same band.”

“Yeah, it’s in the writing,” said Irwin.


Flying the Record Label nest

In 2011 The Hoosiers left SONY RCA after a marketing dispute, and set out on their own. Obviously leaving a Major record label it wasn’t going to be easy for the band, but when they announced their third album, The News from Nowhere, in 2013, they admitted to fans;

“We’re not a big record label with lots of money, though, so need to pay for the recording, manufacturing, adverts, videos, touring, promotion – all the stuff a label usually does – ourselves.”

The boys are now calling on fans to help them to keep producing music and have promised to repay them in the form of more songs, pre-order bundles and merchandise chosen by the fans themselves.

The split from the label doesn’t appear to have left any hard feelings either.

TM: So you left SONY in 2011… Irwin: Yeah left them in tears! SONY if you’re listening let’s do coffee sometime Alan: They were sleeping around Irwin: Snapping up all these other young acts Alan: Handsome boys like The Script. So we left them Irwin: It was us or them

When we asked if they were planning to sign with anyone else, Irwin sparked up:

“We are strong independent women, who don’t need no label!”

“That said, if there’s anyone out there who wants us…” joked Alan.

New Music out now!

Despite their biggest success being back in 2007 with their first album The Trick to Life reaching number 1 in the UK album charts, the Hoosiers have been hard at work producing a discography of entertaining and inspiring songs, and are eager to get back on Tour.

On 17th July, the band were proud to announce their fourth studio album; The Secret Service. They also released a surprise free track, ‘The Wheels Fell Off,’ available to listen now on their website!

The band also announced that they will be releasing two EPs, leading up to the album, so fans had some music to sink their teeth into. The EPs will each have two brand new tracks from the upcoming album, two live tracks from the 2014 tour, and one live acoustic recording from 2014.

To find out more about pre-ordering the album, go to their website;

Whilst you’re there, check out their Hoos News page and spot Trident Media’s coverage of their performance at Brownstock Festival.

@TridentMediaUK We’ve posted your News From Somewhere… #hoosnews — The Hoosiers (@thehoosiersuk) July 12, 2015

Don’t forget to read our Quick-Fire round below, of mundane yet awesome questions and find out some more intimate info about your favourite Hoosier.

Quick-Fire round

Trident Media: Cats or Dogs? Irwin: Cats

TM: Winter or Summer? Alan: Summer

TM: Night in or out? All: In

TM: Steak or Sushi? Irwin: Sushi Alan: Steak! What Irwin?!

TM: Electric or Acoustic? Irwin and Sam: Electric Alan: Acoustic

TM: Boobs or Bum? All: Boobs

TM: Hot or Cold? Irwin: Hot!

TM: Blonde or Brunette? Sam: Brunette Irwin: Bluenette?

TM: ‘Everlong’, Foo Fighters, or ‘Call Me Maybe’, Carly Rae Jepsen? Irwin: Everlong. I do adore that song. But actually ‘Call Me Maybe’ – oo that’s – that is maybe the hardest question of the lot!

TM: One more – Ben Stiller or Adam Sandler? Alan: Ben Stiller Irwin: I’d have to say Adam Stiller Alan: He’s Ben Stiller’s ugly runt!

What would you ask the Hoosiers? Let us know @TridentMediaUK and we might be able to get some answers!

#Band #music #TheHoosiers #Brownstock #Festival

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