For a band almost called “Lukewarm and The Conflicting Opinions”, The Hoosiers, who hail from Reading in England, have come a long way and had quite the musical escapade. After many incarnations, they currently consist of original members Irwin Sparkes (guitar and vocals) and Al Sharland (drums).
Irwin Sparkes, Al Sharland
Well known for their infectious, eclectic, and catchy tunes, their first two singles, "Worried About Ray" and "Goodbye Mr. A," peaked at number five and number four, respectively, on the U.K. charts, and their debut album The Trick to Life topped the charts upon its release back in October 2007. The album eventually went double-platinum in the U.K. Their second album, The Illusion Of Safety was released in 2010, followed by their third album, The News From Nowhere in 2014, and their fourth album The Secret Service was released in 2015, and preceded by EPs, The Wheels Fell Off and Up To No Good.
Goodbye Mr A : Courtesy : The Hoosiers
What better way to catch up with the band, than pinning down lead vocalist Irwin Sparkes for a chat …. !
Hello Irwin, so...I recently, saw this quote:
" The Hoosiers have a super-charged barrel of sugar rushes here that are dangerously immediate and difficult to ignore, sweet tooth or no sweet tooth. " --James Berry
I thought brilliant!
Irwin Sparkes : I'll take that!! ... must remember to thank JB ...
What are your musical influences -? (I picked up hints of The Cure's classic (Lovecats) & Scissors Sisters (Mary....).... )
Irwin : Scissor Sisters were out too near us to be a big influence, but there's something shared there, for sure!
For the debut album it was all Supertramp, ELO, Cure, Nick Drake, then we discovered Flaming Lips and it's now constantly evolving, as it should! We both agree on Tame Impala, Neil Young, but I've yet to convert Al to Bruce Springsteen.
Do you write with other artists? Producers?
Irwin : Depends who's asking! I do some co-writing but as time is sparse try and limit it to certain acts. Just written with Liam Bailey who has about the most emotive voice going.
I have tried to untangle "Rules" - which for me is an absolute favorite Hoosiers stand out track - (alongside Goodbye Mr A)
Rules : Courtesy The Hoosiers
Do you realise the whole song sums up the Trump Presidency!
"(Sense never seemed to make sense to me)......One man's fact's another's trick of the mind"
How did it come about? What album is it from?
Irwin: Nice choice! How sweet of you. It's a track that narrowly missed out being on our debut from 2007. It was my attempt at a single. The overblown address of the state of the world with a quote from the book of Ecclesiastes stolen for good measure. It's now bold cos I had to copy and paste ecclesiastes, so that's my cover blown!
I believe you recently went on tour - did you enjoy it and will you be on tour again. Any highlights?
Irwin: We loved it. One of the best tours we've ever been on. The line-up is a lot of fun to be with on and off stage and that helps a lot. Crew were part of the family. We're tight. Also, people came to see us play music! Preeeeetty cool, if you ask me.
We're starting work on new music so will see what chances to tour that brings.
You guys are known to support up and coming bands - giving them a chance to shine! Which artists did you look up to/or who personally has inspired you, even helped you along the way?
Irwin : I'd say the sense of theatricality, perfectly in keeping with the music, of Flaming Lips was a big inspiration for us, especially live. Though our budget was a little tighter and they've really mastered their art whilst we still feel like we're starting out!
Toby Smith, originally from Jamiroquai, was the greatest mentor we could have hoped for. He beat us into shape and we owe our careers to him. Sadly, he passed away earlier this year. This one's going out to Toby.
Any new music in the pipeline? Do we have a new album to look forward to?
Irwin: It's on its way ... as soon as we finish writing it. We've got plans to try some gigs with a difference next year as well as shake up our sound and production next year. This space? ....Watch it, won't you please??
Best piece of advice you have been given ?
Never stop writing.
Up To No Good : Courtesy The Hoosiers
The Trick to Life (10th Anniversary Edition) is currently on general release
In Loving Memory of Toby Smith
29 October 1970 – 11 April 2017