The Hoosiers need very little introduction.
Their debut album, The Trick To Life, is a standard in every indie rock fan’s collection. It has soundtracked everything from school discos to drunk uncle dancing at weddings, teenage awkwardness and descent into adulthood. Iconic tracks like ‘Cops and Robbers’ and ‘Worried About Ray’ still have the capacity to fill out the indie dancefloors on Tuesday nights.
“I’m sure nostalgia plays a big part.” frontman, Irwin Sparkes starts. As the band finish off a mammoth UK tour celebrating the tenth anniversary of release by playing their debut in full, these songs are enjoyed just as much today. “There’s an accessibility to them that children got, and a more adult leaning in the lyrics, that maybe gave them some longevity.” he guesses, and he’s probably right. Never has an album before had so many drum kits or hooligan hooks and tongue in cheek lyricism. “We’ve been surprised that a high number of our audience have never been to a gig but The Trick to Life was the first record they ever bought or heard and they’re only just old enough to come to gigs. It’s like our audience is getting younger, which is exciting.”
The band famously said that the trick to life is “not to get too attached to it”, and the answer still stands. “But that with experience and therapy we’re a lot better at actioning our motto than we were when under the pressure of chasing chart success.” Irwin explains.
Admitting that they approached the debut by “throwing the kitchen sink at it” and “Spending all that lovely major record label money at it. String quartets, brass, Steve Winwood’s percussionist? Throw it all in the mix.” The reaction quite simply, couldn’t have been predicted – a lesson that Irwin wishes they’d remembered when creating the follow-up. “I was 100% the most important person in my life for over 30 years, this led to taking every knock personally and lacking the context to know how insignificant my shit is in the grand scheme of life.” he confesses, laughing that he’s now only about 95% self-indulgent. Progress. After “being chewed up and spat out by the record industry,” it’s therapy that has helped him to care more for those around him, and travelling the world that has given him more perspective. “I’ve also learned how to make the music I want to hear and be utterly grateful that I get to do that… that’s when I’m not being a self-indulgent, greying cynic.”
Ten years on, The Hoosiers are tired of that rockstar cliche “of sunglasses indoors and hiding behind monosyllabic answers and asymmetric bangs,” and determined to show the other side of the record. Away from the major-key singles, the melancholic moments were dismissed and ignored, up until this tour. The tenth anniversary, and followed by a suggestion by a Twitter follower. For them, it’s been an opportunity to play the songs fresh to new crowds at a new point in their lives. “We’ve played the song before but never here, now, in front of these faces.” Somehow, I don’t think anybody quite wants to let go to the memories that The Hoosiers’ debut undoubtedly created for so many.
Words by Tanyel Gumushan