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  • Matt Codd

"To return to writing three-minute pop songs was pure joy": The Hoosiers On Their Confident Return

The 2020s seems to be a decade for nostalgia already when it comes to music. Just recently we have seen an unexpected reunion for noughties icons NSYNC in the US, but closer to home there has been renewed successes for bands like Busted, Blur and S Club 7 to name a few. Adding to that list is a welcome return for British indie pop icons The Hoosiers, a truly formative band for me. With an exceptionally fun new album, Confidence, their first in 5 years, and a UK tour coming to the Steel City this week, we wanted to catch up with the duo to see what can be expected from this new era for the band.

Thank you for taking the time to chat to us! Congratulations on the new album, how does it feel to be putting new music into the world after such a long time?

Roughly akin to the plot of California Man starring Brendan Fraser. The world has a-changed! We felt it incumbent upon us to make this album in the peak of lock-down as the climate was dire and via a nudge from the man who signed us to Sony - Craig Logan - led us to remember what the band does and does well: be a positive force and provide a spring in the step of all the ears who hear us.

The album is called Confidence of course, what's the story behind that and how you settled on that as the name and theme?

In distilling where we were at with the band and how we felt about it and this new batch of unapologetically upbeat songs, it couldn't be called anything else. Well, it could, but I'm shutting the door on that train of insomnia-inducing thought.

Having listened to the album it sounds really, well, confident. Did you feel the process of crafting the album helped you find that swagger again?

We were as surprised as anyone in the ease we found making this record. We can't say that about the other records. Best use of a loan we could think of. It's taken us, on average, 2.5 - 3 years to write and record an album. This took less than 6 months. The whole process was a joy. I'm still a bit weirded out by it.

Obviously, this is your first album and new music since 2015, can you tell us about how the break has developed or changed things for you?

The process of making albums has shown us you are not guaranteed to get out what you put in. We ran out of steam after our self-released fourth album. We had families and tried other avenues (co-writing, writing & acting in a comedy-musical based on our experiences in the music industry which we took to the Edinburgh Fringe). I'd just released my first solo record, which was everything the Hoosiers isn't: melancholy and (largely) a solo undertaking. To return to writing three-minute pop songs was pure joy.

For me ‘Idaho’ and ‘Making a Monster’ are standouts, but the entire album is fantastic. But do you have any particular favourites from the album?

Thanks! I'm just delighted to hear you have some. ‘Things You Remember When You're Falling’ is a blast for me. I had a lot of fun with the lyrics.

How much does it mean to still hear how beloved your early songs are? And do you think that early success has informed the band going forward?

I think we initially rebelled against what made us popular as we wanted to be lots of different things. This new confidence Al and I have found is about being older and embracing who we are; within its limitations we're finding a freedom we risked over-looking. We embrace (sometimes physically) each wondrous person who turns up and sings our songs back to us. It's one of life's joys for a band.

You seem to have really embraced TikTok as an outlet, can you tell us how that helps or doesn't help you as a band?

We knew it wasn't going anywhere but the challenge was to find our tone and still be true to how we are. "How we are" is quite silly, so that was easy. It helps being in a band with a best mate. A lot of trends are equally silly so it's fun to play around with them and subvert them as to our whims! Some people have only discovered us through our TikTok, so we have to show them we also play music. What a curious age. It always strikes me that every Tok we Tik is another hour we're not writing songs, but I can't see social media going anywhere.

As a Sheffield Magazine we must ask, do you have any standout moments from playing Sheffield in the past?

Tramlines 2010. Boom.

And how familiar are you with the Sheffield music scene and the iconic venue (for us) that you'll be playing in The Leadmill?

Every city should have one! The name is legend, passed down from band member to band member as we pass each other at the service station, reaching for a Ginsters. Seriously, it should be protected.

Finally, a lot of people will know the smash hits from your first album, but what can we expect from the confidence tour and this new era?

A band who love their job. We believe in what we do, and we want to make everyone feel as good listening to our music as we do making it. This is the best album we've made, and I really mean that.

The Hoosiers will be bringing the Confidence tour to The Leadmill on Saturday 30th September, tickets are still available here and you can stream their new album Confidence in full here.


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