I met the The Hoosiers before their gig at the O2 Academy on Wednesday and discussed their past, their future and their true love of Newcastle.
We all bunched into the dressing room backstage of O2 Academy to meet lead-singer Irwin and drummer Al. Starting off the interview with classic questions such as "Have you been to Newcastle before?" and "How is the tour in general going?", I discovered that they really rate Newcastle for its night-time entertainment, although not in the traditional sense. They call a Friday and Saturday night in Newcastle "a safari" and explain that "you get to see some sights". Al remembered the "time we saw a man picking up his teeth" before Irwin interrupted, "No, no, it was his friend picking up his teeth for him". As you can tell, they love the Toon for its weird and wonderful ways, as much as you and I. Both of them did admit that they did not actually go into any bars, but we concluded that they basically get a free night out instead.
Moving on to speak about the tour, Irwin was humbled that it has been mostly sold out, ten years on they are still playing the album that changed their life. It has been a long time, they have lost and gained members and changed record labels, so I asked them how they have adapted. Al replied that he doesn’t think about it too much, and comments that they are still being booked for gigs, and people are still turning up - that's all that matters. Looking to The Hoosiers' future, I asked what could be expected from them in the next ten years. Al replied straight away that they have promised their fans a new album on Facebook live, so there is no going back from that.
The Hoosiers' style is an interesting mix of pop-rock and indie sounds, and I was interested to know how it originated. "Al took the lead in most of the song-writing, and we always had this idea of trying to surprise each other," Irwin says then goes on to talk about being melodically led but always looking for a lyrical twist.
I am surprised that ten years on we are still here, pop is a very ethereal beast.
It is creativity within a restricted genre such as pop that the duo are intrigued by. I asked them whether they are worried about their place in the future of the music industry, Irwin replied, "I am surprised that ten years on we are still here, pop is a very ethereal beast. I wouldn’t say worried is the right word, worried about what I’ll be doing for money in the next five years, yeah."
I mentioned the fact that a lot of teenagers are listening to grime music now, and whether they felt threatened by this emergence. Al retorted, "There can’t be a future in grime, there can’t!", with Irwin humorously responding, "You’re saying that as a fifty-year-old man!"
My final question to the band was one just for the readers of The Courier, as I asked them what music and artists they were listening to in their own time. Irwin was the first to respond, "At the moment I’ve been getting really into the back catalogues of Neil Young, The Rolling Stones, The Oldies, Tom Petty," going on to philosophize about how there is a reason that those artists are still being listened to - "It’s an education definitely." Al Shazam-ed something called the ‘Old Purple Brick House’ the other day, and Irwin praised Father John Misty, saying he is one of the best lyricists and "has the potential to be an icon".
I got the impression from my time spent with the two that they feel incredibly touched and humbled by the ongoing adoration for their music, the audiences they’ve been playing to and the demand to hear an album that was released ten years ago. It will be interesting to hear the sounds of their next album, and perhaps we will see them back at the O2 main stage sooner than expected!