Indiana band Hoops have been absolute favourites of ours ever since they unveiled their woozily infectious first foray ‘Cool 2’ back in summer 2016. After a slew of shimmering singles, they’re back again with blissed-out new cut ‘On Letting Go’, which hides beneath the same dreamy veneer of spectral vocals, hazy synths and hyper-melodic guitarwork. With the Fat Possum group about to shift up a gear with full-length debut album ‘Routines’, a record that’s drawn them comparisons to everyone from Real Estate to Ariel Pink, we chinwagged with the trio to discuss all things Hoops.
‘On Letting Go’ is great. How did the track come about?
Keagan: “Thank you, I’m glad you like it. I wrote that song originally to sound kind of like The Clientele, but wound up changing the whole thing to be much groovier and keyboard-heavy, which is what I think gives it its charm. The lyrics are about this person I met and had a crush on after hanging out with for a couple of days, but then never really saw again. I tried to write the arrangement to match that feeling; kind of whiny and lovesick but self-aware, because in retrospect the whole thing was quite petty.”
How did Hoops start out?
Kevin: “Hoops was originally our guitar player Drew’s ambient noise project, but eventually morphed into a guitar pop band as we all got older and started writing more music. We all went to college and then started doing Hoops shows on weekends and making four-track tape recordings, which was when we started to take it all a little more seriously. Eventually we got signed to Fat Possum and put out an EP, which pretty much brings us to the present. We’ve all known each since high school or earlier, so playing in this band together just seemed like the natural thing to do. We’re all on similar wavelengths when it comes to writing and recording songs, so the whole thing is a pretty amicable process.”
What inspired your name?
Kevin: “Drew used to work in a plant nursery and would water plants in these big structures called hoop houses, which are essentially big plastic tarps stretched over metal hoops.”
Who are the Top 5 biggest influences on your sound right now?
Kevin: “We’re all pretty much constantly listening to a miscellaneous spread of music which goes into the songs we write. Lately we’ve all been pretty stoked on 80s top 40 radio hits, like Sade and Michael Jackson and Tears for Fears type stuff. We love the production on those tracks and try to emulate it a little bit on our own recordings. At the same time, we listen to a lot of stuff that sounds nothing like our music and take little cues here and there from the songwriting. Like we’ve all been listening to Nick Drake pretty frequently over the last few months, and it feels like he’s crept into our lyrics and melodies a bit.”
Any other new bands that you’ve played with and would recommend?
Kevin: “We played a showcase at SXSW with Jay Som and friggin’ loved it. Would highly recommend their album ‘Everybody Works’. The same goes for Vagabon, they put on a killer show and are some of the hardest working touring musicians we’ve met.”
And finally, what does 2017 hold for Hoops?
Kevin: “Lots of touring (we’re probably coming somewhere fairly close to you, whoever is reading this) and starting work on our next album. We’ve already written some stuff for it so we’re planning on using our off time to gradually record and mix it.”