The Hoosiers headline the Gosport Festival

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After taking a breather from the industry for 18 months, The Hoosiers, an indie-pop band from Reading, are ready to jump back in with a splash.

‘When we left, the industry was all over the place, and it was taking its toll on the band, so we decided we needed a break,’ explains lead singer Irwin Sparkes.

The Hoosiers frontman Irwin Sparkes

The Hoosiers frontman Irwin Sparkes

‘We definitely want to move on stylistically, and are working on restyling our image and logo.

‘We’ve even inaugurated a fourth member into the band, which is our-long suffering keyboard player, Sam Swallow.’

The original three-piece line-up included Martin Skarendahl on bass, Alphonso ‘Al’ Sharland on drums, and Irwin on vocals and lead guitar.

Irwin and Al met at secondary school where they were encouraged by their chemistry teacher, Grant Serpell, to spend some time in the US to work on their music.

‘He was a drummer in a 1970s band called Sailor, and he told us to go out and live because you can’t write about life if you’ve not experienced it.

‘That’s the trouble with all these talent shows, because people are just keen on being famous and don’t really understand what they’re singing about.’

The Hoosiers’s debut album, The Trick to Life, dominated the charts and took the UK No1 spot in 2007.

Their singles, Worried about Ray and Goodbye Mr A, reached No5 and No4, respectively. The video for the latter, saw the band dressed as superheroes and was a smash-hit.

‘A lot of times it really helps when you’re writing to have an idea of the visuals and think, “does this tell a story”,’ says Irwin.

‘For the song Devil’s in the Detail from our last album, me and Al had this whole idea of a scientist who unwittingly wiped out humanity and left a video diary, but sadly it didn’t get made.’

Now, the band is working on their third album, and Irwin feels their decision to self-produce was the right one.

‘I’m trying to turn over a new leaf. I’m up early, and later I’ll be finishing the vocals on our third album from the comfort of my own living room in west London,’ he laughs.

‘If I’m honest, it’s been a surprisingly large amount of work doing it on our own. But, because of how it’s turned out, I know we’ve made the right choice.

‘We’ve been hankering after that live band sound, with a bit of a ’70s vibe, and a lot of our re-launch will be done via our website because that seems to be the best way to get the music out there.

‘There are also rumours of a tour. But that’s all I’m going to say on that for now.’

In the meantime, The Hoosiers will be headlining Gosport Festival tonight. Also on the bill are Mickey Finn’s T-Rex, Oliver/Dawson Saxon and John Coghlan’s Quo from tomorrow until Monday.

‘A few of our friends have said to us “ah you’re doing Gosport?”, so the name is definitely out there and we always tend to play down south because the support is so great,’ says Irwin.

‘We want to drop one or two new songs into the set, but mainly it will be a collection of songs that people remember from our previous albums – hopefully.’

Tickets: £1 on the door. For more information go to