As a four-piece out of Bloomington, Indiana, Hoops warrants no comparison to their peers. Tags like slacker and dream pop come to mind but nothing completely fits Hoops, and that's part of what makes them special. They write pop songs that are a little fuzzy, a little weird, and very dreamy – have you heard "Underwater Theme" from their EP, Tape #3?
Hoops has a touch that promises to only become brighter and crisper with time, which is why MP feels they're destined to make some very memorable music in the coming years. Check out our conversation below with front man Drew Auscherman.
MP: What's the story behind the name, Hoops? How much do you love cross overs and dunks, and who's your favorite team?
DA: A while back when I was in high school I worked at a plant nursery. My job was just to water plants for like 8 hours a day. I would spend the majority of the day in these things called the hoop houses. We called them the hoops for short. When I was working there is when I started making the ambient music I used to do. Hoops just seemed like a fitting name for the music I was making at the time. It was nice being around beautiful plants all day! Also I would have to say that I am an Indiana Pacers fan at heart and dunks are crucial.
MP: When's the last time you played basketball?
DA: I honestly can't remember the last time I played basketball.
MP: K, well then play some pick up games on tour.
MP: Name a song from each decade (60s,70s,80s) that's heavily influenced the way Hoops makes music. You can throw the 90s in as well, if you feel like it.
DA: Ok so from the 70s I would definitely have to say that Peg by Steely Dan has to be one of our favorites. It's just perfectly written pop! Not mention it has my favorite guitar solo of all time.
For the 80s I'll go with Bonny by Prefab Sprout. Another prime example of a perfect pop song. The song is very bouncy and fun but at the same time Paddy's vocals and lyrics make it a very emotionally draining cut.
Finally, one my biggest influences comes from the 90s. We Could Walk Together by The Clientele needs to be on this list!! I had been into lofi music for a while before I got into them. I really like Guided By Voices because I think they showed that the strength of a song could overshadow the production. But The Clientele, especially their first record, showed me that if you push the limits of a 4track you can make some really beautiful music that has a pretty unique vibe because no one really records their own music the exact same way as anyone else. We Could Walk Together has everything I love about a song, beautiful chords and guitar leads mixed with a little bit of tape murk. It is also short and to the point which I think is essential to a lot of great pop. I guess that is the reason I love Guided By Voices so much.
MP: How do you feel about people using tags like blue-eyed soul and blue wave to describe music? How would you describe your style?
DA: Blue Eyed soul is a pretty funny term but also pretty accurate. There is so much trash but there are a few gems in there. See --> I Keep Forgetting by Michael McDonald and Lowdown by Bozz Scaggs. Both of those songs also have Jeff Porcaro on drums, one of my all time favorite drummers. I definitely take a lot of influence from that kind of stuff but would describe hoops as pop.
MP: Those songs are pretty funky. I usually think of someone like the Everly Brothers when I think of blue eyed soul, but I like where your head's at.
MP: Which bands currently making music do you take inspiration from?
DA: My absolute favorite band going right now has to be Tops. They have inspired me more than any other band has in the past few years. They are all really proficient musicians but not too flashy and I think that comes through on their records. They also kill it live which rules. Looking forward to their next record.
MP: What comes first when Hoops writes a song: vocals or instrumentation?
DA: Instrumentation always comes first for us when we write songs.
MP: Which of your songs is closest to your heart and why?
DA: Hmm my favorite hoops song at the moment is "All My Life" which is off our 3rd tape. I think I like that one because it was like the longest amount of time I spent working on a song. Usually I will just do a whole song in one day but that one took me a few weeks. I had to learn the chords I wanted to use and then just spent a lot of time getting all of the parts to fit together. I also had a blast recording the drums for that one. I also appropriated some guitar harmonies that I used in my other band Gum which worked out better than I expected.
MP: How do you hope your music makes people feel?
DA: I just hope our music makes people feel happy and maybe want to dance a little bit.
MP: How did you go about finding the right label to release your music, and what makes Fat Possum a good fit for Hoops?
DA: When Hoops was approached by Fat Possum we were all immediately stoked. They have put out some records in the past that are very dear to our hearts! Like Yuck's first record and UMO's first record.
MP: What juicy details can you give us about your debut release with Fat Possum and your upcoming tour with Whitney and Twin Peaks?
DA: We are pretty excited to be putting out these songs. It is weird because they are pretty old songs but over the past few months we have rewritten parts to kind of update them to match how we sound now as opposed to how they sounded a year or two ago when they were written. Also the boys and I are pretty stoked to go out on the road w/whitney and twin peaks. It will be nice to give recording a rest for a while and just go out on the road. They also both have records coming out that I am looking forward to hearing.
Check out Hoops' tour dates below & order a tape at email@example.com
5/30 Detroit, MI @ El Club w/ Whitney
5/31 Lakewood, OH @ Mahall’s Locker Room w/ Whitney
6/01 Albany, NY @ The Hollow w/ Whitney
6/03 Brooklyn, NY @ Baby’s All Right w/ Whitney & EZTV
6/04 Brooklyn, NY @ Market Hotel w/ Whitney & EZTV
6/06 Indianapolis, IN @ Joyful Noise w/ Twin Peaks & NE-HI
6/07 St Louis, MO @ Firebird w/ Twin Peaks & NE-HI
6/27 Cincinnati, OH @ The Comet
6/28 Nashville, TN @ Soft Junk
6/29 Athens, GA - The Rooftop at Georgia Theatre + 6/30 Atlanta, GA @ 529
7/01 Oxford, MS @ The Dude Ranch
7/02 Memphis, TN @ Hi-Tone Cafe
7/03 Columbia, MO @ Cafe Berlin
7/05 Madison, WI @ The Frequency
7/09 Columbus, OH @ 4th & 4th Festival
7/18 Chicago, IL @ The Empty Bottle