The Bloomington, Indiana based band Hoops started as an ambient solo project for Drew Auscherman during the time he was working at a plant nursery in high school. His job was to water plants – and for a majority of the day, he’d spend time in things called hoop houses, hoops for short. The name seemed to be fitting for the type of music he was creating. During the summer of 2014, he rounded up the rest of the lineup which includes Kevin Krauter, Keagan Beresford and James Harris. The group self-released three tapes, all of which are included in ‘Tape #3’ – and last August, they released their self-titled EP via Fat Possum. Their debut album, ‘Routines,’ will be released on 5th May.
Heather Hawke: Let’s start from the beginning. What was childhood like for you?
Kevin Krauter: We grew up in Indianapolis, Indiana. All of us were lucky enough to grow up with supportive families who encouraged us to pursue our creative interests at an early age. That definitely played into the way things turned out, and they’re all still very supportive of what we’re doing.
HH: What about your education into music?
Keagan Beresford: I started teaching myself to play guitar and the other band instruments at a fairly young age, which is probably true for all of us in one way or another. Aside from that, I did symphonic band and jazz and all that in school, which gave me a little more insight into the way music works at large.
HH: Describe your path to becoming involved with music. What's your very first earliest musical memory?
Kevin: I grew up in a very musical family. I have six siblings, and we all did choir and/or community theatre when we were younger. Around this same time, my older brother was showing me songs he had downloaded on LimeWire or CDs he had rented from the library. My parents got me a drum set when I was ten – and from that point on, playing music was basically the only thing I cared about.
HH: At what point did you progress from merely enjoying music to thinking more about being a musician?
Keagan: Pretty early on, I would listen to music that got me super stoked and wanted more and more to do it for myself. Initially, that translated into starting cover bands and ripping off other people’s music, and after so many years became what we’re doing today.
"It starts with a little idea and then I sit down and demo it out. For me, songs usually start with a chord progression I’ve been thinking about." – Kevin Krauter
HH: What's the biggest hardship that's helped inspire your writing?
Kevin: I don’t think any of us would claim to have endured any serious hardships in our lives aside from interpersonal, relationship-oriented stuff. We all come from relatively privileged backgrounds, which is something we try to keep in mind when we’re writing. If any of us wrote about enduring ‘hardships,’ it would be pretty contrived, so we try not to take ourselves too seriously in that respect.
HH: We know that some of the tracks on the self-titled EP were pretty old, once released. Did you follow similar steps, when putting together ‘Routines’?
Drew Auscherman: Most of the songs on ‘Routines’ are brand new – but a few of them are older songs, either from the tapes or unreleased stuff, that we decided to redo.
HH: Did you notice a difference in your writing process while penning ‘Routines’?
Drew: I know, for me personally, the writing process has not changed much in a long time. It starts with a little idea and then I sit down and demo it out. Once I have the bass drums and rhythm guitar/keyboard parts down, I start thinking of lead guitar parts and vocal melodies. For me, songs usually start with a chord progression I’ve been thinking about.
HH: Is there ever an “I’m going to write a song now” moment, or is it more ephemeral – like you’ve been kicking something around in your head for days, weeks, months, and then suddenly it comes spilling out?
Keagan: Definitely the latter. For me, at least, a lot of it just comes from messing with melodies or chord progressions and then, as the idea begins to take shape, it sort of landslides into a finished song.
Drew: I experience a little bit of both. There are days where I’m just like, “Well, let's try writing a song.” That works out sometimes, but I think all of my best songs have come from either harboring an idea for a days/weeks, or just spontaneously demoing something.
HH: For some writers, writing is an extremely difficult and painful process. Is it easy for you?
Keagan: It generally feels kind of cathartic for me. Even if I’m writing about something really depressing, channeling that into a song always feels better than just letting it sit with no outlet – especially if I like the finished product enough to use it for something.
"We picked an artist whose work we already loved. I've found a lot of records I like by just looking at the album cover." – Drew Auscherman
HH: What was your favourite part of the creation process for the LP?
Drew: The most fun part for me, when making something like an album, is the demoing. I always get a nice rush when I’m in the initial stages of writing and recording a song.
HH: Your album artwork’s handsome too. How much did you have to do with the making of it?
Drew: We picked an artist whose work we already loved. She sent us a few drafts and we gave each other a few ideas until we felt like the cover represented our album well.
HH: How important is it to you for the art that accompanies your music to represent the sound and the lyrics? Do you aim for a conversation between the two, or are you more interested in an aesthetically cool package?
Drew: I've found a lot of records I like by just looking at the album cover. I like having a nice balance between an aesthetically 'cool' package and something that visually represents the sound and vibe of the record.
Feb 18th: Norman, OK – The Opolis
Feb 21st: Phoenix, AZ – Crescent Ballroom // with Tennis
Feb 22nd: San Diego, CA – The Irenic // with Tennis
Feb 24th: Los Angeles, CA – The Roxy Theatre // with Tennis
Feb 25th: San Francisco, CA – Noise Pop Music Festival // with Tennis
Feb 27th: Portland, OR – Wonder Ballroom // with Tennis
Feb 28th: Seattle, WA – Neumos // with Tennis
Mar 01st: Vancouver, BC – Biltmore Cabaret // with Tennis
Mar 03rd: Salt Lake City, UT – The State Room // with Tennis
Mar 04th: Denver, CO – Bluebird Theater // with Tennis
Mar 09th: Nashville, TN – Freakin Weekend at The End
Mar 10th: Savannah, GA – Savannah Stopover Music Festival
Mar 12th – 18th: Austin, TX – SXSW
May 02nd: Glasgow, UK – The Hug and Pint
May 03rd: Leeds, UK – Headrow House
May 04th: Manchester, UK – Soup Kitchen
May 07th: Birmingham, UK – Hare & Hounds
May 08th: Bristol, UK – The Louisiana
May 09th: Brighton, UK – Green Door Store
May 10th: London, UK – The Lexington
May 12th – 14th: Atlanta, GA – Shaky Knees Music Festival
May 25th: Los Angeles, CA – The Echo // with PARTS
May 26th – 28th: George, WA – Sasquatch Music Festival
June 08th: Brooklyn, NY – Baby's All Right // with Joy Again
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