Interview: The Sherlocks

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Arthur had a chat with Kiaran Crook of indie-rock four piece The Sherlocks to talk about festival season, their avid fanbase and their eagerly anticipated second album.

The new album is out on 4th October and the band has been growing at a crazy rate, so for any readers new to The Sherlocks let’s take it back to the beginning – how did the band get started?

We started in 2010 when Josh (guitarist) and Andy (bassist), who are brothers, moved into the same village as me and Brandon- my brother. We just started off playing football together and became great friends.

And you played covers at first before you gradually started writing your own stuff?

Yeah pretty much, after a few months of knowing each other we started messing around with music at mine and Brandon’s house. We were messing around with instruments, then started getting a few gigs in the local area playing covers and we just did that really for a couple of years until we moved onto writing and playing our own music.

At what point did it become more than just jamming at home with your mates?

Probably when we started to try and play in Sheffield. That’s when it started getting real for us, because we’d spent a lot of time in our own area doing gigs in working men’s clubs covering other people’s songs. Then we started going to Sheffield more regularly and playing our own songs, playing little slots at venues. It was probably some moment during that period that it became more, once we were putting on our own gigs.

What’s the transition been like for you from going from small 200-capacity gigs to some of your recent arena supports and huge headline shows?

You’ve got to remember that we’ve been writing and performing for nearly ten years now, so everything that might seem mental to people on the outside, we don’t really sit down and think about too much as we’re too busy. I’m sure if we did, it would probably surprise us! Even going to Japan and America for the first time – by the time it came around we were more than ready to do it.

'You’ve got to remember that we’ve been writing and performing for nearly ten years now, so everything that might seem mental to people on the outside, we don’t really sit down and think about too much as we’re too busy.'

What’s it like going from UK gigs to then venturing overseas? Was it a case of not really having time to think about it?

No! The first places we went were a few gigs dotted around Europe, then it was America first, then Japan. It’s not much different – we’ve still got the same job to do, just playing our songs; it doesn’t really change for us. We know there’ll be small differences with the crowd – some might be calmer, as opposed to Glasgow on a Saturday night.

Do you have any particular venue you have a certain affinity for?

Not so much venues, but we definitely look forward to certain places. When we go to somewhere like Glasgow, we just know it’s going to be a good gig. For some of our earlier gigs, there’s a venue in Glasgow called Stereo that’s only open to a couple of hundred people. We’ve played there quite a few times and that was one of our favourite places to go, but we’ve now outgrown that; we played at Barrowlands on our last tour.

Do you ever miss the small gigs?

In a way yeah, sometimes I miss the atmosphere, but since the gigs have got bigger it’s easier as there’s more room on the stage to hear yourself and play a better show for everyone. The earlier gigs could be pretty mental. It’s a fine line though – the main difference is that we can concentrate on the actual gig and play better, rather than a 200-cap gaff where everyone just goes nuts… but I do definitely still miss it.

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The Sherlocks are big on the festival circuit, frequenting many of the biggest festivals both in and outside the UK – is there a major difference between playing festivals versus your own shows?

The thing with festivals is that no matter where you are, whether it’s the UK or in the middle of Switzerland, it’s a chance to win over new fans. It’s the same on any level, even if you’re headlining; there’s always going to be people there that have never heard of you. When it’s your gig it’s completely different – you know they’ve not bought that ticket by accident, they’re there to see you.

Do you ever get nervous playing crowds where you have to win some of them over?

No, we love it! We always have a good time at festivals anyway to be honest as there’s no pressure on our own shows, but obviously you want to do the best gig you can for the fans. With festivals the sets are different – we only play our bangers and singles, so it’s just a chance to gain fans really.

'With festivals the sets are different – we only play our bangers and singles, so it’s just a chance to gain fans really.'

Let’s chat about the new album you’ve got coming out in October – has your first album being

so successful changed the writing process for you? Have you felt pressure to top it?

As far as the writing’s concerned it’s been pretty much the same; there’s some songs on this album that were written even before the first album. There’s actually one that we played years ago, before we even thought about doing the first album. I can remember doing it in a 100-cap venue in Sheffield – there’s probably a video on YouTube somewhere! But the new songs still use the same process; me on the guitar, bringing in the boys and then getting into a practice room where it really takes shape. And no, we’ve not really felt extra pressure, we’ve not tried to change anything. The only thing that has changed is making the songs more concise, and that’s down to our producer James Skelly (frontman of The Coral). He’s good at picking the best bits from a song and making sure they’re all present.

My personal favourite song is Live for the Moment; whenever I hear it I’m reminded of the mosh pit which happened the first time I saw you in the Sugarmill in Stoke, so every time I’ve seen you since I’ve looked forward to that moment in the gig. Is there a particular moment you look forward to in a gig where you know it’s going to go off?

Escapade is a little bit like that – in the outro it’s one where you’re singing it but you’re not really thinking about it, I’m just watching the crowd. It also has a good drop where you just know it’s going to go off.

With Escapade is there a particular night out that’s based on?

It wasn’t actually a night I was at; it was how I imagined a group of girls in my class at school would spend a night out. I used to come in on a Monday morning and overhear conversations about people’s nights out – I just made light of how much they exaggerated things in their stories.

What has been the most memorable moment in your musical career so far?

That’s tricky, I could pick one of our own gigs, but when we played Sheffield arena with Kings of Leon and got to meet them – that was definitely a highlight. Going on tour with Liam Gallagher was great, but because it was a whole tour there’s no standout moment to pick. As Kings of Leon was just the one show that’s something we could pinpoint – it’s just mental to look back on really.

You mentioned Liam Gallagher and obviously everyone knows about the Gallagher brother feud, so what’s it like being in a band with your brother? Does it ever get in the way?

I think it’s alright to be honest, I’d struggle to find anything to argue over now at this stage – being in the band for almost ten years together, what is there really to argue about? You’re just sat in a van, or a tour bus, then you’re playing a gig, there’s just nothing to argue about! We’re all pretty chilled out anyway, there’s no mad-heads in the band bouncing off the walls all the time; everyone’s on the same wave length.

'I'd struggle to find anything to argue over now at this stage - being in the band for almost ten years together, what is there really to argue about?'

What’s your favourite thing to do outside of music; how do you kick back and relax?

We all have our own things – Andy and Josh go to the gym quite a lot, we went through a stage of playing badminton for a bit, and me and Bran play a bit of snooker. We go to the pub quite a lot, that kind of thing; we’re big on our IPAs.

Following the release of the new album, what are you looking forward to most in the next twelve months?

I’m just looking forward to getting it out to be honest. I want it to do well, but we aren’t driven by the chart position. Once it’s out all the fans have eleven more songs they can listen to, at gigs we get to pick from two albums now, when we’re on tour there’s so many more songs – that’s exciting in itself. We might even let the fans decide the sets. It’s always great playing the main singles from the first album, but it’ll be great playing the popular songs from the new album to the fans too.

Final question I have is one that we like to ask everyone we chat to – if you could’ve written one song ever released, what would it be?

Probably When You Were Young by The Killers; I had that conversation recently, and whenever I hear that tune, that’s always the one that comes to mind.