The Hoosiers

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The Hoosiers
Background information
Origin Bracknell, Berkshire, England
Genres Pop rock, synthpop, alternative rock, indie pop,[1][2] indie rock[3]
Years active 2003–present
Labels None
Members Irwin Sparkes
Alan Sharland
Sam Swallow
Past members Tony Byrne
Tom Easey
Martin Skarendahl

The Hoosiers are an English pop rock band from Bracknell, Berkshire. The band consists of members Irwin Sparkes (lead vocals, lead guitar), Sam Swallow (keyboards, backing vocals), and Alphonso Sharland (drums, percussion).

Their first single "Worried About Ray" reached number 5 on the UK Singles Chart in July 2007. In October 2007, they released their debut album The Trick to Life, which reached number 1 in the album charts. The band released their second top ten album The Illusion of Safety on 16 August 2010 and was preceded by the lead single "Choices" which was released on 1 August 2010, it reached the UK Top 20.

In October 2013, they unveiled a preview of their forthcoming new single "Somewhere in the Distance" exclusively on entertainment news website Digital Spy. It began receiving airplay on the radio shortly afterwards including on 106.9FM WHCR. The song serves as the lead single to their third studio album The News from Nowhere, which followed on 14 April 2014. Fans who pre-ordered the LP from their official website were promised the record a week ahead of its official release.[4]

In July 2015, bassist Martin Skarendah left the band in what was described by the remaining members as "one of the most amicable decisions in music history". [5]


The Hoosiers performing at Live Fest in July 2011

According to the band's self-penned biographies (found on websites and in album sleeves), "Alphonso" Raymond Sharland (drummer) and Irwin Nathaniel Sparkes (lead singer and guitarist) spent some time in the United States, encouraged by their chemistry teacher (Grant Serpell,[6] who was part of the band Sailor during their fame in the 1970s), in an attempt to broaden their horizons. The pair won themselves a football scholarship at the University of Indianapolis, despite a reputed claim to be "allergic to running" (a claim which is backed up by lead singer Sparkes' asthma).

Their time spent in Indiana inspired the band's name, as a citizen of Indiana is colloquially called a Hoosier. Having gathered enough material to compile an album, Al and Irwin returned to London, where they met Swiss keyboard player and sound engineer Duri Darms and Martin Skarendahl, a Swedish ex-fireman who was then working with Darms as a recording studio engineer and studying at The London Music School.[citation needed] The original group included two band members (Tony Byrne and Tom Easey) who had left by this point, leaving Sparkes and Sharland to replace them with Skarendahl.

This newly revamped trio of Sparkes, Skarendahl, and Sharland subsequently signed to RCA and released their first album The Trick to Life on 22 October 2007. The band have spoken of their desire to write songs that are about more than just "boy and girl... finding love on a Friday night on the lash with your mates".[7] In February 2008, they were named as Worst Band at the annual NME awards.[8] They are produced by ex-member of Jamiroquai, Toby Smith, and managed by Steve Morton.

The band's second single, "Goodbye Mr A", appeared in the football video game FIFA 08, and the game can also be seen in the "Goodbye Mr A" music video. Lead singer Irwin Sparkes, who is from Reading, is playing on the game as Reading against Manchester United. The song also appears in a trailer for the 2007 film Juno. Following the release of "Worst Case Scenario", the next release from The Trick to Life was "Cops and Robbers", as confirmed in a live webchat with The Hoosiers on GMTV. The video was broadcast on Channel 4 at 12:10pm on 22 March 2008.

The title track "The Trick to Life" is featured as the end credits music on the thriller From Within released in 2009 which is ironically about a series of unexplained deaths in a small town.

For their second album, The Illusion of Safety, several changes were made including a new, more synthesised sound and the drummer 'Alphonso' returning to his given name Alan. The Illusion of Safety gave the first single "Choices" and includes the song "Unlikely Hero", for which a video was filmed in a quarry in Derbyshire. The latter was due to be a single until it was announced that this was not the case on 14 October 2010.[9]

In February 2011, the band announced via their official website that "Bumpy Ride" was to be their new single and would be released at the end of March. Their new deluxe album, also titled Bumpy Ride, was out in the April of the same year. The music video for 'Bumpy Ride' tells a story of how The Hoosiers travelled around the United States of America by various means of transport, and was possibly inspired by their earlier travels.[10]

Departure from record label[edit]

It was announced on 1 April 2011, that the band had departed from their record label Sony after a dispute over the promotion of their latest album The Illusion of Safety.[11] Sparkes told Daily Record, "I don't think many people knew that the second album had been released, so we're having to reissue it to bring it to people's awareness."

At an intimate gig for Real Radio in Sheffield, the band announced that they were repackaging and re-releasing the album with a new title, Bumpy Ride, on 11 April 2011.[12] The rerelease comes with 4 new album tracks, and a deluxe version comes with a DVD of live performances.

One of their latest appearances involved turning on the Winchester Christmas Lights in 2012. On 24 May 2013, they appeared at Bradford University's 'Party on the Amp" to perform a few songs Including "Goodbye Mr A". On 25 May 2013, they appeared at Roehampton University's summerball to perform a few songs. On 18 July 2013 they performed at Bishop Grosseteste University (Lincoln, UK). On 19 July 2013 they appeared at Bugjam, Santa pod raceway, as one of the headline acts.

It was announced by the band on Twitter that long term keyboard player Sam Swallow would be joining the band as a full member.

The News From Nowhere[edit]

On 17 September 2013 The Hoosiers sent an email out to their fans announcing the planned release of their new album The News From Nowhere. The news was accompanied by the release of the first single from this album, "Somewhere in the Distance", a few weeks later. The band said in the email:

Because of this the band is asking fans to order the album before its release. In return the band are offering fans the chance to appear in their videos, visit the studio and much more. The album was released on 14 April 2014.

Band members[edit]



External links[edit]