FROM THE TAPE DECK: HOOPS

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       2017 is the year of Hoops. With the release of Routines over the summer and now Tapes 1-3, the Bloomington based band is dominating the scene. Fully established on Routines, Tapes 1-3 provides context that showcases the evolution of Hoops. Originally posted to a youtube channel created by ‘Dave Osterman’ also known as Drew Auscherman, the tapes pre-date their discovery by Fat Possum. Previously the tapes had only been distributed through an extremely limited 50 tape run, however the band has now decided to re-release them as a bundle on cassette and vinyl.

      True to Hoops fashion, the tapes are brimming with shoegaze and dream-pop influences. Taking up the majority of space, Tape 1 jangles along in the most satisfying way. Starting with “Nothing But Net” and concluding with “John,” the authenticity bred by analogue recording shines through. The subtle hum of the tape serves as a reminder of the bedroom project Hoops was begotten from, just Auscherman and a cassette reel posting his music onto youtube.

       The subtle fuzz and static are once again embraced on the tracks from Tape 2. A version of “On Top” appears swimming through the smog, yet almost identical to the album version. Tape 3 features “Underwater Theme” and “All My Life,” also appearing back to back on Routines. With some slight shifts, the songs keep their same dreamy sentiment but appear a little more polished on the album. The tracks wind and weave their way through the haze with Aushcherman’s guitar serving as a guiding light. The songs effortlessly bleed into one another and feel more like a continuous narrative then three completely separate tapes. The cohesion creates a concrete identity for Hoops, one that continues to make them distinguishable from every other band.

     Tapes 1-3 gives listeners a look at the foundation that Hoops was built upon. Despite the following they’ve amassed, it’s evident that Hoops hasn’t changed much: they’re still producing music the same way they did when no one was listening. Their artistic integrity isn’t fueled by praise and attention, it’s the love they have for the music they create that has propelled them to the forefront of the music scene.

     Melted asks Kevin, the bassist, a few questions about the importance of cassette tapes to the band:

HOW WERE YOU FIRST INTRODUCED TO TAPES?

      We all grew up listening to music on tapes that our parents had around the house, but we didn’t really start buying music on tape until we started frequenting this record store in Indianapolis called Luna Music in middle school.

 

THE FIRST TAPE YOU OWNED?

     The first tape I ever personally owned was probably the ABBA greatest hits tape that I found at Goodwill.

 

WHAT ORIGINALLY DREW YOU TO TAPES AND WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO CONTINUE RECORDING THEM?

     We started recording on tape because it was easier than trying to mess around with any digital program. A lot of bands we were into in high school had a lo-fi sound that was easy to emulate with a tape machine.

 

HOW HAVE TAPES BECOME A PART OF YOUR BAND’S IDENTITY?

     These days we do all of our recording digitally for the most part, but the original sound we got from tape recordings still informs our recording and mixing process now.

 

HOW DO YOU THINK LISTENING TO MUSIC ON TAPE ALTERS THE LISTENING EXPERIENCE?

       I don’t know if it alters the listening experience all that much other than just being another format by which to consume music. It’s a nice feeling to pop a tape in your car stereo and just let it run without worrying about skipping songs, but I don’t think it makes a huge difference sonically unless you’re the type to really listen for it.

 

DO YOU THINK IT’S IMPORTANT TO KEEP RELEASING TAPES DESPITE SO MUCH OF MUSIC CONSUMPTION PRIMARILY BEING ONLINE?

       I don’t think there’s anything sacred about any media format, and we don’t really hold tapes in any high regard. They’re just kinda fun. People like buying music on a physical format, and tapes are a really easy and cheap way of providing that for people.

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samantha sullivan