AN INTERVIEW WITH HOOPS
LISTENING TO HOOPS IS LIKE MELTING INTO A DAYDREAM. THIS BLOOMINGDALE BASED TRIO IS COMPOSED OF DREW AUSCHERMAN, KEAGAN BERESFORD, AND KEVIN KRAUTER. READ OUR CONVERSATION WITH BASSIST KEVIN FRESH FROM THEIR SUMMER TOUR. FROM BASEMENT TO STUDIO, LISTEN TO THEIR LATEST RELEASE ROUTINES.
YOU RECENTLY WRAPPED UP YOUR FIRST US HEADLINE TOUR! HOW WAS THAT?
It was awesome! It was really fun, way more stressful than I expected and way more people coming out to shows then we thought which was really cool!
HOW HAS BEING THE HEADLINING BAND BEEN DIFFERENT?
It’s a little more pressure as far as getting places on time, you have to be in charge of setting up for the night and looking after the bands that we’re with, although the bands we’re with do fine on their own but you know. There’s kind of an older sibling feel to it, it’s really fun, having people to tour with. It makes everything a lot easier, a lot more laid back.
A GOOD BIT OF YOUR NEXT TOUR IS WITH THE DRUMS. CAN YOU TELL US MORE ABOUT THAT?
I’m really excited about that! When we first started the band in highschool we were still pretty into them around that time and so it’s funny to be going on tour with them. They’re a great band.
ON BANDCAMP ONE OF YOUR TAGS IS SHOEGAZE, A GENRE SEEING QUITE THE RESURGENCE (OR MAYBE IT NEVER WENT OUT OF STYLE). WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THIS NEW WAVE SHOEGAZE MOVEMENT AND HOW IS IT EVIDENT IN YOUR MUSIC?
Around the time we started we were playing a lot of shoegaze in other bands we were in, so ever since we were juniors and seniors in high school all of our friends were getting really into it and we all kind of got into it together. It’s something that I think a lot of people in our generation gathered around. It’s a really cool area of music to embrace and a lot of bands right now are embracing that which is cool. As far as our influence goes, it’s never been a goal to be a shoegaze band but I think it’s no matter how much we try to it’s been an influence here and there just because of how we like to play music, especially live with that spacey aspect of things. It can provide a lot of atmosphere that we’re really into. So I think it influences us pretty heavily, more so earlier on, now not as much but I think it’s still there for sure.
ORIGINALLY HOOPS WAS A SOLO PROJECT OF DREW’S. HOW DID IT TRANSITION INTO A WHOLE BAND?
Originally it was just Drew doing ambient music in 2011 and then he started writing music for a full band and then he asked me and our former drummer James to be in a band so it was just the 3 of us at first and we were playing basically just full band beach pop shoegazey kind of stuff. Iit was a pretty easy transition because it kind of turned into something totally different at that point when we joined in because I think Drew was kind of done doing his ambient music thing, he still made some on his own after that but I think he wanted it to be a full band thing.
WHEN YOU GUYS FIRST GOT TOGETHER AND RELEASED TAPE 2,WHAT WAS THE INITIAL REACTION TO YOUR MUSIC?
When we first started we were in high school and then we took a break for a year and went to college, but the year after we came together and started making stuff and that’s when Drew made Tape 1, which is all the solo demo’s he made on his own. Tape 2 was some of my stuff and his and then we were just putting them online and it was just to have stuff out there because at that point we weren’t touring at all, we were just playing around Indiana and Michigan. So it was just putting it out for us and our friends and it got some attention here and there from other people. It wasn’t until a few months after we started the third tape that we got hit up by Fat Possum and started that whole process.
HOW HAS YOUR RECORDING PROCESS CHANGED NOW THAT YOU ARE SIGNED WITH FAT POSSUM?
We put out an EP with Fat Possum last August and that was a pretty similar process to doing the tapes cause we pretty much did it all by ourselves, besides the fact that we had a label keeping tabs on it and giving us pointers. Even with the album we went to a studio for a little bit but then did most of it on our own. We were working on it by ourselves for a while and then we’d send a batch of songs to the label to give us pointers and we’d work on whatever they were talking about. That was definitely different and it got stressful at times cause we weren’t used to being told what to do, not that they were super overbearing or anything but it got a little frustrating. Ultimately we’re all grateful for it because we’d never had that sort of constructive criticism of what we were making before. It was definitely something to get used to but it was nice to have for sure.
SO YOU DID SOME OF IT IN THE STUDIO AND SOME IN THE BASEMENT? WHAT MADE YOU CHOOSE TO CONTINUE TO DO IT AT HOME?
Originally the label suggested going to the studio and then send it to someone else to mix it. But we got to the studio and it was just a little more difficult then we expected because there’s so much at our disposal that we didn’t know where to start. We usually have a mode of working when we’re by ourselves at home where we could get stuff done very quickly but also take our time with a lot of things. When we were in the studio we had a time and a schedule we had to rush things a little bit, coupled with the fact that we didn’t really have any experience in a studio made it difficult for sure. When we left the studio the label decided that they wanted us to just do the rest on our own because they really liked how the EP turned out so they changed their mind a little bit so we could finish things on our own which I think is a good decision. We were able to add our own personal sort of touch to everything and work the way we were used to. After being in the studio and being in an unfamiliar environment it was nice to be able to come home and focus on it like we’re used to.
IN YOUR OWN WORDS, WHAT IS ROUTINES?
There wasn’t really a huge unifying theme behind the songs, a lot of the songs were thrown together and some are really old, the first track is almost three years old. All of the songs came from all over the place because there wasn’t really a set time where we sat down and wrote the album, we just picked the song from our collection of stuff that we had laying around. At the same time it’s pretty exemplary of what we were sounding like and what we were doing at the time. Routines is a pretty good summary of our catalog prior to release. I think with our next album we’re going to try to be a little more unified and consistent with how we’re writing and recording. With Routines a lot of it was sort of on accident - us just rolling with different things, changes of plans in the studio, just figuring everything as we’re going. We had to finish it and deal with it which is not a bad thing, but it’s kind of a thrown together mishmash.
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON CASSETTE TAPES?
When we were making the tapes before we were signed it was a really easy + cheap way to get music out on a physical platform. Having a physical form of music is fun - people seem to really like having something to hold and look at rather than downloading an album. It’s just fun and easy and it makes the whole band experience a little more fun.
WHAT IS THE MUSIC SCENE LIKE IN INDIANA?
It’s all over the place. Some of my favorite stuff has come out of Indiana + it’s an untapped source of a lot of stuff. Northwest Indiana had a really huge punk scene for a long time, Bloomington had a huge punk scene… As far as indie music is concerned, Bloomington has been a huge place for that, especially being like the big college town. You need to find your niche wherever you are because there isn’t a huge overarching scene anywhere, most of which would be in Bloomington or Indianapolis. It’s sprawled out in Indiana. It’ not like New York or Chicago or any big city or big scene. There’s a huge DIY mentality and any shows that happened when we were in highschool were put on in our parents basement. And then at the same time there was like an all ages sort of scene in Indianapolis that was really small but really open and inclusive. There’s lot of really good stuff that flies under the radar since it’s not a big city.
HOW HAS BEING IMMERSED IN THAT SCENE INFLUENCED YOU AS A BAND?
It’s definitely encouraged us to branch out and be as creative as we want to be cause you can do whatever you want since there isn’t a huge market or crowd to appeal to. From the start we’ve been putting our music online, same as any other band in Indiana, so your audience is people all over the place on the internet, it’s not like you’re overly concerned with catering to a local geographic audience other than playing shows. As far as a local scene, when we were playing a lot of shows in Bloomington,you’re just playing house shows to college kids and that whole scene is really easy to find people that are into what you’re doing. There’s a lot of freedom to just experiment cause it’s not a super formal thing. I like being a band in Indiana. Went to California on this last tour and it was very weird being a headliner band in a big city. We played in New York at our sold out show at Baby’s All Right, which is really awesome but at the same time it was kind of weird, cause we’re from fricking corn town USA, it’s very rural affluent suburb it’s conservative bullshit. It’s not a big cultural hub like New York but it’s like ‘we’re here we’re doing our stuff’ so it’s just kind of funny to come from such a different place but be able to relate to people in big cities that are so different.
WHAT IS YOUR OPINION ON THE ROLE OF MUSIC VIDEOS IN THE CONSUMPTION OF MODERN MEDIA?
I’ve always loved music videos. I used to watch the MTV music video and VH1 vdieo hour like all the time. When we started making videos for Hoops you realize how much work goes into that process it’s not just like ‘alright we have a cool idea let’s make it happen.’ There’s a lot of variables that go into it but at the end of the day it’s definitely fun to see your music contextualized in a video format or in a narrative. It’s cool cause it’s a totally different medium to express your music or ideas through and it’s just fun. In every music video we’re definitely had a good amount of artistic freedom with what we want to do.
IS THERE ONE IN PARTICULAR YOU REALLY LOVE?
We had a lot of fun doing the “On Top” video with a guy from Indianapolis, Jake Huber, who’s now a good finds of ours. He reached out to us and said ‘hey I’m a videographer in Indianapolis, I really like your music, I’d be really down to help you guys make a video for like no money at all.’ He was just super stoked to make it and had this goofy idea for the video that we were immediately totally down with so we just started bouncing ideas back and forth of how we wanted everything to work out. We went to the Fort Wayne Indiana public library and rented out this little public access TV studio. Originally we wanted to do it at this weird church in Popilius which had this TV stage and it looked like a 90’s family sitcom living room and we were really excited to use it but Jake was talking to the church and it came down to them being like ‘I don’t think the band represents Christian values’ or something. But the public access stage in Fort Wayne ended up being a really a great place to shoot.
WHAT IS IT LIKE BEING A MUSICIAN IN THE 21ST CENTURY?
Weird because there’s so much content available on social media and stuff you can do so much and you can be putting stuff out whether it’s music or pictures or information about what you’re doing. You can be so present but you can also withhold a lot of what you’re doing. I don’t know I think with all the social media stuff it’s a whole medium in of itself with how you communicate and present yourself as a public entity and as a band I think there are ways that we’re trying to figure out how to creatively go about presenting ourselves on social media. For a while it was something that we didn’t want to fuck with at all but our label wanted us to get a twitter and instagram and facebook and we were like ‘fuck that! We just want a blogspot or some shit’ You know we don’t want to worry about any of that. But then we ended up getting all of those and it’s been fun getting to make an image for yourself and getting to curate what you share it’s almost our own medium communication. .
interview by SAMANTHA SULLIVAN