As part of our Sound City interview previews, Abi Small meets up with lead singer and guitarist from the hotly tipped quartet The Sherlocks who last year became the first unsigned band since Arctic Monkeys to sell out their legendary hometown venue, the Leadmill.
Sheffield has yet again spit out four perfectly formed working-class heroes. Recently signed by Infectious Music and bagging major slots supporting the likes of Richard Ashcroft, The Sherlocks are fast-becoming the fresh faces of guitar music in the UK. Gaining notoriety for their riot-inducing performances and having sold out venues up and down the country, the four-piece Yorkshire band are definitely ones to watch this year and look set for indie superstardom. Having recently played a to a sell-out crowd at Liverpool’s O2, the band can’t wait to get back to Liverpool for this year’s Sound City, which will see the festival celebrate its 10th anniversary. Fresh from their longest UK tour to date, we spoke to lead singer Kiaran Crook to find out about life on the road, guitar music and what’s next for The Sherlocks.
You’ve hit the ground running in 2017 and had a bit of mad start to the year with a mammoth UK tour- 35 dates and you’ve just added another 3 during April. This is the biggest tour you’ve done so far- how have you found it?
Kiaran—We’ve found it good yeah- just exciting really. Although there was a few months in between the last tour and the one we’ve just done, it feels like a lifetime whenever we’re not gigging and we always feel pretty fed up. It’s just what we enjoying doing- the live side of things and playing gigs to people. The last tour were brilliant, good to get a good spread of the UK and play everywhere.
Are you glad of the break then or ready and raring to get back onstage?
Kiaran— Bit of both really to be honest. It’s nice to have a bit of a break but it’s straight back to work now, just writing songs again. I struggle to write on the road cos we’re too busy. But i’m back to songwriting now, its literally my job while we’re not gigging
In December you were signed to Infectious Music- you’re saying that you’re songwriting at the moment- does that mean we’re gonna see an album soon?
Kiaran—Hopefully! I mean theres no plans at the minute, or no release date or anything like that, but it’d be good if we could.
Serge from Kasabian has recently lamented the state of guitar music in the UK, but the crowds that appear at your shows seem to prove that it’s actually quite healthy- do you think there’s a need for guitar music? Is it coming back around?
Kiaran—It’s definitely coming back around yeah. I mean, I don’t think there’s too many guitar bands around, but it just comes in waves doesn’t it. I think guitar bands are always there, it seems to come around every 10 years or so-thats what it feels like anyway. The last proper surge of guitar music was in like, 2005 or summat, when there was quite a few bands around. We seem to be coming out of a period of Dance at the minute and it’s all a bit bland. I literally can’t listen to the radio these days, it all sounds the same. Like I said, we’re coming out of it- something’s definitely lingering.
You’ve been described as ‘a people’s band’ and we’ve not seen that since the likes of The Courteener’s ‘St Jude’. What do you think has earned you this label? What is it about ‘The Sherlocks’ that people seem to find so authentic?
Kiaran— I think we’re just normal to be honest! When I say normal-I just mean-I dunno, we’re just normal lads off the street. We can’t pretend to be anything else cos that’s what we are- we’re all normal lads from working class backgrounds. We’ve never been spoilt and we’re not playing about at this. We treat it seriously, whereas a lot of bands from wealthy backgrounds are literally just playing at this cos its summat to do. We haven’t got that- we came from working class backgrounds and dropped whatever we were doing. I’d started uni and the bass player started college but we literally just dropped it completely to focus on the band cause it wasn’t working trying manage both-we needed to put all our efforts into one. You might as well give it a good shot, d’you know what I mean? Just have a go at it like. If it turns out that the band don’t get anywhere, you can always get a normal job. If you decide to go down the route of just getting a 9-5 job and go at the music side of it half-heartedly though, it’s just not gonna work, so we dropped everything and we’re just going for it. We just have a laugh and we don’t take ourselves too seriously. We don’t think ‘Oh my god we’re doing this’ or look back at things we’ve done. Time goes really quick to be honest- something will come up that you’re looking forward to and before you know it, it’s over with and you’re onto the next thing. That’s how it is with us.
Do you think there’s quite a lot of bands out there pretending to be working class? Do you think people are crying out for a genuine band?
Kiaran—There’s plenty of bands like that, but if you’re faking it you’ll get found out in the end. We’re certainly not faking it and we’re not pretending to be summat we’re not. In this day and age, a lot of bands need to have a gimmick and its not all about the music anymore. It’s like you’ve got be weird or crazy to get noticed and we’ve never really been into that. A good example of where we’re coming from is The Stereophonics. They’re a cool band- the main thing about them is the songs. They’ve got great songs, Kelly Jones is a great songwriter with a great voice and the band are timeless. We’ve always wanted to be one of them kind of bands and not just a short blast band who’re only around for one album- we’re in it for the long haul. We don’t wanna be one-hit wonders with one good tune either. When we do the album, we don’t want it to have just one big hit and all the rest are just album fillers. We wanna bring out album after album and have classics- be a massive band and see how big we can take it. There’s a lot of hype surrounding bands these days rather than just the tunes living up to it. When it comes down to it, the songs have gotta be good and that’s how we always see it. We never try and disguise it with distractions. We’ve always just gone at it and like I said, we wanna make albums where every tune is a classic.
After this short break, you’ve got 3 extra tour dates in April and then you’ve got some quite big support slots and festival appearances lined up- what are you looking forward to most?
Kiaran—I’d say i’m looking forward to all of it really. I mean, I’m really looking forward to supporting Richard Ashcroft- not even just to support him, but to watch him myself and have a day out really. I’m looking forward to supporting DMA’s as well! Again, it’s not just cos we’re supporting them, but just to watch them as well. I’d say the most recent album that’s come out where I like every tune, is their album ‘Hills End’. I got into them, and its the most recent album I’ve bought where I’ve thought every tune was mint.
Are there any other bands that are on your radar at the moment?
Kiaran—Not really to be honest. I’ve been listening to DMA’s album, and Kings of Leon’s latest record ‘WALLS’.
This will be your first year at Sound City, but you’ve recently played at to a sell-out crowd at Liverpool’s O2 Academy as part of the tour- are you looking forward to getting back to Liverpool? Do you think you’ll have a decent crowd at Sound City?
Kiaran—I think we will yeah. I know for a fact that we’re all buzzing to get back into Liverpool cos the last gig we did there were mad. I like Liverpool-its just a good place. It’s one of them places that when you get there you can feel a bit of a buzz. It’s got the history as well. We started out at a venue called The Bumper which was pretty small and a couple of gigs we did in Liverpool started out playing for nobody. But for the last one we sold out the O2 which is like 500-600 people, so yeah! Buzzin’!
You’re playing Sound City on the Sunday, which seems to be a bit of a celebration of guitar music- playing alongside the likes of The Kooks, The Cribs, Tim Burgess, Cabbage and Milburn- anyone in particular that you look forward to seeing?
Kiaran— I’m looking forward to seeing the Kooks, yeah! They’ve got some great tunes. The Cribs played the same year as us at Reading, so I saw them then.
What can we expect from The Sherlocks this year? Are you going to stick to your roots in guitar music or are you gonna fall off the wagon and go a bit crazy?
Kiaran—We might go a bit crazy, but in a guitar music kinda way. We’re going mentally crazy with gigging and stuff. As bands progress they tend to get a bit more electronic- If we wanted to sound bigger, we’d always get musicians like a keyboard player or summat rather than a backing track. This year we’ll just be smashing our gigs.
You can catch the Sherlock’s playing Liverpool’s Sound City on Sunday 28th May at Clarence Dock – Tickets HERE
Words Abi Small.