Q&A with dream pop band Hoops


Precious Kato

Bloomington, Indiana-based band Hoops is on their way to Nashville. The self-proclaimed “ambient noise” turned “dream pop” band will take the stage at Exit/In this Tuesday, Nov. 28 followed by Scandinavian rockers, The Drums. The Hustler got a chance to chat with the band’s lead guitar and vocalist, Keagan Beresford, about his Midwestern upbringing, cassette tapes and the band’s upcoming winter tour.

The Vanderbilt Hustler: For those readers who only know of Hoops as “that one band that came up on my Discover Weekly and was added to my Chill Vibez playlist,” could you tell us a little bit more about your band and how you got started?
Keagan Beresford: We got started as Drew- the drummer’s- kind of ambient noise project, and that was back in high school in 2012. Then we became a sort of surf pop band and did a lot of covers at our shows that were in basements. We all went to college and took a break. And in 2014, we started playing as the modern version of Hoops because Drew had a bunch of songs that he wrote and just wanted to play them. So then we got together on weekends and played house shows or did 4-track recordings now and then. At that point in time, we were still convinced we were going to college and getting jobs.

VH: Did you ever feel the pressure to get out of the Midwest and move to a bigger city?
KB: We all feel that pressure. Because if you want to do anything creative, it’s just sort of the accepted thing among young people that you have to get out. There’s just not as much going on here as there is in cultural epicenters like New York or Chicago. The pressure is real, and all of us are deciding how we’re going to go about dealing with it.

VH Even though you’re used to touring, how do you feel about visiting this new crop of cities on your mid-winter tour?
KB: We did a headline tour earlier this summer, and it was our first time going out West. We did Arizona and New Mexico, and it was just so, so different. It felt like we were on the moon—so different from the Midwest. We were all super excited about this tour because we’re going to places we’ve never been, like Florida. But we’re just happy to escape the Midwest for a little bit this winter.

VH: Have you been to Nashville before?
KB: We were supposed to play at the Freakin’ Weekend Fest, but there was some controversy and we didn’t do it. We ended up playing at a restaurant. Can’t remember the place, but we got there and there was a bluegrass country quartet playing. And we were like, “Are we in the right place?” But our friends in the band Keeps are from Nashville. Our first show out of state was in Mercy Lounge, where we played with them at their album release.

VH: How did you guys make the jump from recording in basements to getting into a studio in Brooklyn to record a lot of Routines?
KB: Well, the guy who manages us currently was a friend from college who was trying to do music business stuff. And so we were kind of his pet project. He started shopping us around. He ended up getting the attention of Fat Possum records. He sent them our stuff, and a year later, we were signed to them in early 2016. They said, “Make an EP and if we like it, we’ll get you guys a record.” But we never expected it to go anywhere. It was just something we did for fun. Just recording it all on tape machines and then doing limited cassette tape releases, it was just fun and then it ballooned into something else when our friend helped us get signed.

He’s still with us too. We actually named a song on our record after him. The song “Bengals.” His name is Ben, but Bengals was the nickname we gave him.

VH: What’s up with the literal cassette tapes? Like why actual tapes? Is this the next wave of the “cool kid culture?”
KB: Well in high school, we all liked to frequent the record stores in Indianapolis because they were the places where older people would go and hang out and listen to music. Then they started telling us what was cool to listen to, and cassette tapes were always a part of that so they were very close to our heart. Plus, tapes are dirt cheap to make and super easy to get out. So a lot of DIY folks would do it, and the bigger bands we listened to did tape releases. And most of us drove not very new cars that only had cassette tapes.

VH: What should fans expect from your set on Tuesday?
KB: Well, it might be terrible, but that’s because we haven’t played with each other since our last tour and it’s been the holidays. Our drummer is in fu*king New Jersey. People are all over the place. But, we’ve also played it so many times together that it should be fine. For the live show, we typically make it a lot more rocking. Our songs are a lot more atmospheric and texture-based, but we’re going to bring it down to earth a bit more. We feed off of the energy the audience gives us. It’s like circular breathing. Expect it to be fast, loud and putting people into a good mood before the drums play.

Tickets for the show are on sale now for $15 and can be purchased at https://www.exitin.com/event/1504366-drums-nashville/ . Be sure to check out Hoops and The Drums on Nov. 28. You won’t want to miss out on their fun, fast and loud sets.