After appearing at Tramlines at Hillsborough Park in July, they have gone on to complete a sold-out tour of UK independent music venues, headline other festivals and play a string of dates in Germany.
Now frontman Kiaran and drummer Brandon, lead guitarist Alex Procter and bassist Trent Jackson are preparing to release the band’s third album World I Understand before playing Sheffield O2 Academy in May. “We have to be like this, we can’t stand still,” Kiaran told The Star.
“It may be different if you are signed to a major label, but we are back to being a DIY band responsible for our own careers. There is no time to hang around when opportunities present themselves,” he explained.
Their third album is the first record The Sherlocks have released since leaving the BMG label and Brandon says being their own boss suits the four-piece.
“We’ve taken back control,” he explained. “We are the ones who need this band to succeed so it’s only right that we make the big decisions. Record labels can always move onto the next act, but this is a one shot chance for us.”
Brandon says Tramlines 2021 will go down as a landmark gig for The Sherlocks. “It was our first live performance as a new band, the sun was shining, I was wearing the new Wednesday shirt, and it was in the city where we began. The stars aligned on that day and everything came together,” he said.
15 months earlier in March 2020, things were very different when lead guitarist and bassist Josh and Andy Davidson decided to leave the band and Coronavirus put a stop to live music.
“Then the odds were against us, but our hard work has meant everything has since slotted into place,” said Brandon.
“Alex and Trent joined the band, they learnt our songs over WhatsApp during lockdown and they were ready to record our third album at Rockfield studios in July 2020,” he explained.
“Then, to go on stage in front of 40,000 people at Tramlines for a first live show is something probably no other band has done before. It was sink or swim, but, as they did in the studio, Alex and Trent raised their game again.”
Kiaran added: “It was a test for all of us. We were like a boxer, who had been training well for months, but it is only when you get under the lights, on the one night that matters, that you see the result.”
One of the tunes debuted at Tramlines was their single Falling, a tune Kiaran wrote in March 2020 at the band’s lowest point.
“It was a time of frustration and uncertainty,” said Kiaran. “The clue is in the name of the song for how I was feeling, but instead of thinking the band was screwed, I decided to write new tunes and, with Brandon, begin rebuilding for when the live music returned.
“Rather than accept the end of our band we chose to resurrect The Sherlocks.”
Kiaran thinks there is one main reason the Sherlocks are still here. “We have good songs. You can hype things up as much as you like, but, in the end, the music does the talking.”
Brandon says their new album lends itself to being played live.
“Our producer Dave Eringa did an unbelievable job of capturing our energy,” he explained. “We have hit the jackpot with a bunch of songs recorded in the best possible way. It is rocky, it is anthemic, but it is not complicated. You don’t need tricks and mirrors if the tunes are good.”
There are few distractions, gimmicks, or contrived controversies with The Sherlocks. Whether recording or playing live, Kiaran says is all about the music.
“Lyrics about politics or shouting down the microphone are fine if that is what you want to do, but if the melody doesn’t get your foot tapping, then it won’t help you in the long-run,” he said.
The songwriter also thinks the music industry has never thought of The Sherlocks as “a cool band”, despite their two top 20 albums, being the first unsigned act to sell out The Leadmill since Arctic Monkeys and “shifting more tickets than artists the big labels are pushing.”
He said: “We’ve had no leg ups and we don’t have a famous rock star dad. We started in a garage 11 years ago and now we are taking our songs around the world. We have never been shy of getting stuck in.”
The Crook brothers say growing up in their South Yorkshire village has shaped their work ethic, characters and thinking.
When will The Sherlocks release their new album World I Understand?
“Wherever you are from, the people around you affect who you are,” said Kiaran. “We had a good family upbringing, but we also grew up to be streetwise, sometimes wary of others, and that stays with you,” he added.
Their live music journey began in Sheffield and they still stay close to the city, this year recording videos on Kelham Island and at the Arena, as well as working with Sheffield Wednesday on this season’s kit launch and livestreaming from City Hall.
“In the early days, we played the student union at Hallam University on Friday nights for £3 entry, then every gig and every festival we could get on”, said Brandon.
“At our first Tramlines we did three gigs in one day, starting at Harrisons 1854 in Broomhall, before pushing our amps across the road to the Hop bar and finishing in the afternoon at The Leadmill. The first show was so small it was like playing in someone’s front room to about six people,” he recalled.
“Things did not happen overnight and that is why playing the main stage at Tramlines again this year meant so much to us,” he added.
Guiding their own futures has had a direct impact on The Sherlocks’ third album. “All the songs have come straight from us, there has been no ‘back and forth’ with label executives,” said Kiaran. “We have made the record we wanted, exactly how we wanted to.”
One new track called Sorry has a strong dance vibe reminiscent of The Killers and is a different direction for the
band. Kiaran says the song, which is now released as single, “will surprise a lot of people.”
He added “We know our fans like certain tunes, but it’s still important for us to push boundaries and try new
things. That is what my favourite bands keep doing and it works.”
When will The Sherlocks play the 02 Academy in Sheffield?
Kiaran said he is already working on new music for a fourth album. “If I don’t write any tunes, then everything slows down. Today, I am going to hammer out some new songs,” he said.
When we spoke, Brandon had just finished playing golf and was lauding a 150 yard tee shot which had bounced off the flag. He is also a regular at Hillsborough and has been the driving force behind the band’s association with the football club this year.
However, the drummer says this new tie up has not led to a change to his match day rituals. “I’ve been offered hospitality, but so far I have stuck to battered sausage, chips and curry from Hoong Too’s Chinese on Penistone Road and sitting the South stand, though I grew up in the Kop where my Uncle and Grandad were.”
“This season, one of weirdest things has been seeing pictures in the toilet of Kiaran and me in Wednesday shirts. I looked up and thought ‘frigging hell it’s us!’”
The Sherlocks play HMV Meadowhall on 26 January 2022 and O2 Academy Sheffield on Saturday, May 21, 2022, with support from The Covasettes and The Warehouse Club. World I Understand is released on 21 January 2022. More at thesherlocksmusic.co.uk.