BRANDON Crook is taking a trip down a very boozy Memory Lane – to the Sandhill Tavern in Great Houghton.
Reflecting on the Sherlocks’ nights of excess while recording their new album, he’s acknowledging that enjoying a drink has been a feature of the band’s career since the very start.
“We got paid £60 and as much as we could drink,” recalls drummer Brandon, now aged 29.
“We were necking the Koppaberg, and I think we must have got through about £200 worth. I was too young to drink so Kiaran definitely was. We even had one for the road as well!
A relentless work ethic and stopping every now and then to “Live for the Moment”, as the title of both their debut single and first album has it, is a combination which seems to have served the Sherlocks well over the past decade or so.
Brandon and Kiaran are now embarking on a new era, fellow founder members Josh and Andy Davidson having quit and been replaced by guitarist Alex Proctor and bassist Trent Jackson.
With the Covid pandemic hitting in March 2020 and wiping out all their live gigs, it could’ve been curtains for the Bolton-on-Dearne-founded band – but the new line-up got cracking on getting to know each other, before heading to the legendary Rockfield studio in Wales to record together for the first time.
“Alex and Trent have settled in really well,” says Brandon.
“I don't think in those circumstances there would any another band that would have done what we did.
“When we went to Rockfield we hadn’t even met up - we'd had about two practices and they were on WhatsApp.
“Trent had done some line backing with us, but we had never really spoken to him before.
“We had not really spent any time together and then we went to Rockfield for three or four weeks!
“The album should really be called Against all Odds as we didn't even know our bandmates but we couldn't really have wished for a better scenario.
“They are good lads, good friends, they are quite easy going like me and Kiaran.”
Working hard and playing hard seems to have been the ethos as World I Understand began to take shape, with The Sherlocks following the well-worn path of Oasis, Black Grape, The Charlatans, Motorhead and Queen, among others, in letting loose in the countryside.
“We were up most of the night partying,” recalls Brandon.
“We would start at about 10pm or 11pm and be up until 5am, get a good five- or six-hours’ sleep and then go back into the studio again.
“We were excited every morning to listen to what we'd done the day before.
“It was a magical place to be. We did some serious drinking down there.
“I did the Lidl run and they stopped IDing me because the staff started to recognise me.
“We would get a bottle of Port each and as a nod to that, the intro to the album is called Porto, that’s a little in-joke.”
The result of that memorable month – now almost two years ago – is The Sherlocks’ third album, or Alex and Trent’s first, as Brandon points out.
“It's inevitable that we would go in a different direction with them on board, but I think the big sound is all down to Dave Eringa,” he adds.
“He has worked with Kylie and done all the Manics stuff and has definitely brought a lot to this new album.
“I feel like we have definitely got our own sound and people know what we sound like now – it’s really upbeat and always a loud chorus.
“But this album is very diverse. Kiaran has said there are different flavours on it.
“There is On the Run, which is a very strong Oasis-like song with a big sound, Sorry, which is our most dancey song yet and Falling, which just kicks the door off - everyone is buzzing off that one.
“City Lights is quite Killers-y, that's one where we knew it needed to go down the Killers route, it’s got that arena sound.
“I'm confident this is our most compete album yet, especially as Kiaran is always developing as a songwriter.
“He has been writing songs for ten years now and is getting better all the time.
“He writes the basis of a song on the acoustic and brings it to the practise room and a band we all put our own spin on it.
“Trent is quite reserved, but he has a keen ear so he's a good guy to have around as he’ll speak up in the studio if he thinks there's something we can improve.
“Alex is quite upbeat. He’s a real guitarhead and is really into his pedals and everything.
“He can also really play the piano. We can do the chords, but he can really play - once he started bashing out the theme from Pirates of the Caribbean.
“Some bands will put out an album with a couple of singles and some filler, but we want to be looking back in years to come and thinking we have done a good album for the fans.
“We want them to be there at the gigs singing every word back to us.”
Both Live for the Moment and the 2019 follow-up Under Your Sky made the top 20 and helped propel The Sherlocks to the profile where they were third on the bill at Tramlines – and they have no plans to stop there.
“I would love to think we could headline Tramlines,” says Brandon.
“We will have a set list full of singles and after the fourth album it will be even stronger, and we’d have to leave a couple out - that's a good problem to have. I reckon that Friday night slot is perfect for us.”
The album finally comes out tomorrow – two months after being delayed.
“I feel like we have been waiting an eternity for it,” says Brandon.
“We were gutted when we had to put it back last November - it was because we just couldn't get hold of the vinyl copies.
“We can’t compete with the likes of Ed Sheeran and Adele on the streaming, so it makes a big difference to us if someone buys a physical copy, whether it's a CD, an LP or even a cassette.
“For us, an album is really important. It represents two years of work - we've worked so hard on it, writing, recording and producing.
“There’s so much people don't understand that goes into making an album. Crafting a song is like a work of art in itself. It takes a long time and then you have to get the artwork on point too.
“So, two years’ work has gone into this release, and in a way, it captures a moment in time for us.
“That Live for the Moment period is signified for us by that album and when you look at the albums it's like a passage time – this one is the same for us.
“It is like a mark in your musical journey.”
Brandon, who is also the band’s full-time media manager, is hopeful the new LP will help open doors to further opportunities, perhaps pushing them towards that arena profile their music increasingly loudly demands.
“I hope this album takes us to the next level but if not, so like as people want to us play, we'll keep doing it,” he says.
The album release should assuage some of the disappointment for the band’s fans at their spring tour – complete with homecoming gig at the O2 Academy in Sheffield – having to be postponed.
“There are so many bands pushing tours back and the whole industry is pushing stuff back,” says Brandon.
“We are going to be spending that period going into the studio and writing and recording, getting cracking on album four.
“It would be good to get an album out in the middle or end of next year just to keep it going while we are in a good spot.”
There’s certainly no let-up for a band keen to keep busy, and Brandon reckons if it all went away tomorrow, he’d still be working round-the-clock.
“I’m not sure I could do a 9 to 5 now,” he admits.
“I’d like to run my own business and keep my own hours.
“I’d like to maybe open a bar - I think I’d do a good job as I’ve been in plenty - and I like cooking, too, so it should have a decent menu.
“We did our own IPA last year and I’d love to do a rum.
“We've always tried to do all our own socials as it’s good for us with connecting with fans, and it’s been a bit like having label with this album.
“We’ve been really hands-on with everything, and it's been quite rewarding.
“We enjoy what we do but we have to work quite hard as it could quite easily go away.
“We spent four years playing in the pubs and clubs every weekend when other people were going out, and somehow it has turned into a job.
“No-one is going to give it all to you.
“It's not like we've got rich parents and are just doing it for a hobby. Kiaran and I have been in this band for 11 years, so we've definitely done our apprenticeship!”
World I Understand is out tomorrow and The Sherlocks will be at HMV in Meadowhall next Wednesday.