STARS of an indie band will return to where their festival career began as they join 10,000 music fans at an annual event.

Since their first appearance at Hardwick Hall in 2014, The Sherlocks have played in America and Japan, supported Liam Gallagher in Europe and sold out hundreds of venues up and down the country.

The popularity of their past gigs in Newcastle, Middlesbrough and at Ku Bar in Stockton-On-Tees is one reason why their first record Live For The Moment was the highest charting debut album by any group in 2017.

Now they are set to release a new 11-track album called Under Your Sky on Friday, October 4 and will return to the North-East to headline Hardwick Live.

Fans at Hardwick Live will be some of the first to hear some of the results of the band’s winter holed up at Parr Street studios in Liverpool with producer and lead singer of The Coral James Skelly working on album number two.

However, despite embarking on their biggest project so far, frontman Kiaran Crook, his brother and drummer Brandon, lead guitarist Josh Davidson and his brother and bassist Andy had not spoken to Skelly before their first day in the studio.

“His reputation meant he was our first choice, but looking back it’s mad that we all agreed to do an album without talking first. It was a risk for everyone,” said Kiaran, 23. “We rocked up on day one and spent the first hours sussing each other out as well as making up ground on songs,” he added.

Now the band cannot speak highly enough of Skelly and the influence he and colleague Chris Taylor had over their new tunes, including first single NYC (Sing It Loud), a wide-eyed recollection of seeing the wonders of New York for the first time, but also wishing to share it with someone special back home.

“James Skelly helped us turn that tune into one of the strongest singles on the album,” said Kiaran. “Originally, the verses were different, but he advised us to choose one melody, refine it then stick with it.

"He makes songs shorter and sharper, but never loses what made them special to start with.”

Brandon said that it helped that Skelly is a fellow northerner who has the same outlook on life as them. “We worked hard, but we had some fun and games too. He knows how to knock out a single and he’d jam with us to work out parts,” he said.

Kiaran thinks the band’s new tunes sound 'sweeter' and still have the upbeat guitar-fuelled melodies and harmonies that made Live For The Moment such a hit.

“We have tried to have more space in these songs and not overload them with layers of guitars. By the time we had put down bass, drums, keyboard and a couple of rhythm tracks, most songs were ready for Josh’s lead guitar parts, and that is all they needed,” he said

“Our latest single Magic Man is like a cousin to our first album single Will You Be There? I’ve never written a song more quickly.

"It was based on an old guitar riff, but I came up with the other parts in no time at all while writing at home in Bolton upon Dearne,” he added.

Another song called Time to Go is a reworked version of a track that Kiaran wrote as a teenager and the band played in their set at Hardwick Live in 2014.

Meanwhile, former Radio X track of the week NYC (Sing It Loud), whose video features actor Thomas Turgoose in a spoof David Letterman style late night chat show, was penned on the band’s first morning in New York City while Kiaran, Josh and Andy were waiting for Brandon to collect their tour van.

“That’s when Kiaran wrote the lyrics 'We drank Starbucks coffee in a New York lobby in a hotel where we stayed,” said Brandon.

“As for most people, everything on our first visit to New York blew our minds,” added Kiaran.

Brandon says whatever happens next, the band are glad to have spent years working their way up every step of the music ladder. “We still talk about the fun we had in the early days, playing up and down the country and meeting fans after shows at places like Hardwick.Those memories will never leave us.”

The Sherlocks join headliners Manic Street Preachers, James, The Zutons and Lisa Stansfield at Hardwick Live at Hardwick Hall, Sedgefield on Saturday, August 17 and Sunday, August 18.

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