‘Favourite thing about Sheffield? The people’: An Interview with The Crookes

The group’s Leadmill swansong sold out months ago

Since releasing their first single in 2009, Sheffield indie quartet, The Crookes, have gone on to release four albums, played a range of major festivals including Reading and Leeds, and won the hearts of thousands of music lovers, in the Steel City and beyond.

Earlier this year, they announced that they are splitting. As they prepare for one last energetic, emotional live show in their hometown, we spoke to their guitarist and writer, Daniel Hopewell, about music, mental health and all things Sheffield.

After eight years, The Crookes are sadly calling it a day. Your final gig is at Leadmill on Saturday – why did you choose to have it there?
It had to be Sheffield. It had to be the Leadmill. We decided to do a run of shows in some of our favourite places to play over the years. We chose Berlin and Amsterdam and obviously the Leadmill has been our home in Sheffield for many years.

You're named after the Sheffield suburb of the same name. Tell us more about your memories of Crookes.

To be honest the name was chosen on a whim. There was a slight play on words which I liked at the time but only one member (Croftsy) still lives there. It became more of a synecdoche for Sheffield as a whole I suppose. I remember enjoying the views. You could see the whole city so I suppose that’s suitable?

What are your favourite things about Sheffield as a city?

The people. I mean I could pick out individual things, but it always comes back to the people. I could probably quote a Pulp lyric which sums it up nicely, but I feel like I belong here.

Which bar or club in Sheffield would you choose for a night out?

The Picture House is our most common choice. Also love Fagan’s and it’s right next to our practice room which is great.

There's a lot of people new to Sheffield at the minute with the new uni year just starting. What's your advice for them?

I suppose my answer applies to all students really. Don’t worry about studying. Say yes to everything at least once. Also, pretend you’re a writer. It really is the best excuse to justify hedonism and bad behaviour in the name of experience.

Are there any up and coming bands in the Sheffield music scene you can recommend?

There’s a band called The Seamonsters who I like. I actually judged them at a Battle Of The Bands many years ago. They were in school then and are still really young as far as bands go, but seeing how they’ve developed in that time is great and I’m looking forward to seeing what comes next for them.

There's an increased focus on mental health and the music industry – do you think more can be done?
This is a good question. Really good. It’s incredibly important to look at mental health in all aspects of life. I won’t go too deep into my own experiences here, but one thing that can be done is just listening to the words.

Musicians often express themselves in this way. I was always amazed that no one ever read my lyrics and said “Are you okay?” I saw an interesting Tweet asking why Chester Bennington didn’t write a suicide letter. Someone responded saying “He did. Listen back to his songs and think of them not as entertainment but as a cry for help.”

I would also add, for anyone thinking about starting a band, that you need to be strong. The highs are incredible but with that come a lot of lows. The lifestyle is very hard.

Finally, what can your fans expect from your final gig?
Dancing and tears.

The Crookes' last ever gig is at The Leadmill this Saturday (30 September) – all tickets have sold out. Featured photo credit: @TheCrookes on Twitter