Camden Rocks 2018 [INTERVIEW] with... Berries

Berries "We would love to play bigger and even better shows, record and be able to do this full-time"

Berries' audiences on the London live circuit and further afield are growing. Well-known for their edgy live shows and piercing punk sounds, the interest in them and their music definitely looks set to continue.

Holly: The thing is about London and Camden everyone needs to get out and support bands. It is such an amazing vibe when you have unsigned bands and the places are packed out and you can tell the bands are absolutely chuffed to bits because so many people have turned up to see them.

Do you see a lot of the same people coming to your gigs? Are you seeing your audiences grow?

Holly: Yes it is quite amazing and we get like excited about it. I was just walking through the queue at one of the venues earlier and three people recognised me saying ‘oh you are in Berries!’. That felt really good.

Lauren: It is always nice to play in Camden because this is where we did most of our gigs and started out and it is nice to see a few familiar faces there.

What sort of preparation do you put in place ahead of a show like Camden Rocks?

Holly: We make sure we select the right tracks, we want to have good stuff ready for the crowd, which is partly why we decided to bring back one of our bouncier tracks from our debut EP, it has more of a festival vibe to it.

Holly: Then just lots of rehearsing, we are looking forward to being in being part of the Camden Rocks vibe because is just awesome, loads of bands we have not seen for before, so just getting to see them is awesome,  basically, we just run around like lunatics trying to catch as many acts as possible.

Do you want to talk about recording your new material?

Holly: We are working with Steffan Pringle from Estrons. He is mixing our latest single so we are sort of at the stage of finishing things off and then we are going to set a release date.

Lauren: we are just writing a new track right now, we started it in rehearsal this week, so we are getting there.

How did the collaboration with Steffan come about?

Holly: We have some mutual connections and really jumped at the chance to work with him. He is a great rock producer and amazing at what he does. He has worked with so many great bands and has some very good ideas.  We are extremely happy with what we have recorded already. Now we are mixing it and based on what we have heard we absolutely love it. He has produced a number of bands including his own band Estrons and Himalayas and loads of others. We can’t wait to set a release date and get it out there.

Your new material is that going to sound different to some of your previous releases?

Holly: We kind of go for a range of influences because we like so much different stuff, we have tracks that we keep going over, we have some straight forward songs and other entirely different ones where we are trying out new ideas, new ways of doing things.

Holly: I think between our first EP and now there has been a big change in our sound and our first EP is very different from what we write now. It is going to show a new direction. The opposite end of the spectrum, it is getting heavier and slightly rockier.

Lauren: we hope people like it. It is definitely a progression, where we are testing each other more as musicians as well as pushing ourselves more.

Will the new material be released as part of an EP or is it album?

Holly: we are aiming more at releasing singles, which will eventually lead to an EP release. I think it is the way to do it these days. You are going to release one single and then get a lot of attention from that, hopefully.

Lauren: Our sound has changed from that very first EP and it has sort of changed I feel like each single is slightly different from the previous one and we have worked quite well on all our singles.

What track are you most proud of so far?

Lauren: I would say Wild Vow or Faults. Because sometimes it takes you ages to write a song and I think with Wild vowel we did like at one rehearsal. It was cool and it just worked. It felt fantastic because sometimes it takes weeks and weeks but not with Wild Vow.  

Where do you tend to rehearse and record?

Holly: We rehearse in Kentish Town, we have been going there for years. It is called New Rose Studios, we really like it there. It is pretty DIY and we record around the same area. It is nice to have it all in together in one the one location.

To those who are unfamiliar with Berries music, do you want to tell us how the band got together?

Holly: Lauren and I grew up together in King's Lynn and we had never really played together in a band but we jammed when we were younger but the band thing never sort of happened until we went to university.

Holly: We both needed a bass player.  Lauren is an amazing guitarist but I went to her and I was like ‘do you fancy playing bass?’ Credit to her, she totally went for it and is an amazing bass player.

Lauren: When we were teenagers we could never have been in the same bands as guitarists. We are too competitive anyway. I am very happy playing the bass, Holly is a very hard act to beat, no it is not about that, it is just really good fun.

You all work full-time during the week, do you find that easy enough to juggle with being in a band?

Holly: We are pretty lucky that we have all landed in music related jobs, Lauren works in sound production, I work at a music venue and our drummer Lucy works for a music agency, so we deal with music the whole time, plus the band are always on our minds. Sometimes it is like ‘ah this contact came through work’, it is a really good way to juggle the band as well as doing our jobs.

Some bands struggle a bit having to do casual work at the same time.

Lauren: I think it is really positive because you might have a bad day at work but then you have band practice in the evening. You can let it all out there.

Holly: What is also good is that we all have full-time wages coming in alongside the band opportunities we get offered. It means we can push the band forward with a bit of security behind us and this is obviously a good thing, it does help us.

Tell me about the kind of bands you admire and who do you listen to on Spotify?

Holly: I like Biffy Clyro and on the DIY scene bands like The Franklys are a really cool band. Also, totally going for it is a band like Dolls, they are a really cool DIY band, then there is of course bands like Sisteray, False Heads and False Advertising. The list is endless.

Lauren: What happens a lot of time is that you bump into them when you are out at gigs, so you are on the same sort of live circuits anyway, you get to know them and become friends with them.

What do you want to achieve as a band and how do you see Berries develop?

Holly: We would absolutely love to be able to play bigger and even better shows, recording and being able to do it full-time would be ideal. It would also be great to continue to build our fanbase, I really hope that even more people get on board, I would really like that. Who knows maybe we will be playing Koko in Camden before we know it.