Louis Berry is only 23 years old and for man who hasn’t been in the music game for that long is generating quite a bit of hype at the moment – even to the point where he was Zane Lowe’s ‘Next Hype Record’ back in September. I found him to be a very honest, kind, genuine guy who was obviously incredibly proud of his city and who had a lot to say for himself, despite his relative freshness.
See Louis Berry at Liverpool International Music Festival, 27th – 31st August. For more information please visit, www.LIMFestival.com/
T: Louis you’re going to be playing Liverpool International Music Festival in August, as a Scouser are you proud to be playing at one of biggest festivals the city has to offer?
L: Oh yeah, definitely. I’ll be more proud when the people are there watching me though. It’s all very new to me and I haven’t ever really been a part of a Liverpool music scene, or what’s going on within Liverpool itself. But it will definitely be a proud moment for me to play in front of my own people.
T: This is your first Liverpool festival appearance and it’s been a pretty meteoric rise, so congratulations on that.
L: Thank you very much, I’ve only done two gigs, but I’ve been busy in the meantime between gigs with the video and signings, things like that. I haven’t really had much time to gig if I’m honest.
T: You’ve released one single .45 which has received a lot of playtime on the radio, have you got any other music coming on the horizon?
L: Definitely, there’s a lot more coming from me. At the moment I’m recording which is why I’m heading back down to London today. I’m currently doing a lot of recording, working on my album at the minute. I’m working with some really high-end producers, hopefully I’ll be writing stuff (laughs).
T: Is there a release date for your album yet or is that still in the distant future?
L: I don’t know how distant that would be but there is no set date at the minute because we haven’t finished it.
T: Something that seems to be quite close to your heart is the issue of homelessness, would you care to explain why this is so important to you?
L: I think it’s very important. I get up in the morning in a similar situation as yourself, average person you know what I mean? Not to call you average by the way (laughs). But we have a bowl of cereal or a full English breakfast on the table or whatever and the cars we drive are as important to us. It wasn’t that long ago I heard a story from a friend of mine who said he was in town and he was in the KFC. He was eating his meal and a fella came over to him and asked “Could I have some food off ya? I’m homeless.” My mate said yeah and gave him his chips. When my mate went outside he seen the same fella picking the bones out the bin that people had left, and he was literally sucking on the bones to get a meal. I just don’t see how we can live in a society, a predominantly materialistic society these days – that’s the why I perceive it – where people know the price of everything and the value of nothing, as the saying goes. That’s how I feel about life in general at the moment. A man should have pride, no matter what his situation in life, a man should have pride, and that anyone should have to pick the bones out of a bin to get a meal in a city as affluent as ours, I find that disgusting. I just think it’s outrageous really that we have people living on the same street as us, but actually living on the street.
T: Do you plan on conveying some of these ideas in your music?
L: Yeah, I already do in the music that hasn’t been released yet. But yeah, it’s a strong concern of mine that I do tie into my music. It’s not just that, I have other things that trouble me and I try to incorporate all that as much as possible to create some kind of awareness. Even just to get people to think and, hopefully, they can act upon their thinking.
T: That’s quite a noble thing to do with your music.
L: Much music at the moment, for me, feels very cheap. There is some great music don’t get me wrong, but the vast majority hasn’t got much depth to it and I oppose that with every inch of me (laughs).
T: I’ve heard that criticism levelled at much of the music being played out by Radio 1 these days.
L: I personally disagree. I think Radio 1 is good exposure for music, especially new music.
T: Well you’re an example of that exposure.
L: It’s not just for that reason why I say that. Regional radio and things like that at the minute, it seems very mainstream. There’s no room on those stations for exposure of artists who aren’t very well known at the moment or haven’t got the backing. So, I’d have to disagree, I think Radio 1 is a good avenue for new music really.
T: It’s refreshing to hear someone take that stance because I only ever hear musicians like Jon McClure of Reverend & The Makers criticising the station.
L: Well you know I haven’t got as much experience as Reverend & The Makers and because of that I probably couldn’t really argue with them. But at the moment, I listen to a lot of Radio 1 and I hear a lot of new artists. I recently heard this artist from America called Leon Bridges and for me he sounds like a new Sam Cooke. I think he’s amazing, I’ve only heard one or two of his tracks, but he’s clearly an amazing artist and without Radio 1 I wouldn’t have ever heard of him.
T: I’m interested to hear your opinion on bands like All We Are who have gone to LIPA, associate themselves with Liverpool and yet aren’t actually from Liverpool. Is there something dishonest about bands like this doing this?
L: I haven’t got a problem with that because I love the melting pot created by a lot of different artists coming from different parts of the world – they shape our music really. It’s the same with a lot of major cities really.
As regards to them portraying themselves as from Liverpool, I don’t really know. I find it difficult because when I was trying to get myself known, even at little open mic nights, I was refused. I wasn’t allowed to play open mic nights in my own city. I think it was because at the time I was slightly different in appearance; my accent is strong and someone could have looked at me and thought I was a bit of a scally. I wore tracksuits, had a skinhead and I felt really disheartened because I felt really looked down upon. Predominantly the people who refused me weren’t even from this city and that really got me back up. I really think it’s disgusting, if I’m honest with you, that I couldn’t get up in a bar in my own city and play my music.
To give you a clearer answer, I don’t feel like it’s a bad thing, if that’s what they want to do, that’s what they want to do. Me – I’m a genuine Scouser – I’m from this city, born and bred, and I’m authentic in that way. It doesn’t concern me really, I am who I am, I do what I do and if they want to portray themselves as from Liverpool and they’re not from Liverpool then fair enough. I don’t think the people of Liverpool will buy into it so I don’t how much backing from the city they’d have. They might have backing from the scene but I don’t think you’d have much backing from the city in regards to portraying themselves as from the city.
T: Well Louis thanks for your time, I hope you enjoy your time down in London and I hope you enjoy your set at Liverpool International Music Festival.
L: Thank you very much mate, I hope you can come over and share a drink with me.