I was fortunate enough to chat to rising Scouse star Louis Berry on the London leg of his UK tour. After signing deals and receiving the One to Watch GIT Award for 2015 having played only two gigs, the charismatic 23 year old has a big year ahead touring and recording his debut album in Nashville. We spoke about musical heritage, his accidental route to rock and roll and why we need music to say something.
Obviously Liverpool’s got an amazing musical heritage and a great scene at the minute, how has that influenced your growth as an artist?
I’ve never been part of the Liverpool music scene so I don’t really come from there but Liverpool heritage definitely, it’s everything I’m about. We’re quite rebellious and we feel like outsiders to the rest of the country if you know what I mean. I think it does shape us as people, which then shapes us as artists because of the way we think.
What makes you different from the rock and roll revival stuff that’s happening at the minute?
Where mine comes from. It’s not mine personally – rock and roll. I grew up listening to rap, hip hop as well as mainstream music. I like all kinds of music like blues and that but I didn’t grow up listening to it, didn’t have an interest until quite recently really. I went to Ireland because Liverpool and Ireland are pretty strongly connected and that’s sort of our heritage.
I tried to play traditional Irish music but it didn’t feel natural to me, the way they change the chords is a bit different so I tried to put a little skip in it, put it on a lecky guitar and it ended up like rock and roll. I think that’s what makes me different. It’s authentic what I do, I feel like I’ve recreated it.
What inspires some of the imagery behind your lyrics?
I feel like it’s just lyrical depth, a lot of people don’t really get that deep into music any more. They just listen to the charts or whatever and just write a song about a girl and how much you love her, but I protest that kind of thing. Obviously I do have emotions as well, but I’m trying to touch on a lot of different things in one song.
When times are troubled people need something a little bit deeper or harsher to reflect how they feel, something to connect to and back in history I feel like that’s what’s happened, but now we’ve got a divided people. I mean I listen to chart music, I love chart music, but if it’s all you’re listening to then your spectrum is very small. You’re just living in a box – the music has got no depth to it.
And then on the other side we’ve got people who are looking for that depth and trying to find something that means a little bit more than what they’re given.
A lot of people feel like there’s a lack of political and social awareness in music, do you feel like music should be tackling these kind of issues?
I think it has to because music is what links people together and it allows people to think as one but not all thinking the same thing. You can listen to a song and it can mean a million different things to you, but it might affect the next person differently. If we touch on these things within music then it definitely forces people to think.
Let’s not give people answers, they’re being told enough as it is. Everyone’s telling them what to think. I’m not telling people what to think, I’m just telling them to think. That’s the difference and I think music has to do that.
What advice do you have for young musicians?
Just keep it fucking real. Speak about something that means something to people and you can’t go wrong with that cos you’ll always touch people. Even if you’ve touched one person out of ten, so long as it’s a real person that you’ve touched. So speak the truth, that’s what I’d say.