Louis recently told me that the music scene is very polite at the minute, and he intends to shake it up. Louis Berry is fierce, gritty, in your face rock and roll with a rebellious charm. His lyrics are straight-talking, no nonsense and full of attitude. His voice is raspy with a bluesy undertone, and scouse to it’s core. He got a publishing deal from his first ever gig (which I just happened to be at), and his second bagged him a record deal. Sounds too easy? Once you’ve heard his music, listened to his lyrics, and most importantly, seen him play live – you’ll understand. That was 2 years ago, and now the Ministry Of Sound’s Louis Berry is firmly locked into the rollercoaster ride which has just begun. With a debut EP under his belt, national airplay, and a headline tour on the way – this is just the beginning for the lad from Liverpool.
Ellie: 2015 has been a crazy year for you. What are you up to at the moment?
Louis: I’m supporting Saint Raymond on tour at the moment. I’m on this tour, then I’m straight down to London to do a bit of filming and that, and then I’m off to Nashville for a month because I’m recording over there.
Ellie: What are you doing in Nashville?
Louis: I’m working with Jacquire King who’s a producer over there. He’s worked with Kings of Leon, James Bay, Norah Jones and that.
Ellie: No way! How did that come about?
Louis: Just through my label. I mean these people are reaching out to me. I’ve been in talks with the likes of Paul Epworth (who’s worked with Adele and Coldplay), and Mark Ronson. The thing is, I need to get my album finished, and they can’t get in the studio until like March at the earliest. So just I’m keeping the doors open for working with them in the future, because the album will be finished by mid-march. I’ll know how it’s going to look and feel after the four/five weeks I’m spending in America.
Ellie: In terms of writing songs, what’s the process like for you?
Louis: I don’t try and write a song really, I just sit down and listen, and let a song come to me, as opposed to writing it. Someone asked me the other day “how would you describe songwriting, does it come naturally to you?” I feel like I’m given it, I know that sound a bit weird, but I do, I feel like I’m given it and I try and relate to what comes to me. Honestly, I really look at it in a spiritual way. But for me that’s the way it is, it’s just the way it comes to me.
Ellie: Tell us about your debut EP. It’s been out a little while now. How did you decide on those 4 tracks?
Louis: That was a mixture. It was a bit of a compromise between me and the record label. Basically, they didn’t want me to put my best songs on the EP, they wanted to save them for the album. I mean, we’re already planning second and third albums, dya know what I mean? We don’t even know what this first one’s gonna do yet because there’s such an abundance of songs. So, what we had to do was to pick ones that would hit the mark, but wouldn’t necessarily be our strongest songs. So with the EP, we wanted to we wanted to introduce people to the kinda thing that I do, without giving it away completely. I’ve got some new music coming out soon. There might just be an A and a B-side, rather than actually being a single as such. The really good stuff is coming though. No-one’s ever heard any of these songs, I’ve never even played them live.
Ellie: Back in April, you were named “The One To Watch” at the GIT Award? Was that a lot of pressure?
Louis: I wouldn’t say it was pressure at all, I mean that was the third time I’d ever played, ‘cos my first gig I got the publishing deal, second gig I got the record deal, and then the third got I won an award. So I was like “what have I done to get the award?” I haven’t even done anything, ya know what I mean? haha. But I felt like I had to, I wouldn’t say live up to it, but… I think the biggest expectations come from me, because I put myself in a position where I feel like I’m here to represent what Liverpool’s really about, not what the Liverpool scene is about. So for me, any pressure that’s on me is self-inflicted.
Ellie: Is the pressure a good thing though?
Louis: Yeh definitely. I love the pressure, I thrive under pressure. It’s always the people who say they’re not nervous who aren’t that good. I’ve seen people who are terrified and they’re amazing on stage. I get really nervous before I go on. I think it’s the level of performance that I want to give people that makes me nervous. I wanna make it as exciting as possible for them, and for them to be excited, I have to be excited.
Ellie: You’ve gigged all summer, what have been some of the highlights?
Louis: I think playing at Kendal Calling, ya know. During sound checking and stuff, I was like “wow, I’m gonna be playing on the same stage that Snoop Dog’s playing later on tonight man” – that was some serious stuff man. That was heavy because it was like my sixth, seventh gig, something like that. So that was a highlight yeah, but travelling and things like that too. Seeing people who aren’t from my home city, and don’t necessarily know me in any real way, singing my songs back to me. The night I played in Manchester was magic, like actually amazing though. To see a scouser in Manchester performing, I wouldn’t imagine it’d be the easiest thing to do. And I’m quite broad scouse, but there was an amazing reception.
Ellie: You said travelling was a highlight for you. What’s it like on the road? Are you a big party animal?
Louis: Haha it depends, it depends. Sometimes I can be a right moody b**tard, and I’m just like “I’m not playing out, that’s it”. So sometimes we party, and sometimes we just kick back and chill. But to be honest, when I’m playing at festivals I’m only there for the time I’m playing. As soon as I’m off stage I’m onto the tour bus and onto somewhere else. As a listener, I haven’t actually been to that many festivals. I’ve played in festivals before I’ve been to them which is a bit mad. I’ve got some big festivals I’m playing at next year already lined up but I can’t say which yet. I actually can’t.
Ellie: OK so we can’t talk festivals, but we can talk about your first headline tour. Are you looking forward to it?
Louis: Yeh I’m massively looking forward to getting out on my own tour. The reception I’ve been getting on this tour has been brilliant, so it’s gonna be good, I’m really looking forward to it.
Ellie: What’s next for Louis Berry?
Louis: Recording the album in America, getting back from America with it, releasing it, and it going platinum haha. If I don’t make it platinum on this first album, I’m gonna pull my pants down on stage – I’ve got a bet on with the record label.
Ellie (*After I stopped blushing…): Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
Louis: It depends, who knows where it goes? I’m just gonna try and stay alive haha. Nah I’m looking to take over and be the biggest male solo artist in the UK, and hopefully in the world one day – aim high!