Three-piece BERRIES combine infectious yet off-kilter rhythms with a growling rock sound, and apply plenty of riot grrrl attitude to such essential singles as “Wall of Noise” and “We Are Machines”.
Signed to Xtra Mile Recordings; Holly Carter (Guitar / Vocals), Lauren Cooper (Bass) and Lucie Hartmann (Drums) dropped debut album How We Function last year, attracting immediate widespread attention with such esteemed tastemakers as Huw Stephens, Steve Lamacq and John Kennedy all calling themselves fans.
This month sees the trio hit the road and head out on a spring tour. Tickets are available with Gigantic - CLICK HERE to book!
We spoke to BERRIES to ask what International Women’s Day means to them, their experiences of sexism in the music industry and how music can be a catalyst for raising awareness and progress.
How did you all meet and get started as a band?
Lauren and I (Holly) bonded over our love of Hendrix and guitar in our teens so it was inevitable that we would end up in a band together one day. We both landed in London and decided to have a jam and BERRIES began. We met Lexi through her band The Franklys, we shared many stages together and became good mates. We have always loved her playing style and felt she would be a perfect fit. She brings so much passion and energy to the band and we are very excited to have her on board for the next chapter.
There’s a wide sphere of sound in your music, ranging from melodic indie rock to blistering grunge with a little bit of math rock chucked in for good measure. Who are your influences?
Lexi - am I allowed to say my band mates? I don’t know what the fuck they’re playing half the time and Holly’s weird guitar lines are inspiring alone. Lauren and I love to make it heavy, and both of their high levels of musicianship just inspire me to play better and experiment more. They take me out of my comfort zone, so their ability is what inspires me when writing with BERRIES.
Holly - My main influence has always been jagged riffy guitarists. Carrie Brownstein, Hendrix, Simon Neil, Laura Mary Carter, John Frusciante. Band wise, I currently have Quasi and LIINES on repeat. But I would also like to mirror what Lexi said and say that being able to bounce off Lauren and Lexi's playing is a huge part of the writing process.
Lauren - I love Biffy Clyro and the Chilis! I started as a guitarist, but I’ve actually found since primarily playing the bass, the music I listen to influences my playing a lot more. Oh and I suppose Holly and Lexi! No but it is true we really push each other to think outside of the box and to make music that excites us.
Last year saw you drop debut LP How We Function. It tackles issues of sexism, mental health, and alienation. How do you think music plays a part in tackling these problems?
We think it's really important to normalise these topics so people feel they can open up and share, it's important to start conversations. For us, it's stuff we have lived through and dealt with and struggled with and so it makes sense that it comes out in our songwriting. With the style of writing, it's usually not just laid out on a plate; we like people to interpret the writing in their own way and make their own observations on what it could be about. Music has always been a huge outlet for us (and millions of other people) and so it's so important to tackle these things through music as it's something so many of us have in common.
And what’s the reaction been like from listeners since your albums release?
It's been so amazing, we have been selling vinyl all over the world which is such a huge deal for us. There has been so much appreciation and recognition from people we really respect in the industry and people who have been following us from the beginning so we really could not be happier with the reaction. We have gained a lot of new followers and friends and people who genuinely seem to love the album, it's a great feeling.
What does International Women’s Day mean to you?
Sometimes it's good to stop, take a moment and reflect. We always see it as an opportunity to show gratitude to the amazing women in our lives and to recognise their achievements.
Have ever experienced sexism in the music industry? And what additional problems can women be faced with as performing artists or being in a band?
Yes we have.
Last year we played Frank Turner’s Lost Evenings event in Berlin and we were included on a Women in Music panel alongside several women who work in the music industry and unfortunately it seems we have all experienced sexism throughout our careers.
The room was packed for the panel and so many people were coming up to us afterwards to say that they had no idea that it's really a 'thing' that women are sometimes treated differently in the music industry. So, it is so important to have these conversations and it felt as though the audience found it really eye opening that we have been asked to leave dressing rooms before as it was ‘just for bands not for girlfriends,’ and how people are constantly telling us how surprised they are that they enjoyed our show as they ‘weren’t expecting it’.
It often feels like there is an extra hurdle for us to jump before we even get started! It was great to open up to the audience about these issues and to have them seem genuinely interested and honestly quite alarmed.
This month sees you hit the road! What can we expect from your upcoming headline dates?
We’re super excited as it’s our first ever headline tour! We will be playing a whole load of our album tracks, some of which we haven’t played live before. The last few shows and tours we have done have been so awesome so we feel super ready and raring to get back on the road again. We will also be joined by some of our favourite bands along the way which we are absolutely buzzing about.
And following that, are you looking forward to playing support for indie icons Sleeper next month?
I have wanted to watch Sleeper play live for so long so to be able to do that and also perform alongside them is an absolute dream. I spent so many endless hours growing up glued to my CD player with Sleeper blaring out. It will be a very special show.
What does the rest of 2023 hold in store for Berries? Any plans to hit the studio again soon, and will you be gracing the stages of festivals this summer?
We are currently writing our second album to be released early next year. And we will be heading into the studio over the summer to record it which is very exciting. We definitely plan to throw some good festival slots and live dates into the mix, but we are in full writing mode currently and so excited for the direction the new tracks are heading. We will also be dropping a new single at the end of March to coincide with our headline tour.
27/03 BERRIES – The Bodega, Nottingham
29/03 BERRIES – Gullivers, Manchester
31/03 BERRIES – Oslo, London