Matt Berry of The Berries told us about the genesis of their refreshing rock, anchored to experiments and to a close relationship with the guitar and a series of sounds that embrace distant styles and genres. Berryland the title of the band’s sophomore album, is a territory in which dreams, hopes, desires and ideas converge in The Berries’ album, which will be released on September 20th via Run For Cover Records. Berryland is a complex idea and so we went into Matt’s mind trying to grasp the anatomy of The Berries’ music.
Northern Transmissions: Were their any obstacles to making the new album?
Matt Berry: Overall, I found the process of making this record to be pretty joyful and breezy. The only real struggle was trying to achieve certain sounds when in all truth, I have no real idea what I’m doing when it comes to recording and engineering. There were some headaches in that department for sure.
NT: Do you find your songwriting style has evolved over the years?
MB: I’m generally happy with all of the records I’ve made. It’s been really fun and gratifying to be able to make records in the first place and Berryland and the Big Bite record coming out later this year are definitely the best things I’ve ever worked on or participated in. It’s nice to see some development within myself as far as songwriting goes. I think as time has gone on, I’ve found myself feeling more confident and focused with regards to music, which lends itself to a better sense of identity or individuality within the music. Conviction is a hell of a drug.
NT: Are you a fan of experimentation in the studio?
MB: Experimentation in a studio setting is a fairly new concept for me. I’m used to working in recording situations where there is no time for that sort of thing. . . the get in-get out approach. Now that home recording has become a bigger part of my life, so has the ability to mess around with sound and find things that feel unique and interesting.
NT: What is your biggest concern about humanity?
MB: I think the ways in which we get discouraged to the point of doing nothing is the root of some serious evil in this world. I’ve participated in that way of thinking myself. Regardless of how hopeless the world feels, how fucked it all seems, especially now, we should all try, you know? Vote, organize, protest, donate your time/money where you can. It’s a newer concept in my life to not be so nihilistic, but I’m working on it and I think everyone should. (steps off soapbox)
NT: How did the songs on the new album take form?
MB: Much like the previous record, the writing process of this album spanned a couple years. There are some very old songs and very new songs. I just picked the ones that felt right together. Certain sections of the album highlight certain times in my life and I wanted to put together something that felt like an honest follow up to the last record.
NT: What place is “Berryland”? What are the fundamental laws of this “utopian island”?
MB: The name came from this kind of inside joke I have with my girlfriend. . . A communist utopia in the woods that would function as a small town where only my closest friends and I would live. It would be called Berryland. The joke of it is that even though it’s intended to be this communal, shared experience, I am the king and ruler and the place is named after me, kind of hypocritical or something. It’s a lot less funny typing it out. . . The name felt suiting for the last time I would make a record mostly by myself. The idea of Berryland, as a place and as an actual album, are both very self-indulgent.
NT: What is the “Lowest form of life” you talk about? How was that song born?
MB: This song is kind of about what I talked about earlier in this interview. People who see all the hell around them, and just allow it to exist. That is the lowest form of life. Ignorance is bliss and all that bullshit. Say nothing can be done and nothing will be done. (steps off soapbox again)
NT: Many of your songs have very spatial/cosmic atmospheres. On which planet would you like to play? Why?
MB: Earth is fine for now.
interview by Gianluigi Marsibilio