INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN
Sherry Counsellors, an indie pop band from Stoke-on-Trent, have been together for almost a decade, and in that time, have gained a reputation for playing a diversely-influenced sound, which has been met with much acclaim from critics and fans everywhere.
The talented five-piece are also known for their strong live sets, which they’ve played at some of the most iconic UK music venues, including Liverpool’s Cavern Club.
It also forms the basis for their recent EP, ‘As Nature Intended’.
The group seem to be on a roll at the moment, with one of the tracks from the new EP currently topping the worldwide indie pop charts, and now they also have the top three songs in the UK indie pop chart.
I spoke to lead vocalist Keith Mellor about what has made them such a good, successful band.
How did the band first get together?
Me and Chris Dunleavy had been writing and performing acoustically for a while and then we decided to go for the full band.
We met Matt Lewis who initially played drums, but soon showed he was a master guitar player.
Chris Reynolds then came in and added the funky bass, kilt and trumpet, and finally Steve Handley was the latest addition, who has really added a rock dimension to the group.
How did the name Sherry Counsellors come about?
It was very difficult to find a name that hadn’t already been taken!
I was having a few beers at an acoustic night and it just came it to me, I called Chris D and he liked it, so we went for it!
It’s just a pity no-one can spell it!
How would you describe your music?
We are usually placed in the ‘Indie-Pop’ bracket, which is fine by us, as we are currently Number 1 in the Indie-Pop chart in the UK and Globally!
We try to keep everything with a Sherry Counsellors vibe to it, but other than that, a good song is a good song!
In regards to songwriting, is it a group effort or does there tend to be a member of the band who writes the majority of the songs?
The songwriting is always a group effort, every member brings something to each song.
I can bring lyrics, Matt could bring a riff, Steve a drum beat and it can be transferred into a song.
Our main creative force is Chris D, who can often bring complete songs, and is the person we look up to.
What are your musical influences?
Each member of the band has different musical influences, ranging from rock, indie, brass bands, ska, and all these melt together to create the Sherry Counsellors sound.
You’re from Stoke-on-Trent. What is your view of the local music scene currently?
The Stoke-on-Trent music scene has always produced fantastic bands and the current scene is no different.
The bands are taking their music out of Stoke-on-Trent and around the country, which is very pleasing to see, and they are getting the recognition they deserve and putting Stoke on the map as a musical hotspot.
When you’re in the studio, how does the recording process go?
Our album was meticulously recorded with layers, choirs, additional instruments and very high production values.
We all help to produce the records but Matt is our technical guru!
We are proud of the record and how it sounds, but for our new EP we wanted to try and capture the live sound, so that’s how we recorded it – LIVE.
I think it really works and we are very happy with the result.
How is it for you playing live?
Playing live is always amazing and we are very lucky to have played some fantastic gigs in our time and are still getting the opportunities to do so.
Watching the crowd react to our new songs and classic tracks is always the best feeling and we try hard to engage the them throughout the show.
Our fans are just the best fans in the world!
What have you got lined up for the near future?
We have a headline festival appearance at Yewstock this Saturday, more festival appearances during the late summer and then onto Manchester and a big local show at the end of the year.
We also have a special single to release later on in the year and are recording a new EP.
Should keep us busy!
What’s the long-term aim of the band?
To keep going as long as the fans want us.
Next year will be our tenth anniversary, something we are extremely proud of.
We are still headlining festivals, packing our venues, topping charts and the fans, both old and new are still enjoying us after all this time.
We are not finished yet, there is a lot more to come!
‘AS NATURE INTENDED’ IS AVAILABLE TO STREAM OR DOWNLOAD FROM THE BAND’S OFFICIAL SOUNDCLOUD PAGE www.soundcloud.com/sherrycounsellors