SORRY / “People will look up to you whether you’re bad or not”

It’s an unassuming Monday night in March, around 11pm. Fresh from supporting Sunflower Bean in the club room at OPEN, London upstarts Sorry are thirsty for a wild night out. Fat chance. Enticed by the prospect of £1 shots (practically a fairytale compared to the prices at home) we end up at local hotspot The Mischief. Tequila is promptly consumed, pool cues acquired.

Sorry are one of our new music tips for Latitude Festival 2018.
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‘Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want’ rattles out of battered speakers as bassist Campbell Baum makes himself comfortable on a wooden pew at the back of the room. He has neat, black hair and a small, silver ring in his left ear. In a green shirt and braces, he looks like Ian Curtis.

What’s your favourite Smiths song?

Campbell: I’ve always liked ‘Hand In Glove’ because it was the first thing that ever came out. I like hearing a band’s first single. My favourite Morrissey track… ‘Hold On To Your Friends’, maybe. That or ‘Suedehead’. I saw him at O2 Academy Brixton the other day. My Mum got the ticket for me for Christmas. I hinted.

How was the show?

Campbell: It was okay. He did ‘How Soon Is Now?’ but there were a few that he missed out. He usually does ‘Meat Is Murder’… you know, all the ones that say something. The one about vegetarianism. He did loads of really political songs like ‘The Bullfighter Dies’ and ‘Margaret On The Guillotine’.

What can the world learn from Morrissey?

Campbell: I think people consider him too outspoken to actually process anything he says. I think people like to hate him. He’s not influenced by anyone, I think that’s important. He says what he thinks, which I think in a democratic society is an important thing, even if you don’t like it. He doesn’t follow everyone else. Some of the stuff he says… he’s not… as much as he’s outspoken he’s not necessarily a bad guy because he says that he’d rather… what was it he said? I don’t know, he fights for animal rights which is more than a lot of people.

Do you think that he goes too far sometimes?

Campbell: Yeah, but, you know… no one ever said anything by being completely neutral or impartial. The only way you ever get anything across is by being slightly eccentric. Not necessarily controversial, but saying more than you need to. With anything artistic, you’ve always got to go a bit further for anyone to actually notice it. You’ve got to romanticise sometimes.

* * * * *

To our right sits guitarist Louis O’Bryen. Louis was boisterous before we even left the venue, and he’s had several more drinks since then.

Do you like Morrissey?

Louis: No! Does Campbell like Morrissey? Did he just talk to you about Morrissey? I don’t condone Morrissey at all. I hate him. He’s a dick.

Don’t you have a favourite Smiths song?

Louis: I like the one where it’s like “I had a job and then I lost a job”. Sorry doesn’t condone The Smiths. I appreciate everything The Smiths have done for music but I just don’t like them.

If ‘This Charming Man’ comes on you don’t groove a little?

Louis: No.

What kind of music do you like?

Louis: Neil Young. That’s where me and Campbell really connect.

Who would win in a fight, Morrissey or Neil Young?

Both: Neil Young!

Campbell: Definitely Neil Young. Morrissey is too sensitive.

Louis: Also, Neil Young was born sounding like an old man.

Campbell: He’s got quite an angelic voice, though.

Louis: It’s angelic, no doubt, but it’s always been like ‘wow, you kind of sound a bit like you’re 80’. What’s Morrissey up to nowadays? I bet he’ll do a John Lydon and be in a butter advert.

He published his autobiography in 2013.

Campbell: I didn’t read his book. I got it for Christmas a few years ago and I only read the first few lines. I can imagine it’s really bad.

He made Penguin publish it as a Penguin Classic.

Campbell: He did! The outrage that came from that! There was literally an interview I watched, with a really big Morrissey fan who was sat their wearing a Morrissey t-shirt and Morrissey glasses and a really famous writer and they were having it off on BBC News about whether it should have been a Penguin Classic. The Morrissey fan was just like “Morrissey’s been my idol for my whole life, you don’t know how much he’s helped me”.

Louis: If Morrissey wants it to be a Penguin Classic, it shouldn’t be a Penguin classic.

Have you read any other musicians’ books?

Louis: Patti Smith’s ‘Just Kids’, that’s an amazing book. Viv Albertine from The Slits’ as well.

Campbell: I’m reading that ‘Meet Me in the Bathroom’. You know, the one that that journalist wrote. It’s weird but interesting. I like the 9/11 chapter, where it gets a bit dark.

* * * * *

The band are signed to Domino Records, the same prolific label that Arctic Monkeys and Franz Ferdinand call home, among many others.

How did you guys get in with Domino Records?

Louis: Basically they just came to loads of our gigs and then offered us a deal. It went back and forth for ages and we decided to do it. We wouldn’t have signed any other deal. We didn’t want to sign a deal at all, but just because of the music that they promote, like Alex G, Elliott Smith, Arctic Monkeys, Porches, Angel Olsen… bands like that who they’ve believed in loads, we were like, okay.

* * * * *

Vocalist Asha Lorenz is playing pool with Kevin Rowsell, a close friend of the band and brother of Wolf Alice’s Ellie. It’s hard to tell who’s winning.

Recently, I referred to you as a South London band in a blog post but I was wrong, wasn’t I?

Asha: We’re from North, but I guess we gig more in South London so that’s why we’re affiliated with that scene.

From an outsider’s perspective it seems like South London is the place to be right now.

Asha: I can’t really speak for South London. We started playing gigs there, all of our friends are there, everyone’s hangout place is The Windmill which is situated in South. It’s a scene, but it’s people from everywhere. People in the South London scene aren’t actually from there. It’s more like where you play the gigs, it’s not like a rap crew.

Who do you like playing shows with?

Asha: Shame, Kevin Rowsell, Glows, Jacob Slater, urm…

Your music is very unique. There’s bits of trap, hip-hop, drum and bass mixed in with guitar music. Why make music like that?

Asha: I love rap, I grew up on hip-hop. The most important thing anyone’s ever said to me was ‘go with the times’. If you’re caught in the dark ages no one’s gonna respect you, you’re not gonna bring anything forward. Like HMLTD. They’ve created this cult which is really hard to do in this day and age when no one’s got an identity to ascribe to. Whenever anyone cusses them I think they’re obviously jealous. Even if they were shit back in the day, at least they had something, a community, to be a centre of. People will look up to you whether you’re bad or not.

What can we expect next from Sorry?

Asha: Another mixtape.

Why do you make mixtapes instead of EPs?

Louis: The reason that me and Asha are in a band is because we sent demos to each other…

Asha: …and we like hip hop…

Louis: …so now we just want to keep that vibe going.

Asha: And it’s quite funny that people buy our tapes when they don’t even have a tape machine. It’s more fun to have something tangible that you can collect.

Is there an album coming?

Asha: Yeah, next January.

Louis: It’s gonna be the best album you’ve ever heard.

Asha: Don’t say that!

Have you got a working title?

Louis: Working title is Asha And Louis Go To Town. Asha And Louis To The Club. Let’s go to the club.

Will we be seeing you again in Norwich soon?

Asha: Hopefully, Norwich is lit. We love The Mischief.

Louis: I wanna come to Norwich all the time.


Showgirl is out now.

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