Tuesday, 11 October 2016


From left to right - Ethan, Ben, Joe and Sam
 THE STRAWBERRIES are a four-piece band from Hyde Park, Leeds.
Consisting of Sam Neil (vocals & guitar), Joe Dines (guitar), Ethan Sherwin (bass & vocals) and Ben Heath (drums) describe themselves as Rock 'n' Roll, Blues and Psychedelic.
In April of this year the band released their debut single 'Laburnum House' and just last week released their newest track 'Caramel Eyes'.
Despite only having two songs currently released this band this year made their Leeds Festival debut on behalf of This Feeling / Jack Rocks.
During the Saturday of AMP Live Fest I managed to get some time with The Strawberries to get a quick interview:

The boys of the band live at AMP Live Fest
How was it that you all first met?

Joe: (to Sam) 'You knew Ben.'
Sam: 'Yeah me and Ben probably knew each other the longest and then we found Ethan somehow in a miraculous way, I don't know how. Me and Joe kinda just knew each other around and we got speaking one night and realised we were both good at The Beatles impressions.'
Joe: 'Yeah we bonded over our fucking Beatles impressions and then they asked me to join the band and that's the full story of The Strawberries and how we met, we have a good time.
What was it that made you choose 'The Strawberries' as your name?

Ben: 'It just kinda happened.'
Sam: 'It's kinda ironic, it sounds a bit sweet doesn't it like 'oooh The Strawberries' but urm it's actually got reference to 60's psychedelic drugs.'

What would you say your biggest musical achievement to date has been?

Sam and Joe (simultaneously): 'Playing Leeds Fest.'
Joe: 'For This Feeling.'
Sam: 'That was a big one. That might just be our favourite.'
Joe: 'Urm yeah though the one we did in April, that was pretty heavy.'
Sam: 'I'd definitely say Leeds Fest.'
Ben: 'Yeah me too.'
Joe: 'I'd say Leeds Fest but we've had some pretty up there memories from a lot of shows.'

What are your favourite venues to play?

Sam: 'Ooooh, good question. I mean we've played The Rocking Chair before.'
Joe: 'The Brudenell. The Brudenell's fucking great, we love playing there. You can't beat that place.'
Sam: 'The Brudenell Social Club is like on our doorstep, it's sorta our local really. It's so good to have.'
Joe: 'Yeah it's about 10 minutes away.'
Ben: 'Best small venue in Leeds ain't it.'
Sam: 'Yeah, it's so good to have that on your doorstep it's like we take full advantage.'
Joe: 'It's also like how many fucking people we actually manage to meet in the Brudenell, just like to get chatting. It's a great social network. Not even just for Leeds' based bands but any bands passing through. Other than Brude there's The Ferret in Preston.'
Ben: 'We played The Ferret last night.'
Sam: 'Yeah that's a really good place.'
Joe: 'I also like Ku Bar in Stockton, I enjoy that one. We got looked after really well, that's something that is a dying art is promoting. A lot of people just want the money not to look after the bands and the music.

You can see Sam, Joe, Ethan and Ben at any of their upcoming dates as shown above.

How are you looking forward to your set at AMP Live Fest today?

Sam: 'Yeah we're buzzing for it.'
Joe: 'We've got a couple of new tunes.'
Sam: 'So we're looking forward to playing them and a couple of the oldies.'
Joe: 'We just released a new single literally yesterday.'
Sam: 'We're buzzing to play that.'
Joe: 'More than just the set there's some good bands on today as well.'
Sam: 'I think the thing with The Rocking Chair is that it's such a close intimate venue.'
Joe: 'You just can't help but get into it.'
Sam: 'You're always gonna have a good gig.'
Joe: 'I like that there are no barriers. Barriers get a bit annoying.'
Ben: 'Yeah, they're restrictive and you can't get as close as you would like.'
Joe: You don't feel like you're as close as you want to be, like when we played with Milburn we had that barrier and we were just a bit too far away.'
Sam: 'We were too far away to really connect.'
Ben: 'We kinda needed the barrier with that crowd though.'
Joe: 'That's true but I would have preferred no barrier and just some security stood at the front so people can be fucking closer and properly enjoying it. I mean when I go to gigs I don't know about anyone else but I stand right at the front and like really get into it. I like to be closer than anyone else. I think that's what a lot of venues are missing, the intimacy.

For those who haven't heard of many or any of the bands from the AMP Live Fest line-up, who would you recommend they listen to?

Joe: 'JUDAS.'
Sam: 'Yeah JUDAS, urm Glass Caves.'
Joe: 'Paves played yesterday, definitely recommend Paves if you haven't listened to them.'
Sam: 'To be honest the line-up is so strong it's difficult to chose names off the top of our heads, near enough every band is quality.
Joe: 'I mean today, Adelphi, they're about to play. Broken Witt Rebels as well. Kashmere, you know what everyone looking at this is ridiculous. Aaron's done a really good job and it's clear why it has sold out, he's done his job properly.

Do you prefer your own shows or festival sets?

Sam: 'There's such a big difference.'
Joe: 'That's a question that doesn't have a proper answer.'
Sam: 'I think they've both got their own merits.'
Joe: 'And downsides.'
Sam:' When it's your gig people are usually coming because they know a few or all of your songs and that's great.'
Joe: 'Festival's though you meet new people.'
Sam: 'Yeah, I don't know there's just something about festivals.'
Joe: 'I feel like with festivals you kinda go a little bit harder than you would at your own gigs because you've got to win a lot of people over because they're not just there to see you. They're there either for the full weekend or just the day.'
Sam: 'The insecurity of festivals can be a bonus as well cos you're treading on grounds that you're not comfortable with and that's always something we like to do as a band.'
Joe: 'Yeah, your feet are not quite touching the bottom of the swimming pool as such so you kinda really gotta force yourself to perform. I think you can feel it after because there's a sense of satisfaction.
Sam: 'Yeah definitely.'
Ben: 'I'd say Leeds Fest was one of the best gigs we've ever played, by far.'
Joe: 'That set felt like 20 seconds long. It honestly felt like 30 minutes of music passed by in 20 seconds.'

In terms of the band what is something you all want to fulfil?

Sam: 'There's a bit on our bucket list isn't there but I think we're quite content with doing whatever we do as long as we're making music we enjoy.'
Joe: 'Not being comfortable. That's one thing we want to fulfil, not ever being comfortable.'

Where in the world would you most like to gig?

Joe: 'Ooooh, fucking L.A. baby.'
Sam: 'Yeah, we really want to go to America. We've got an album written for an American tour, we ain't gonna release it though. It's a concept album.'
Joe: 'It's literally just about four sasquatches who form a band, that's all you need to know till you hear it.'
Ben: 'I'd quite like to go to Japan as well.'
Sam: 'Yeaaah, I've heard it's great.'
Ben: 'I've heard so many good things.'
Joe: 'Didn't Blossoms get their face on Kit-Kats or something? Can you imagine, Kit-Kats with your face on.'
Sam: 'I can't even imagine.'
Joe: 'I'd keep it till the day it expired then eat it on that day.'

Throughout the rest of 2016 and the beginning of 2017, what can we expect from The Strawberries?

Sam: 'Oooh big stuff.'
Ben: 'Another single.'
Joe: 'Possibly two depending.'
Sam: 'Depending on how time works out, if we get enough time then yeah two.'
Ben: 'Yeah, we're pretty busy for the rest of the year.'
Joe: 'Yeah, we're touring until the middle of December.'
Sam: 'And then January is looking big thought we can't say much about it yet. Really excited for that.'
Joe: 'Definitely a lot of new stuff.'
Sam: 'We want to change the set up as well don't we, we keep doing that.'
Joe: 'Yeah, playing new songs that's always exciting. That's all we can say about what's coming up really.'
Ben: 'It's top secret.'
Joe: 'I feel like we don't really know entirely where we're gonna be at that point. We are taking the rest of this year in it's stride because we do have about 15 or 16 shows left of this tour.'
Ben: 'With a few left to announce as well.'
Joe: 'And then the stuff in the new year so we'll just have to see what happens really.'

You can listen to the latest track from The Strawberries here:

You can watch the video for their track 'Laburnum House' here:

Written by Sophie.

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