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11.10.2022, Words by Billy Ward

"London's got a lot more weird": Sorry's 'Anywhere But Here' paints a haggard picture of inner-city life

Dummy sat down with Asha Lorenz to explore the band's sophomore record, London's changing creative landscape, and their journey so far...

First bubbling to the surface on YouTube in 2017 with their ‘Home Demo(ns)’ visual mixtape, it didn’t take long for North London band Sorry to grow a loyal following of their weird and abrasive world. Made up of best friends Asha Lorenz and Louis O’Bryen, and later joined by drummer Lincoln Barrett, multi-instrumentalist Campbell Baum and Marco Pini on electronics, Sorry have been making music together since their teenage years achieving cult status in the UK’s underground band scene with their un-apologetically DIY approach.

Their debut album ‘925’ released in 2020 against the backdrop of a looming national lockdown. But despite the sense of turmoil and societal collapse that record was born into, the group returned serve with a surprisingly upbeat take on the inner-happenings of their hometown. London features as a main character again on their new album ‘Anywhere But Here’ but the mood is different this time. Tapping into a disenfranchised, frustrated generation while documenting the powerless struggle of being in your early-to-mid-twenties, the group illuminate the shrouded corners of the city with flickering halogen bulbs and discordant guitars.

In the lead-up to the release of the new record, Dummy got some time on the phone with Asha to explore the process behind making the album, teaming up with Portishead’s Adrian Utley, and the current state London finds itself in.

Photography: Iris Luz

How did you approach making ‘Anywhere But Here’ compared to the previous record ‘925’?

“This one the songs are written in the space of two years, rather than over four years. We just wanted it to sound more cohesive and have a bit more energy in it and the songwriting to be a bit more mature and classic. I was listening to a lot of seventies music like Carly Simon, Randy Newman, and then still Arca and kind of weird dance music.

“I think just trying to merge the two worlds was what we wanted to do. Modern production but with older classic songs and trying to find the balance between that. With the recording process, I feel like loads of things on the last album stick out to me and they sound like they’re from too many different places, which is fine for that album. But I wanted to integrate all the sounds on this one.”

What influence did Portishead’s Adrian Utley have on the new album? 

“We like Portishead, their recordings are smooth and even the things that should stick out just feel like they’re part of the song. So I think he was good at being a bit more tekkers with everything because me and Louis aren’t that tekkers for making sure things sound cohesive, using the right amps, suggesting guitars and stuff. So yeah, that was good to keep focus on keeping it cohesive but the songs were there already.” 

The new album sounds more rough around the edges than the first, what was the thinking behind this? 

“I think it’s just more raw and also the liveness of it made it so we didn’t go over and over and over – which we did before. I guess it’s more just how it came out really. We wanted it to be different, like a second coming of the first one, a second coming of age.”

Is it true that the lyrics on the new record are little soundbites from conversations you’ve heard in pubs around London? 

“I think it’s just an amalgamation of them, like things I hear or watching movies or reading books. It’s kind of like a waking dream, like trying to make this new imagery out of these connections… like collaging with words and taking it from different places. Then yeah, we also used catch phrases, I wanted to choose the catch phrases to make it feel like the right balance of being personal but not too personal where people can’t see themselves in it or make their own stories in it.”

There’s a lot out there about your relationship as a band with The Windmill in Brixton, how much do you owe that venue and scene? 

“I’m sure I do owe it a lot. It seems to be in every single interview I’ve ever done. I think when there’s a space where it’s free and you’re able to be creative, there’s lots of young people there, I think naturally wherever that would be lots of good things would grow from it. I think even if it is mythologised a bit, I’m sure there’s so many rumours and it probably wasn’t what it seems, but I like the idea of how people think about it, especially from other places, so that maybe they’ll start a venue themselves or venues will recognise how important it is to have those spaces.”

Photography: Iris Luz

What are your feelings towards London nowadays? 

“I feel like London’s got a lot more weird. Just even within little shops and shit, like people who are rich just buying up places and not really putting much care into it. It feels like there’s a lot less care in places and places with actual authenticity just aren’t going to survive.

“It also just feels more hollow. It feels like the kind of person that is in London now is less creative. Space for fucking up or just having crazy ideas or whatever is being lost because it’s just not going to have the money behind it. But saying that I’m sure there is new pockets where there’s greatness happening. I’m a bit older now, so I kind of strayed from that a tiny bit.”

Rewinding the years now, how did your upbringing influence you musically?

“My dad was an artist, not an acclaimed one, but he lived in his studio when my parents broke up, so I spent a lot of time at his studio on the weekends when I slept there. He’d always be doing loads of paintings and then painting over them, and we’d watch loads of movies together.

“My mum’s family is Jewish and so they had these Jewish events where we’d always sing Bob Dylan or Beatles songs at the end of the night. So that was when I first loved singing along and learning all the classic songs.”

Tell us about how the band first come about… 

“Me and Louis, we put songs up on SoundCloud and I got a laptop and just did loads of shit on Logic, got obsessed with Logic, sampling movies and stuff and then me and Louis started making stuff together. We made the band like six/seven years ago and it’s just taken different forms since then, but the last three years has solidified in the five of us.

“We’d jam with our friends quite a lot but in terms of SoundCloud, it was always a bit of healthy competition between me and Louis, and we’d always be showing each other our songs and at the same time all of our friends kind of like the same music. They were also quite arty so there was this little arty vibe going on.”

How much have you developed as a group since the ‘Home Demo(ns)’ era? 

“Those will always hold a special place in my heart because they’re of a certain time and a lot of our friends are in them. We still try to keep in the same vein, we just like to keep doing ideas and keeping it playful, collaborating with people that we’re close with and don’t take things too seriously really.

“I think it’s just you know more what you’re trying to do. And naturally you become a better player or you take interest in new things. But yeah, it’s always important for us to keep the sound, and I think just keeping it random is kind of important.”

How are you feeling about wrapping up your UK tour at Electric Brixton in November? 

“I’m excited.”

Stream Sorry’s new brand new album ‘Anywhere But Here’ below:

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