Sorry’s Louis O’Bryen talks maturity, songwriting and new album

By Brett Herlingshaw

In our latest interview, Brett Herlingshaw meets Louis O’Bryen from Sorry to discuss maturity, songwriting, the new album and much more.

We meet Louis O’Bryen in the corner of the Brudenell Social Club. A place where bands such as Franz Ferdinand, Kaiser Chiefs, and Kate Nash have graced its stage. After just coming off a soundcheck, he seemed in good spirits and well in need of a drink. We start chatting about the new  album and the critical acclaim it has received. He seems enthused at the attention it has garnered – more from the fans than critics themselves. “Releasing an album and then kind of going and playing gigs and seeing who’s singing along or even just releasing an album and immediately playing it to people.”

The origins of the band began back when O’Bryen and Asha Lorenz were at school together. During their GCSEs, they both began recording and releasing songs on their own Soundcloud. Before coming together, realising they could make great music as a pair. When they began recording their own material, the pair were signed by Domino records. Since then, they have built a loyal fanbase with their deeply emotive, angsty and eclectic sound.

The band have once again outdone themselves with Anywhere But Here.  An album that retains Sorry’s emotion and lyrical playfulness but refocuses its sound into a more cohesive whole. With a focus on songs that sound a bit more accessible and are influenced by singer-songwriters of the 70s. The change in sound is welcome and came as a necessity to O’Bryen, who fears standing still. “I think this idea of stagnating is just scary to us. It’s quite scary to us – like the idea of not doing something different even just for ourselves but also for the listeners.” Even though they still love the songs from the first record, O’Bryen is happy to keep moving forward. “I think that was good for that album, but for this one, we wanted to do something different and make sure it sounded like it was from one world.”

O’Bryen seems at ease, which is a relief – as interviews read in preparation had labelled the band difficult to interview. This isn’t the case at all.  He is confident, relaxed, and witty – even when saying things which could be misconstrued in a written interview, simply retorting with “don’t quote me on that.” This leads us to the topic of maturity. Even while only in his mid-20s, O’Bryen displays a level of it that maybe wasn’t there on the first record. Reflecting on that time to now, he says, “When you’re younger, you have all these feelings, but you don’t really know how to access them or portray them. And I think our way of doing that was -we were just making light-hearted takes on emotional or deep subjects.”

We talk about his friendship with Lorenz (who I met briefly beforehand and who seemed very pleasant) and how in sync they seem to be when trading lyrics back and forth on tracks. “I think we’ve kind of got to a place where we can just kind of communicate without communicating if that makes sense.” This comes through in the lyricism of Sorry songs, where they make it sound so effortlessly easy. “We share a life with our friends and doing this as work – which is pretty crazy – and also just because we’ve been doing it for so long together, it comes quite naturally.”

One of the band’s roadies comes over – and Louis politely tells him we are in the middle of an interview. What I don’t know is that roadie is Frank – according to O’Bryen, is one of the best roadies working today. “Frank Wright is a genius because he is the hardest working man in music. His attention to detail is like no one I’ve ever met before.” The way O’Bryen describes him is electric, almost like Frank is a magician. “I’ll just be like ‘my guitar sounds a bit weird,’ I think the strap lock is broken. Then 20 minutes later, I’ll come back to my guitar – and it’s like shined and fixed.” It sounds like every touring band could use a Frank in their back pocket.

As our interview inevitably draws to a close, O’Bryen leaves to hang with some of the band and crew before the show. The Brudenell slowly begins to fill with excited gig-goers and a palpable sense of optimism.

You can buy Anywhere But Here from

Words & Interview: Brett Herlingshaw