And like that, it’s March. How did that happen?
Our latest Track of the Week comes from BIMM Manchester’s Joe Berry, aka Zen Like State. Their debut release “BLUEWITHYOU” dropped on Valentine’s Day, and their sound aims to blast you off into musical galaxies with R&B, 80s pop and funk-inspired sound.
What was your inspiration when you began writing the track?
I started writing the track last summer. It was lonely during lockdown, and at that moment in time, I was not aware that we’d be in lockdown for a whole year! I imagined being on holiday with someone I loved, and that’s where the initial idea for the track came from.
Are there any artists that inspire you when writing?
I listen to a lot of different music and various genres, so it’s difficult to pinpoint where my sound or writing style comes from. I could really like the snare drum in a Pink Floyd record and then listen to folk music the next day and listen for chord progressions. My heroes are Julian Casablancas, John Frusciante, and John Mayer, but they don’t necessarily inspire everything I do.
What is key to your sound, and how do you make your music stand out?
I don’t think about how I’m going to make something stand out when working on a song. I like working on drums and guitars more than anything, and I hope that by being genuine and honest with myself I’ll stand out.
How does your songwriting process work?
Many songs start with me humming a vocal melody in the shower or on a walk. Primarily, I get ideas by listening to music every chance I get. Then, when I have an idea, it’s just about making sure the chords flow nicely, and the chorus is strong.
I’m a big sonic nerd too, so I spend most of the process manipulating sounds. It’s easy for me to write songs, but I’m a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to actual sounds.
Describe your sound in 3 words…
“Try For Yourself.”
How has studying at BIMM helped you develop as an artist?
The people I’ve met at BIMM have been the driving force in my career. Seeing friends release great music, living and writing songs with folks, joining bands. It’s not an experience you get to have every day. I’ve been fortunate with the people I’ve met at BIMM and the people to who they, in turn, have introduced me too.
What’s next for you?
I’m actually in a couple of bands (The Rants, The Wine Fund) alongside doing this. I’ll keep making songs in my spare time, but my focus will be getting into the studio with both bands and making some more records in the next few months.