Derry’s Cherym have been something of a tour de force on the Northern Irish music scene. The trio offer up a refreshing take on pop punk that you’ll find hard to shake from your head after just one listen. They’ve also cemented their status as one of the must see live bands too, securing rave reviews from critics and continuing to gain fans wherever they play. Having watched their journey from the beginning, it was a pleasure to catch up with them following the release of their brand new EP, Hey Tori.
How did the label signing with Alcopop! Records come about?
We have been a fan of the label since we were literal teenagers!!! Bands like Dream Nails, Cheerbleederz and Peaness are bands that had a huge inspiration on our music and world. We approached Jack, (thought we would chance our arm lol) and sent him a ton of emails about why he should listen to our music, AND HE REPLIED! We just happened to be recording in the studio a few months later just outside Birmingham and he agreed to meet with us. We are still completely amazed even today, that we finally have a label – and not only that but one who we feel is such a perfect match to us as a band.
Throughout October you’ll be embarking on a UK wide tour, is the overwhelming feeling one of excitement or are there nerves in there too?
Wow, I think both but yes, definitely a lot of nerves. This is going to be our debut tour in the UK, we have tried to make it happen before and it wasn’t meant to be, SO NOTHING IS GOING TO GET IN OUR WAY THIS TIME! We have been prepping for this for so long it feels a little surreal to think we just have over a month until it happens EEK. I really hope they like us over there. I’ve bought a brand new tour worthy amp just for the occasion and this is the first time I’ve actually invested in good equipment since the band started so there is no backing out now LOL! Also really excited to be on the road again with the girls, I feel like it’s been too long.
Is there a particular venue that you would love to play a show at?
Um, are we talking arenas or what because I realllllyy wouldn’t object to playing Wembley lol. No, in all honestly there’s something kinda nostalgic about playing in a small pub. Our first gigs were in small pubs. We’ve packed them out, we’ve played to 3 people. They feel most like home. The energy and response you get from a crowd in a small venue is unbelievable, it feels intimate. You control the room for the next half an hour and I love that. I’m super excited to play Paper Dress Vintage in London because all I have heard is good things. We also played Gorilla in Manchester too for Manc punks festival and I would absolutely love to play there again, the gig was ace. One of my all time favourites actually!
Your first EP came out back in May 2018 and ultimately started you on this road to success, what are your hopes for Hey Tori?
I think our biggest hope of this EP is to keep climbing on our musical journey and get a good reception from fans and hopefully new listeners. Hey Tori is filled with our best songs yet and we hope that you find them as catchy and fun as we do.
Covid had a monumental impact on all of us but did it impact on the writing and recording of the new EP or was it all wrapped up beforehand?
We started writing during the pandemic since we were flat out on the road beforehand, we didn’t have any time to write or record since we were constantly gigging. So I think that Covid, in a way, had a positive impact on our writing since it gave us time to really sit down and write both individually and as a band. With recording, we were able to fly over to Birmingham in October 2020 and record with a wonder producer, George Perks, in VADA studios. In short, the pandemic definitely turned things on its head but we came out of it with some banging tunes.
If we only had time to listen to one track from the new EP, what would it be and why?
All the songs on the EP are special in their own way, whether it was how they were written, the story behind them or whatever the case, but personally I think “She’s Enough Going On” is one to look out for. I chose this one because it was a full demo which Hannah had brought to the studio (which we weren’t even supposed to record) but we went for it anyway, Nyree and I (Alannagh) had 40 minutes to learn the song during our lunch and we went into the live room and it just sounded amazing. It’s such a fun and poppy song and my personal favourite on the EP, but even more so because we had never played it as a band before recording and we just went for it in the live room in a couple of takes and it sounded class.
In 2019, you picked up the Oh Yeah Contender award at the NI Music. How much of a boost was this and did it open a few doors to new opportunities?
It was an amazing opportunity and one of our biggest achievements at that time! It helped spread the good word of Cherym which helped us gain alot of new fans that probably wouldn’t have heard of us if it hadn’t been for the NI Music Prize award. Obviously with Covid we weren’t able to tour and gig and use the title as much as we wanted to but it really was an amazing achievement to receive!
You’ve suggested previously that one of the reasons for forming Cherym was to boost the representation of female artists in the music scene. Three years on from your debut, do you think things have improved?
Definitely! There’s a lot more female and non binary bands coming to the front and getting the hype that they well and truly deserve! It’s great to see people who represent all communities doing what we are doing and when the next generation to come, enters into the scene and they see people just like them. I hope it empowers them and makes them feel safe, to do be able to do what we (and so many others in our scene) do.
Your live performances have played a big part in your success and helped you grow your fanbase. How do you consistently maintain such high energy performances?
I mean, how can you not? When the crowd are dancing and having a good time and everyones safe, we just get such a rush and really get to be in our elimate. It’s just natural. Its what we were born to do. I feel on top of the world when we gig and we hope everyone else is up there with us!
Several artists from NI have highlighted that they felt the only way to achieve success was to move away. Do you feel this is the case and do you see yourselves staying in NI for the foreseeable future?
I think NI can be neglected at times and it’s hard to make a break here. That doesn’t mean that it won’t stop us from doing it but we understand that there is a lack of opportunity at times for everyone. Not to take away from the amazing organisations and people who continue to support local bands and continue to put on festivals and making our scene heard (big thank you to everyone who does this). I don’t know if we will move away but that doesn’t mean we wouldn’t be up for it. At the end of the day, it’s an adventure and of course we will go all over the world to tour but Derry will always be our home.
Hey Tori is out now on Alcopop! Records and can purchased via their bandcamp page. We’d recommend that you catch Cherym live on tour throughout the UK throughout October including a few dates with fellow NI natives Brand New Friend.