Artist Insight | Jacob Berry

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"Versatility in the range of sounds you get out of it (a guitar) is important, as I like using a couple of guitars on stage that can do everything I need, rather than having an array of guitars that I'm constantly switching between."

Yamaha artist Jacob Berry plays guitar and keys for indie rock band Two Door Cinema Club. We talk to him about his inspirations as a guitarist, what he looks for in a guitar and his experiences with the band.

Yamaha Guitars: Hey Jacob! Thanks for taking some time out to chat with us. Let’s start out with an introduction, how would you introduce yourself to our readers?

Jacob Berry: Hello! I guess I would introduce myself as a multi-instrumentalist who really loves playing live music. I’ve been making and playing music all my life and thankfully I get to do it quite a lot.

YGs: You’ve been playing guitar in indie rock band Two Door Cinema Club since 2016. How did that come about? Can you tell us about any standout highlights for you during this time?

JB: Some good friends of mine play in a band called Circa Waves; they knew the guys in Two Door and heard they were looking for someone to come into the live setup. We met up to talk about it and they asked me to join the next day. Since then, it’s been really great getting to know everybody and playing some really exciting shows. It’s been a good experience for my musical bucket list, especially playing on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury and being lucky enough to play shows with them in six continents over the last few years.

YGs: Now more about you as a musician. What first inspired you to pick up your first guitar?

JB: When I was in Primary school I was obsessed with Don McLean’s song “Vincent.” I think that’s the first song that made me want to play the guitar. I had been learning the piano and trombone from an early age and the idea of playing the guitar seemed alien to me at first. I started by wanting to learn different fingerpicking styles and later became obsessed with bands—mostly Radiohead if I'm honest. Learning to play the songs of the bands I loved was my way into learning to play the guitar.

YGs: Who would you cite as your inspirations as a guitarist?

JB: I’ve always been interested in songs more than riffs and guitar solos, so I guess it’s the playing of people like Neil Young, Elliott Smith, Thom Yorke, and Nick Drake that I was always attracted to. There are incredible lead guitarists that I’m a big fan of, but I've always tried to emulate the people who can carry a song while doing a bit more than just strumming out a chord sequence.

YGs: Tell us the story of your first guitar.

JB: My older brother gave me my first electric guitar. He bought it from a friend for £20 and I ended up playing it in my room without any kind of amplifier. I mostly remember trying to play Nirvana tunes and feeling disappointed that It didn’t sound that much like Kurt Cobain’s guitar.

My first acoustic guitar was a big one as my dad gave me the acoustic he had saved up for when he was 16 as my 18th birthday present. I’d been borrowing it from him for years but it was amazing to have it handed down to me like that.

YGs: What is it that you look for in a guitar now?

JB: I look for a guitar that feels good in my hands. A C-shaped neck is good for me and generally something a bit weighty. Also, versatility in the range of sounds you get out of it is important, as I like using a couple of guitars on stage that can do everything I need, rather than having an array of guitars that I'm constantly switching between.

YGs: You’ve been playing the Revstar RS502T. How are you getting on with it? How does it fit into your collection?

JB: It’s been fantastic. I used it on stage a few hours after leaving the shop with it. Since then it’s been my go-to guitar for live shows and at home.

Keep up to date with the latest from Two Door Cinema Club, including where you can catch them live this Summer:
http://twodoorcinemaclub.com