Brooklyn-based synth-pop artist, Loren Berí, shares long-awaited debut EP, Stray Cat Kingdom, which chronicles Berí’s own fictionalized version of New York City.
The five track collection, out everywhere now, was written and recorded by Berí and inspired by his own community of artists and creatives he found while living in Brooklyn. Join Berí live at the official EP release show, supported by Hello Lightfoot, at NYC’s Berlin Under A on July 22, with tickets available now here.
Stray Cat Kingdom is the result of Berí reckoning with his own mental health struggles and building his own reality where he feels safe as he explores grief and heartbreak, embraces change and begins to understand healing is an eternal endeavor. It pays homage to New York City and features fictional characters with intersecting storylines that become true companions.
After befriending producer O Mer, who produced and mixed three of the EP’s five songs, the project began to solidify, and later, became a reality, with help from Kishi Bashi (of Montreal, Jupiter One, Regina Spektor) and Mauro Refosco (Atoms For Peace, David Byrne, Dirty Projectors), and Itamar all of whom are featured on the EP.
All of Berí’s previous singles, “My Brooklyn (Is Better Than Yours),” “Prince V” featuring Itamar, “Greta’s Inn,“ featuring Kishi Bashi and “Genesis 2.0“ are set in a romanticized, alternate version of New York City. Here, imagination and distorted reality meet, as Berí introduces a slew of characters, and in turn, various aspects of his life, over bubbling, synthy beats and tongue-in-check lyricism. The first single, “My Brooklyn (Is Better Than Yours)” premiered with FLOOD Magazine, who called it “a wildly magnetic—and hilarious—homage to NYC.” FLOOD continues, “The song pairs Berí’s bubbly synths and catchy melodies with tales of a fizzled cross-country fling, visions of Berlin and brunch and Bryant Park, and plenty of tongue-in-cheek digs..with a joyful, roving feel.”
Years after the death of his father, Berí began experiencing alternating waves of mania and hypomania. In the midst of one such episode, paired with a fleeting inheritance, Berí bought a full-length, thirty-five foot school bus to tour the country with. These experiences gave way to “Prince V,” and a lyric video shot from a moving bus through New York City. Over a twinkling bass line and effervescent synths, Berí paints a picture of himself in the form of Prince V, gathering the courage to face his past.
“Greta’s Inn” describes a hidden tavern shrouded in mystery where the icons of Berí’s world–both past and present–coincide. On the twinkling track, Berí is joined by Bashi who plays violin and contributes lead vocals and harmonies, as well as Refosco on percussion, who combine to immerse listeners into an enchanting realm, in which it’s easy to escape.
“Genesis 2.0″ is a deeply personal track that allows Berí to process his father’s death, understanding the grief is never quite finished, and accepting this reality. For over ten years, poring over a piano for hours on end, Berí struggled to find the right words to articulate such grave loss. Produced by O Mer, with cutting glam rock that juxtaposes the serious subject matter, “Genesis 2.0” is the culmination of processing the death of Berí’s father. Through the track, he finds catharsis and realizes this process is never quite done, existing as a wound that never really closes–it’s everlasting. What began as a caricature, larger-than-life, absurd tale about his family, turned into Berí coming to terms with this heartache, and discovering himself in ways he never thought possible.
Loren Berí grew up surrounded by classical music, spending countless hours at the piano. Berí began writing songs by the age of 15 to cope with the loss of his father, and by college, he was bouncing around various bands before planting roots in New York City. After a naturally lonely and difficult adjustment period amidst a pandemic, and finding himself at a crossroads artistically and otherwise, friends and collaborators assisted in bringing Berí’s debut project to life.
In addition to the NYC official EP release party on July 22, Berí will head to Germany to play Stereostrand Festival in Aichach, DE on August 13, and later, Nedlitz, DE on August 20 for the 2022 Summer Summit, with more EU dates to be announced.