Squeeze the Squid

Local Athens band Squeeze the Squid released their second album over the summer of 2021. (Courtesy/Slady Berry)

An Oregon born and bred band that calls itself Squeeze the Squid dug its tentacles into the Athens music scene this summer with the release of its second album, “You Are.” An eclectic sound, complete with groovy notes of brass instruments makes this album a peculiar and entertaining listen.

“It’s kind of like a combination of just everything that I like. I’m really into rock-and-roll and psychedelic music, but I am also really inspired by country and funk and soul music,” Slady Berry, the orchestrator and face of Squeeze the Squid, said.

Berry grew up playing the piano and was encouraged at a young age to pursue a passion for music.

After writing the song “You Are,” Berry realized there was enough inspiration packed into the song to create the entire album. “You Are” welcomes listeners to engage in active listening by letting go and letting be.

“There’s a lot of pitfalls right now and, as you can imagine, people are kind of at their lowest point,” Berry said. “I really believe if you change the way you think you can do whatever you want with your life.”

The album serves as a call to dissociate oneself from whatever physical attachments to better understand oneself.

Squeeze the Squid is currently a one man band, fully owned and operated by Berry. Berry is the writer and creator of the content, including the lyrics and the riffs. He is always open to including other artists into his music, something the band has practiced in the past.

“When I moved to Athens I had a few different people come in at different times, but it’s always been kind of a solo mission where people can come and go as they please,” Berry said.

“You Are” only features Berry. Out of an attempt to produce an original and independent project, Berry focused on creating music that was self-aligned.

Berry pointed to “They was Wrong” as a personal favorite track off the album. With melodic piano and a bridge that encapsulates the listener, this track makes for a particularly enchanting listen.

For a more heartfelt track, listeners can hear “Cep’N Baseball,” an ode to Berry’s father who passed away. The song was written by Berry’s father and later performed by Berry at his father’s funeral.

“People were kind of pushing me to put it on an album and record it as Squeeze the Squid,” Berry said. “To me it sounds a little bit cheesy, but the way he recorded it was on a $60 cheap as hell keyboard — so it kind of has that aesthetic a little bit.”

Mark Plemmons, a longtime friend of Berry, believes he has created an album that is true to his sound.

“It’s got that squeezy sound, that’s for sure. Squelchy songs with a touch of psychedelia, and a folky thing going on too,” Plemmons said.

The production is experimental and spontaneous. Berry is venturing beyond the norm and creating music that surprises the Athens music scene.

“Slady digs real honest experimentation in music, and there’s no lack of that here,” Plemmons said, “He’s a dude who’s not afraid to get weird with art.”

Berry’s desire to keep the album simple and raw resulted in the singular pedal tones and keys used throughout the thirteen songs. While not recorded on GarageBand like his first album, “You Are” remains uncomplicated, yet complex in its metaphors, play on words and interesting melodies.

“Just being who you are and kind of being unafraid to be different, or not even different--I want people to feel inspired and know that there is good in the world,” Berry said.