“Music is that one thing that can always reach you, no matter what”
The last year has been an incredible one for RØRY in so many different ways.
Taking a step back into writing and recording music for themselves, and doing so via the music that they grew up on, what has followed has been viral hits, exorcised demons and the building of a community that thrives on the reminder that you are never alone in any of this. And it’s still just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what is to come.
With their debut EP ‘Good Die Young’ now out in the world, we sat down to talk about the journey so far and what it has meant to share the past in such a bold and beautiful way…
How do you feel to be at this point, able to showcase this version of yourself?
“It feels like it has gone further than I ever thought it would or imagined. Releasing my own music was something that felt too far away. I’m too old. I’m too shit. I don’t have the self-esteem for it. So even just putting the first single out, which even then I had the negative view of, ‘That’s the last song I’m going to put out’, I then saw that it worked. It’s really interesting, because I’m so used to things failing. The whole of my 20s was a failure, and I’m so resilient to that now and expectant of it continuing. So when it’s the other way, it almost doesn’t feel real. I’m very grateful for that second chance. I don’t think a lot of people get that.”
But the reality is that you have been on this personal journey at the same time as making the music and showing parts of yourself that you probably thought you never would and thought you would be alone in feeling like that. But you’ve already shown people how they aren’t alone in what they are going through, and that’s something to be incredibly proud of…
“That makes me feel quite emotional. That’s the thing with difficulties in life, the solitary nature of them. Whether that is depression, addiction, or self-harming behaviours, my life was always to hide all that and present that I’m okay to the world. I think so many other people live like that as well. And back in the day, I was singing about things that didn’t mean anything, and then my real life was burning to the ground by nobody knew. So to go back and tell these shameful stories, took a lot of therapy. To look back at those things with some kindness, telling myself that I’m not this total fuck up who ruins everything. Now, for other people to see that and then share what they have been through, it makes me know that I was never alone in any of it. Thousands of people know exactly what I’m talking about.”
What was it like finding the right vessel for those stories, the right sounds to be able to present them?
“When I first came back into music as a songwriter, I wrote a lot of pop music. I’m grateful for that because it got me out of my debt and introduced me to people and a scene that I had always been outside of. But it wasn’t music I wanted to make; it was having success in it and feeling numb that made me realise that. That taught me that none of this would be about success for me. It was then about me telling the truth with what I created.”
“That’s when I started going into sessions with ideas that I was historically told were too dark. But it just turns out I was saying it to the wrong people. That was last year, around what felt like a resurgence in interest for rock and pop-punk, which is the music I was raised on. So taking the influence of that and mixing it with my stories, it felt like it could carry the weight.”
When that style of music is a part of who you are, what has helped to shape you, to be in a position where you can share that with people who may in unfamiliar with it, but also with the modern angle of blunt openness, it’s a pretty special position to be in. But it must be a bit scary to be sharing it in such a way…
“That’s a huge thing. And even though there is something quite terrifying about it, I’m not terrified about the songs themselves. Being a songwriter for so long, you are used to what it takes to make one happen. You write you dig, you search, and you create so much music. It’s more a case here of if I have the ovaries to stick it out into the world once it is down. There’s always a bit of a self-saboteur inside of me. Even a couple of months ago, when I first finished this EP, I spoke to my manager and told him to bin it all. I felt like I had gotten it all wrong, gone down the wrong path, and told the wrong stories. That’s how close it comes with art. That attack of self-doubt and it’s gone.”
Was there anything within the creation of these songs that taught you something that you weren’t aware of beforehand?
“Yes, actually. And I think it will be game-changing in the creation of art. I realised that all of this was not about me. I’ve been so focused on myself and my self-doubt and my situations. It’s the complete opposite. It’s all about the person on the other side, listening to it. It was this amazing moment of letting go, and it felt so great. I’ll show up, tell my truth, do my best, and then hope that it serves the people that find it. That is why having an audience is like having oxygen to an artist. I didn’t have that for so long and was just writing and singing songs to myself in my room with nobody on the other side. You are the audience, the highly-critical, egotistical crazy person. You’re never going to get it when you’re in that place. It needs to be fed back into you through the eyes and ears of somebody else. Since then, I have felt such a comfort and a level up in myself.”
Though you can go down one of two paths then. You can hear that audience and shoulder the weight of what they are telling you and let it bend you, or you can say, ‘We are all in this together’ and know that it is being shared…
“Letting other people’s pain and trauma make what you are building stronger rather than letting it pull you down. It’s about having boundaries and safety in your own life, which I have developed. It’s very easy for things to be too much. But we can still feel these things together. That is still something that can happen. When you sing about grief and suicide, you will attract people going through that too. But those are my people. It’s just about learning to handle it.”
And a lot of the time, people aren’t prepared for that outpouring from others. They put so much of themselves into a piece of art and then hate having to talk about it…
“There’s a responsibility there when that connection starts to take place. Especially when that audience is young. It’s a wonderful responsibility because I know when I was that age, I needed that help. But music is that one thing that can always reach you, no matter what. It can unlock an emotion you didn’t know you had, reflect on something you hadn’t considered, and inspire you to talk. You’re potentially changing someone’s life, and that’s wonderful.”
And now you are here, what is it that excites you about what the future holds?
“What makes me so happy right now is that I can continue writing and releasing music that means the world to me. That is everything. This EP is so dark and down there. It has death and suicide running through it, but it was a moment in time that I have now processed. The songs I am writing now are more about interpersonal and family relationships, digging deep into what those things mean to me. I also am still to write a love song. There are so many things there to me to now look into because I understand these things more than I did in the past. That’s where we are heading now.”
'Good Die Young’ is out now, listen right here.