After the release of his debut EP What Would Rory Wynne Do? last March and a slot on the NME tour with Blossoms and Cabbage, big things were expected of Rory Wynne last year. But after a spell out of the spotlight, he's back with his debut album, an eight-track eponymous set of songs and an intimate launch gig at Jimmy's in Manchester. We caught up with Rory to find out more about what he's been up to for the past twelve months and about the album.
You’re releasing an album next month. How come it’s taken so long to put out something new?
I always wanted to wait until I got signed to a major label, in my head, I thought that would be the best time, with the power behind it, but now I’m 18 and that hasn’t happened yet so it seemed right to release now.
The original idea was to release a couple of EPs, build up a fanbase behind me before we released it. We did one EP, but we had a lot of changes in the band and I didn’t have a run of shows to promote because of that. So there ended up being a long gap between releases. I had the whole summer and autumn to write and record and at the end of that I had a lot of tracks and wanted to get them out there.
So behind the scenes you were writing loads?
Yeah. And it was becoming a problem for live shows, because we were playing songs that people knew that we’d been playing for two years, but I had all this great new material that I hadn’t put out, so it was very frustrating. Hopefully that’ll be sorted now though.
Is the album just eight songs?
Yes, I didn’t want to do anything that was too long. I thought just put eight singles out together, it’s twenty-five minutes and people will like it. It’s digestible, I think it’s the right amount. It’s not a concept album or anything, it’s just eight good catchy songs.
It’s time to get them out there, I’ve been waiting since last March, the fans have been waiting, there’s someone always asking “when are the new songs coming out?” After the NME tour I had a three month gap before the next gig, so there was never any momentum. It was frustrating, and I don’t want to dwell on that period because it’s gone, but in a way frustration has driven this album which is a good thing.
I could have put some of the other singles on there, like some bands release an album with five singles you already know and then a few new tracks, but I wanted it all to be fresh and new. It’s better, I think than releasing a single every couple of months too, as you can’t get too much from a single these days and people don’t do b-sides anymore. I do have lots of other songs, that didn’t make the cut, I might do something with them at some point, perhaps an EP.
Do you find it frustrating when people ask for older songs? Do you still listen to them?
Well, Enigma which is on the record I wrote in 2014, which is four years ago and I still relate to that, but most of them aren’t me anymore.
A few of them I listen to and think are alright. Post-Party Confusion, which everyone loves, isn’t me anymore so it’s difficult to play that one live which annoys some of the fans.
You’re calling it Rory Wynne? Is there a reason you chose that instead of naming it after one of the songs?
I think because it’s a debut and because of the artwork, it looks classic and timeless, I think it’s appropriate, it’s simple, use my own name.
Are you releasing it digitally and will there be physical formats too?
Digitally to start with. We have no idea how it’ll be received as I’ve been away for what feels like so long. If it goes down well, then we’d look to put it out physically.
How did you record the album?
I did it all myself in my studio in Stockport, recorded it, produced it, mixed it and played every instrument, which was a big task. I did it all in two weeks too, which was a lot of pressure - but I feel I excel under pressure.
So everything on there is you?
Yes. But I co-wrote ‘Friends’ and ‘Think What You Like’ with Rich Turvey and then ‘White Lines’ with a friend of mine called Alex who’s guitarist in the band. However I wrote all the rest and yeah, I played everything.
Your studio, is that a home set-up or something elsewhere?
It’s just a small space of mine in Stockport, which is all I need - very simple but effective, sometimes having too many options can restrict creativity.
You’ve released Friends as the first single?
It’s the catchiest one, so it should go down well live. It was the first one I wrote when I was writing with Rich and it made sense, it felt like a single while we were doing it.
Listening to the songs on the album, there’s quite a lot of recurring themes, lyrically, relationships tend to crop up a bit, as does travel, the concept of long-distance relationships. Is that deliberate or is what comes into your head when you’re writing?
It’s all autobiographical, written from experience. For some reason, I always end seem to end up in long-distance relationships, so when I sit down to write that’s what I write about.
Do the people you’ve written them about know you’ve done so?
Yes, I always tell them because I’m still friends and keep in contact with them. Everyone who is on that album knows that they’re on it and they like it. It’s a compliment, there’s nothing bad or malicious in any of them.
Do you have any particular favourites amongst the eight of them?
At the minute it’s Little Miss Edgy, the way the verses flow and the chorus is great to play live. I also like What You Said To Me, it’s very powerful.
That one, to me, out of all of them feels less like a single, more an album track. Not because it’s not as good, but just in the way it’s structured.
That was a weird one, I was in the Lake District and there was a guitar there. I hadn’t written anything for ages and ages, it was right after Kendal Calling. I picked it up and played three chords that became the verse and I worked around that. The chorus felt really big and I kept singing it over and over in my head.
Do songs come to you quickly through jamming or do you have to work hard at them?
It’s usually pretty methodical, but if it takes longer than a day to write it then I usually give it up as if it takes that long it’s not going to happen for me or the listener. I do get bored, trying and trying to make it work too.
White Lines, to be fair, we did that one over a few weeks, because it was two of us. And that felt more exciting.
You talked about having different bands in the last year. Will you be playing your gig in April with a band or solo?
I’ve gone back to the band that I had a year ago on the NME tour, because that was where I felt we sounded best and I felt most comfortable. It felt like every change after that was a step backwards. Like at Neighbourhood we played well, but it didn’t feel right for me.
You talked about the Blossoms NME tour. What did you learn from that about performing and life on the road?
Professionalism was the main one. Up to then, just doing one-off shows, you don’t understand that you have to keep control of yourself and take care of yourself. I also learnt a lot in terms of production, because obviously Blossoms have a big production and backing tracks which sound amazing, whereas we just had a few amps and one vocal. In terms of that, we’ve honed it on it to improve the live show. At the level I’m at now, I think it’s easy to, and most bands do just play a song, have a break, play another song have a break etc. but I try to make it more of a performance and a show.
Do you have much interaction with your fans, with having seemingly been away for so long?
Not as much as there used to be, although it’s got busier again now we’ve announced the album. Every time I go out people still know who I am which is a weird feeling after so long out. I don’t think I’m relevant any more having been out, but it’s nice and it reminds me of what I want to get back to. All the negative interaction has died down though, which I can’t complain about!
Interaction with my fans is something I need to work on though, as I’m not naturally the most interactive person, especially on social media I use it very sparingly because I don’t have much to post about unless I’m working or touring. However in this day n age you have to post hourly updates and every detail about you to remain relevant, which I understand, but it’s a weird beast.
Are you looking forward to the gig at Jimmy’s?
Yes, it’s been a long time, we’ve got one of my favourite bands as support as well, the Mysterines, so I’m delighted about that.
What are the plans after this gig?
There’s nothing really planned firmly at the moment, but I think a lot will happen in the next few weeks. I want to do lots and lots of gigs, we need to play to as many people as possible now. I just want to get back out on stage, it’s where I belong.
The album Rory Wynne is being launched with an intimate show at Jimmy's in Manchester on April 10th, tickets are available from this link.
Rory Wynne's official site can be found here and he is on Facebook and Twitter.