Rory Wynne has already made a splash here on Fresh On The Net, having appeared on Tom’s Introducing Mixtape on BBC Radio 6 Music (twice!), voted into our Fresh Faves by listeners, and featured in both Jim’s Pick’n’Mix and a Fresh List by myself earlier this year.
A couple of weeks ago, Rory also did an interview and session tracks for John Kennedy on XFM Xposure, and played his first gig with his band, The Jumping Pandas. All that would be great going for any new artist, but it’s all the more striking because, as is compulsory to note, Rory is still in school and has just turned 15.
It only takes a few bars to deduce that Rory hails from somewhere in the Manchester area — Stockport, to be precise — not just from his voice, but the characteristically wry observations, backed by guitar playing that seems to have a life of its own. Unsmiling in a bucket hat and Lennon glasses, he could be a Gallagher or Richard Ashcroft on the cover of Urban Hymns. Despite that, his music is in no way a pastiche; those tunes are as original as they are enjoyable, and dealing with him you get the sense he is every bit the person you can hear in his music. As Tom wrote:
“Rory Wynne’s singing on Heart Of Stone has the same louche, casual swagger of a true rock’n’roll poet that we’ve come to love in Mark Wynn and his spiritual godfather John Cooper Clarke. The ramshackle DIY backing just adds to its charm – I’m pretty sure John Peel would have loved this.”
So where does this come from? All along, I’ve been struck that Rory must have a good grounding in music, so invited him to create a guest playlist for Fresh On The Net. He graciously obliged, and you can play that below. I also thought I’d take the opportunity to ask him a bit more about his influences and himself.
That’s quite a list! Some of those I expected, but didn’t see others coming like Patsy Cline, Lynyrd Skynyrd or Robert Johnson. How do you discover music?
Well, those were all put on a little MP3 player for me by my Dad from Rolling Stone magazine’s Greatest 500 Songs, except a few. Nowadays either from the radio or suggestions from friends or music papers.
Is your dad influential in your musical tastes, and has he played a part helping you make music?
Yes. All the equipment I use to record and produce is his. In terms of musical influences, he put the music on that MP3 player I mention in the last question. He also made a ‘Bedtime CD’ that me and my siblings listened to, but it had Guns N’Roses on, which always resurrected us from our sleep. Even on car journeys it was stuff my Dad listened to. I would say my mum’s musical taste has influenced me too, but Kylie and Take That haven’t really. At all.
I notice you start with The Dubliners, and you were in Ireland recently, and then there’s the name. Irish connections?
Yes. All my great grandparents are Irish so I have a lot of cousins over there. In terms of The Dubliners’ song ‘The Town I Loved So Well’, that’s the first song I remember hearing. I think it was on the way to hospital once, I may be wrong.
This is in no way intended to put you in a box, but if I had to plot you on this playlist, you’d probably fall somewhere between The Smiths and John Cooper Clarke. It’s not like you’re imitating either, but you have the tunefulness of the former coupled with the storytelling and astute observations of the Salford Bard. Where does songwriting start for you? A story, lyrics, melody, riffs?
Usually lyrics. Sometimes the lyrics have a story, sometimes I make something up, but always lyrics first. Then I do the music.
It’s clear from this playlist you’re not much into music you’d find in today’s Top 40. Is that true, and if so, why doesn’t it appeal?
Well, that’s true. None of it influences me, that’s for sure. I guess I hear some tunes I think are catchy, but they’re written for that sole purpose, they have no meaning. I must admit from year 3/4 to 1st year in secondary school I did enjoy mainstream pop, but no I’m not having it now, it’s all so processed and fake. I do generally think people only listen to it at school because that’s considered ‘normal’ or ‘cool’. So in a nutshell, as a rule I don’t like it, but if I hear something good I don’t dismiss it because it was on Radio 1 or Capital FM.
In your interview with John Kennedy, it was revealed you have a whole album’s worth of material now. Any plans for that?
Well, I said I’d release it last March but things happen. It will be out before I die. I promise.
You recently played your first gig with your band, The Jumping Pandas. How was it? Any more performances planned?
It was alright. The levels in the monitors weren’t great so I couldn’t hear my guitar, which led to dreadful singing on my part. I plan to book some gigs soon. We’ve had 2 weeks off due to holidays and birthdays, but when we get a 1/2 hour, 40 minute set solid I’ll get booking.
Many thanks to Rory for taking the time to do this interview, and put together this playlist of his influences.